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Think Before You Put It in the Disposer - 12/3/2019

Just because that convenient grinding machine in your drain is called a garbage disposer, that doesn't mean you should treat it like your garbage can. There are many things that you should simply toss out instead of washing into your sink.

As a first rule of thumb, only put biodegradable things into the disposer. This may sound like a no brainer, but many plumbers report pulling things like paper and plastic out of drains when a disposer is blocked.

You still need to be careful with biodegradable items as well, though. If an object is too hard to cut with a knife, that's a sign it's destined for the trash, not your pipes. Things like animal bones and fruit pits are difficult for disposer blades to process and will likely end up damaging them. Save yourself a call to the handyman and step away from the sink with those ribs.

Pipes often fall victim to slicker culprits too, like grease, oil, and fat. These substances sit in your pipelines and harden as they cool. Coffee grounds can also accumulate in your plumbing and settle down like sediment. If you're worried about making a mess, put these substances in used disposable cartons instead and then, throw them out.

Dinner scraps like pasta, bread, and rice should be avoided too. They may seem soft and harmless, but they all expand as they absorb water, so they can build up and cause blockages. A few small pieces won't bring the house down but be sure to keep the water running to help flush them out.

Fibrous vegetables like celery and asparagus have stringy pieces that can wrap around your disposer's blades, and believe it or not, eggshells and onions have membranes that do the same thing. So, forget what you heard about eggshells sharpening the blades — it's a myth.

And if it seems that food is clogged in your disposer, put the harsh chemical drain cleaners away and just use ice and dish soap instead. The ice should clean up the area and the soap should break down grease and make your kitchen smell nicer too.

Terri Baker
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
(757) 288-8088

Licensed in the State of Virginia