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Garbage Disposal Menaces

We love appliances that do exactly what their name says. Because of its name, a garbage disposal must obviously dispose of whatever garbage you throw at it, right? Not so fast!

Photo by Mike Mozart / CC BY

Certain types of food scraps can clog, jam or burn out your garbage disposal. Avoid these 5 major menaces to keep your disposal running problem-free.

  • Grease, oil and fat – Grease will eventually congeal into a solid fat matter, clogging your pipes and wreaking havoc on your plumbing. Instead, pour fat into a coffee can, let it sit overnight and throw it away!
  • Extremely fibrous material – Extremely fibrous food scraps like artichokes, banana peels, celery, cornhusks, and other vegetables that with stringy qualities to them can tangle and jam the garbage disposal, possibly burning out the motor.
  • Too many starchy scraps, like potatoes peels, pasta and rice – The starches from potato peels, pasta and rice can quickly turn into a thick paste and jam the disposal. If you do choose to use the disposal anyways, run frequently and in small amounts!
  • Coffee grounds – They may seem small and insignificant, but over time coffee grounds can build up and create a sediment like material.
  • Fruit pits or large animal bones – These are simply too dense and create too much stress for the average garbage disposal system. Check with the manufacturer before attempting hard materials such as pits and bones.

No matter what… always run a moderate flow of cold water while operating, and a few seconds after the grinding is complete.

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