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What DOESN’T Go Down the Garbage Disposal


One of the biggest jobs plumbers tackle at the end of the year is drain cleaning in Sandy Springs, GA to unclog kitchen sink drains. November and December are times of cooking and feasting, and even if this year’s festivities may look different, you’ll probably still want to indulge in the joys of good food during the holidays. Unfortunately, this can put plenty of stress on the drains in your kitchen—the garbage disposal in particular. You don’t want to have to call a plumber to clear out a clog, and you certainly don’t want to have a busted garbage disposal on top of that. 

Earlier this year, we offered tips on avoiding drain clogs. In this post, we’re going to look at how to avoid a busted garbage disposal by listing items that should never go down it. It’s easy for homeowners to make the mistake of believing a kitchen sink disposal can handle anything. But it can’t … and here are some key items it can’t.

1 – Actual garbage  

As professional plumbers, we wish garbage disposals never had the word garbage put in their name. You don’t want to put actual garbage, any non-orgranic trash, down a disposal. Don’t think of it like a wastebin! Items like paper towels, cigarette butts, plastic food wrapping, and aluminum foil are items you would never put down a drain, so don’t put them down the disposal. 

2 – Ice cubes

You may have heard that you can “sharpen the blades” in your disposal by putting ice into the hopper and running it. The problem is that a garbage disposal doesn’t have blades but blunt impellers. Ice cubes are too hard for a disposal to handle, so don’t pour them down there as a “maintenance” step.

3 – Fats, oils, & grease

We mentioned this grouping, known as “FOG,” in our drain clog post, and it applies just as strongly to the disposal. FOG appears harmless when it’s heated, but when it cools it changes from a liquid to an obstinate and waxy substance that can jam up the moving parts of the disposal. Always pour liquid FOG into a separate container (like an empty tin) and send it to the actual trash.

4 – Fibrous, stringy food

This includes asparagus, onion skins, celery, pumpkin, cale, lettuce, and artichokes. These can easily become tangled in the mechanisms of the disposal.

5 – Rice and pasta

Sure, they look innocent. But where they become harmful is when they absorb water and swell up, making it easy to obstruct the disposal. And we’ll also mention coffee grounds while we’re at it.

6 – Bones and other non-chewable food waste

We have a simple rule of thumb for what types of food waste can go down a disposal: If your teeth can’t chew it, the disposal can’t grind it. Keep meat bones out of the garbage disposal, as well as fruit pits and unpopped popcorn kernels. 

If you do run into a busted disposal, you can trust us for repairs or replacements, done fast.

Schedule your plumbing services with DC Cheek Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. “Fixed, At the Speed of Life!”

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