A large part of garbage disposal maintenance involves not putting things down the drain that shouldn’t go there. Here is a list of no-no’s; some of the items may surprise you.
1. Glass, plastic, metals and other nonfood items. Don’t ask your garbage disposal to digest what you cannot.
2. Large bones. Same as above. Fish bones and small chicken bones are all right and can help scour the unit and your pipes, but they should be really small.
3. Coffee grounds. They’re disastrous for both drains and disposals because they swell up in the pipes, just as they do in your coffeemaker.
4. Stringy or fibrous foods, such as corn husks, onion skins, artichokes, rhubarb, asparagus, chard or kale. The fibers can wrap themselves around the blade and jam the operation.
5. Potato peels and other starchy foods. A few, say one potato’s worth, might be okay, but the starch forms a paste that sticks to everything—and everything sticks to it.
6. Pasta, rice. These foods expand in your drain and disposal the same way they expand in your cooking pot.
7. Shrimp and other seafood shells. Shrimp shells can wrap around disposal blades just like corn husks. Other shells are probably okay, as long as they are not big enough or thick enough to block drains.
8. Eggshells. There are two schools of thought on this. One says the ground-up shells help clean the drains; the other says the thin membrane inside the shell can wrap around disposal blades. Erring on the side of caution is recommended: don’t put them in.
9. Hair. One, maybe, but even a small amount of hair can clog but good.
10. Harsh chemicals. Many people think they are good for disposals, but in fact the chemicals eat away at the blades—and at your drainpipes.
If you have any questions about the tolerance of your disposal and your drains for other substances, consult one of the plumbing experts at Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling.