Lifestyle Magazine

11 Things to Never Put in Your Garbage Disposal Unit

By Ty Watson

A garbage disposal unit is a surefire way to get rid of smelly food leftovers and scraps to keep your kitchen clean, your trash bags from getting used and the landfills from piling up.

However, there are certain items that even the best garbage disposal would be susceptible to wear and tear. It is only when you avoid putting such items into the disposal unit, can you extend its longevity.

11 Things to Never Put in Your Garbage Disposal Unit

Here are some of the things that your garbage disposal unit was never meant to grind:

Pasta expands when it's soaked in water. So imagine what will happen when you drop plenty of pasta in the disposal and drain - it will simply soak in water and keep expanding.

Even if you do intend to dispose of water down the disposal, try to run it down with cold water so it can flush through the trap and into the mainline.

2. Grease and Oil

Grease shouldn't be tossed into your garbage disposal as it can harden when cooled down. As a result, it solidifies and clogs your pipes. So instead, pour the hot grease and oil into an unrecyclable takeout container or an empty milk carton after your done cleaning and then toss it into the trash once it's solidified.

3. Coffee Grounds

The moment you've had your daily cup of joe, you feel like throwing the used coffee grounds into the trash bin or the garbage disposal. But if you take a moment to think about it, you'll realize that used coffee grounds are nothing but a thick, densely packed pasty wad that could potentially clog your drain pipe. Hence, coffee grounds are a huge no-no for your grinding unit.

4. Oatmeal

Like pasta, oatmeal also expands when it comes in contact with water, especially uncooked oats. They might slip through the disposal like nothing at first, but that's before they start collecting and expanding down the line. It'll be a miracle if they make into the sewers, otherwise, it's time to polish your drain cleaning skills.

5. Utensils

Of course, we're not crazy enough to assume that you'd toss non-food items into your disposal unit. It's just that underaged or preschool children don't know any better and tend to throw things in any place they like, especially spoons, forks or other items into your garbage disposal. So if you have children, make sure your garbage disposal doesn't have any obstructions before using it.

6. Bones

Garbage disposals are not like angle grinders - they are simply not meant to grind extremely hard items, including bones. Though there is no cause for concern if you happen to drop small light bones like a chicken wing or a fishbone. Still, that's no excuse to toss in a bunch of small bones in at once.

7. Potatoes

Disposing of potatoes and potato peels aren't a problem, so long as you do so in small quantities at a time. If you drop a big one, however, it'll break down and create a sticky starch paste that will cause the mechanics of your unit to gum up.

8. Nuts

Peanut butter is made with a handful of peanuts that are dumped into a grinder where they're spun and then mashed into a thick, sticky paste. And your garbage disposal unit just happens to be an appliance-sized version of the aforementioned but grinder. So imagine what would happen if you were to dump some leftover peanuts into your kitchen grinder. And if you're going to dump some nuts anyway, consider doing so in small amounts. If not, it would be a real time-consuming cleanup job for you.

9. Celery and Other Fibrous Vegetables

Yes indeed, a vegetable. Despite being such a simple food, celery consists of fibrous strings that tend to tangle the blades of your disposal and cause a blockage. The same can be applied for other fibrous vegetables including asparagus, rhubarb, celery, artichokes, lettuce, kale and chard.

10. Onion Skins

Most onion waste, especially those in chunks, diced or chopped, wouldn't necessarily be a problem for your disposal. The issue lies with the thin membranes that are just underneath the outermost, dry layer of the onion. Though this thin layer can easily pass through the disposal without expanding, it still winds up wedged in the drain where it behaves like a cargo net that catches and holds onto so many items in place.

Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix. All you have to do is either throw the outer layer in the trash or cut it up into tiny pieces before dropping it into the disposal unit.

11. Pumpkin

Pumpkins are a fun fruit for eating and decorating for Halloween. But they're quite the pain for your garbage disposal to handle. That's because it's long strands can get there grinder's blades tangled up. So you should avoid dumping it into the unit to prevent what could be hours of an expensive plumber job.

But if you really want something to grind these items, you should get a badger garbage disposal as it's powerful, reliable and affordable.

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