You know you shouldn't do it, but it's just soooo easy. The garbage disposal is conveniently right there and you have a bunch of food waste that you just want to get rid of. You throw it down the disposal, turn it on, and the waste is gone forever with seemingly no consequences. Does this sound like you? We don't blame you. Using the garbage disposal as a second trash can is a very easy thing to do, and half the time people don't realize that the things they put in their disposal can actually cause serious long-term damage that will be pricey to fix.
Let's look at 5 of the worst things you can put down your garbage disposal and why it's probably a good idea for you to make the extra few steps to the trashcan instead.
1. Fats and Grease From Cooking Meat
Fatty foods like butter, vegetable oil, meat trimmings, and the grease from bacon and other cooked products are a huge no-no when it comes to your garbage disposal and drains. These fatty foods can cause problems from top to bottom starting with the blades of your disposal. Over time, the fats you pour down your drain can dull your garbage disposal blades making them less effective for their actual job. Additionally, as the fats become more solid after cooling, they will coat your drain pipes and form clogs. These clogs will eventually cause disgusting drain backups that are no fun to deal with and can be pretty expensive to take care of.
OK, we're not talking about how to get away with murder. By bones, we mean animal bones. While your garbage disposal blades are strong, they aren't designed to break down tough animal bones. After a delicious dinner of BBQ ribs, you'll be much better off throwing them in the trash can than dumping them down your disposal.
3. Stringy Foods
The next item on our list contains foods such as celery, string cheese, and Brussels sprouts. Foods that are stringy can wrap around the base of the garbage disposal underneath the blades and wear out the motor. If the motor blows, you're pretty much looking at a whole new garbage disposal replacement. Much better to throw these food items in the trash or compost pile and save yourself the cost of a brand new disposal.
4. Fruit and Vegetable Seeds and Pits
If you love making guacamole, peach cobbler, or cherry pies, you know you're dealing with some pretty hard seeds and pits. Dropping these in your drain is a really bad idea unless you plan to watch your disposal blades play a game of hot potato. The hard pits and seeds will simply bounce around the disposal blades and blunt them. Blunt disposal blades are much less effective at breaking down food.
5. Coffee Grounds
You might be surprised to find coffee grounds on this list of things you shouldn't put down your garbage disposal. They seem harmless enough, and if ground finely, coffee grounds look like just a fine powder. However, coffee grounds tend to stick to wet surfaces and your disposal and drains are almost always wet. Over time, the coffee grounds will stick to the inside of your disposal, eventually building up to form sludgy blockages in your drains and bogging down your disposal.
There you have it — 5 things you should never put down your garbage disposal. If you found this article helpful and would like to get more great tips and plumbing hacks from us in the future, subscribe to our blog post notifications! If you need help with your garbage disposal, sinks, or any other plumbing issue, we'd be happy to help you out! Just give us a call or click the banner below to get in touch with us!