The Worst Stuff for Your Kitchen Drain and Disposal

kitchen-drainAlthough most homeowners would never mistake their garbage disposal for a trash can, that’s sometimes what happens unintentionally. It’s not so much that people think garbage disposals are indestructible, it’s more that the garbage disposal has a few weaknesses most people wouldn’t anticipate.

Likewise, anything that the garbage disposal has trouble with won’t end well for the drain itself, either. Nearly anything you wouldn’t put through the disposal shouldn’t be put through the drain, and vice versa.

The best way to tell you how to treat your disposal and drain is simply by telling you what you shouldn’t do, so here’s a list of things you should never put in your garbage disposal.

Hard Stuff

This one is obvious, but it’s still worth listing. Things like bones, fruit pits, or anything that seems too hard for spinning blades are not going to be chopped up. Plus, even if they were able to make it past the blades, they’d then have to pass through the drain pipe. It won’t take too many peach pits to completely clog your drain, and then you’ll need to call a plumber in Los Lunas, NM.

Stringy Stuff

We’re mainly talking about vegetables like celery, asparagus, and corn husks. These are all made up of fibrous strings that aren’t easily broken or cut, and will only get wrapped around the blades. On that note, it’s worth clarifying this common misconception:

Garbage disposal blades are not sharp!

Many people are under the impression that your garbage disposal operates like a blender, with a fast-spinning blade that cuts anything in its path. In reality, they contain a set of teeth that help grind down objects.

Sticky Stuff

Of the worst things to put down the drain, there’s a special spot reserved for fats, oils, and greases. Commonly referred to simply as FOG, the problem with this stuff is that it solidifies as it cools down. If you think about how your drain pipes are positioned, then you can imagine that these FOGs are going to go down the drain the same way every time. This creates a surface for bits of food to get stuck to, creating the formation of a clog.

FOG is very serious, too. Most cities require restaurants to install grease traps purely for the purpose of keeping FOG out of the municipal sewage system. This giant ball of fat in a London sewage system illustrates the point better than we could try to explain it—it’s something you just have to see to understand.

Italian Stuff

Every pasta from agnolotti to ziti will expand when wet. Rinsing the uneaten pasta bits down the drain is going to create some blockage that will only swell when introduced to more water. We know this sounds difficult since it’s a little annoying to have to scrape off every single bit of pasta from the plate, but it will pay off in the long run if it means avoiding an unnecessary clog. On that note (and not necessarily Italian), you should also avoid dumping rice for the same reason.

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