How Does A Garbage Disposal Work

Garbage disposals are pretty commonplace appliances in most kitchens these days, and for good reason—they add a lot of convenience to your life, and they make your kitchen a more sanitary place. By having somewhere you can safely and quickly dispose of old food, you prevent bacteria from forming in your trash, you prevent pests from trying to break into your home to get at the food they can smell, and you create less food waste that encourages pests in trash cans or dumpsters. They’re super easy to use as well—shove your food down the drain, flip on the switch, and it’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

What Not To Put In A Garbage Disposal

However, garbage disposals are not and should not be considered your go-to solution for all food waste. In fact, garbage disposals should not be used for certain types of foods at all. The reasons vary, but most of them have to do with the fact that they could cause a serious problem to both your disposal itself and the plumbing it’s connected to. Here are four types of foods you shouldn’t put down the drain in order to better protect your disposal and your plumbing.

Foods With A Lot Of Liquid Fat

Bacon may be delicious, but cooking it is usually a bit of a headache because it produces a ton of liquid fat. What are you supposed to do with that fat when you’re done?

  • When the fat cools, it re-solidifies into a sticky and greasy mess. That sticky mess is one of the leading causes of drain clogs in kitchen sinks.
  • Flushing it down the drain with the help of hot water can worsen the problem, as water and fat usually lose their heat before they can reach your sewer. Before long, you’re dealing with a pesky clog that’s extremely difficult to fix.
  • You’re better off letting the fat solidify in a dish or old tin can and then throwing it away in the regular bin.

Stringy Foods

Stringy foods and garbage disposals don’t mix because garbage disposals shred the foods and release the strings. That means they can get caught in your disposal’s rotors, or even jam the motor if you aren’t careful. While you can un-jam garbage disposals, it can be difficult to do.

  • Continuing to try and run a jammed motor could cause it to burn out, necessitating an entirely new garbage disposal unit.
  • Foods like asparagus or string beans are best thrown in the regular trash for this reason.

Food Shells

Shelled foods, such as eggs or seafood, may be delicious, but have a problem: what do you do with the shells when you’ve finished preparing? There are some urban myths floating around out there that say eggshells or other types of thinner shells are actually good for sharpening the blades on your garbage disposal, but we need to say that this isn’t even remotely close to true.

  • For starters, your garbage disposal doesn’t actually use blades, just rotors which crush the food inside it.
  • Second, the shells can be crushed, but make great additions to drain clogs. They tend to easily stick to just about anything that might be sticky in your drain pipe and thus contribute to clogs building up.
  • Throw your shells in the regular trash and avoid needing a costly drain clog removal behind your garbage disposal.

Starchy Foods

Starchy foods are similar to eggshells in that they tend to stick to surfaces or other clogs that are forming, contributing to their buildup. However, starchy foods like bread, rice, potatoes, and other grains have another issue—they expand when they get wet, and perhaps the most common thing to go down your kitchen drain is water.

  • When starchy foods go through your disposal, they attach themselves to the walls of your plumbing, or to forming clogs and then grow, catching more debris and building up that clog even faster.

If you’ve got a clogged kitchen drain or a broken-down garbage disposal, pick up the phone and call the Ontario plumbers at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical at (909) 500-8193 to request your repair service today.