Garbage disposals are one of those little conveniences you take for granted. It’s so easy to get rid of food scraps by flipping a switch. As handy as they may be, a garbage disposal that’s clogged is a big problem.

Avoid the headache of a broken disposal with our list of things you should never put down your garbage disposal. And because Loyalty Plumbing likes to live green, we offer options for other ways to dispose of these items where possible.

1. Stringy Fruits and Veggies

Fibrous or stringy foods like celery, banana peels, corn husks, and rhubarb are just as difficult for a garbage disposal to chew up as they are for our teeth. We often see clogged disposals around Halloween and Thanksgiving when dishes are prepared with pumpkins and squashes.

Throw leftovers from these foods on your compost pile or countertop compost bin instead.

2. Vegetable Peelings

Vegetable peelings from carrots, potatoes, and other similar vegetables are small enough to slip right through the grinders of your garbage disposal. Eventually, this sediment will fill up pipes and cause a blockage down the road. These peelings are organic waste and best suited for the compost pile. Or use them in a recipe for vegetable stock.

3. Onion Skins

No need to worry about chopped onions in the disposal; they go down easily. It’s the onion skins you have to watch out for. The membrane just below the dry skin of the onion passes through the disposal and either misses the blades or wraps around them. The skins can even get lodged in the drain and act like a net, trapping other food scraps.

4. Cooking Grease and Animal Fat

One of the worst jobs in the kitchen is getting rid of animal fat and cleaning grease. But don’t be tempted to toss it down the disposal. Cooled fat and grease are among the main culprits our team sees on clogged disposal service calls. The soft skin of meats like pork and chicken can stick to the inside of it and smell terrible.

Try combining leftover grease with suet and lard to make feeder balls for the birds.

5. Nuts, Seeds, Pits, Bones, and Shells

Because, they’re so tough, nuts, seeds, and pits from fruits are some of the worst things for your garbage disposal. Always ask yourself if the item could be cut with a knife. If the answer is no, it shouldn’t go down the disposal. There is one exception to the rule: peanuts. Easy to cut, ground-up peanuts are essentially peanut butter. Need we say more?

The same goes for the hard, outer shells of seafood such as shrimp and lobster. Animal bones are especially hard, and garbage disposals aren’t made to grind them up. They have to be tossed in the trash.

6. Coffee Grounds

Although finely milled, coffee grounds become densely packed when wet and removed from the filter. If you put them down the disposal, your drain will be filled with gunky sediment that will likely cause a clog.

Coffee grounds are a great way to add nitrogen to your house plants. Or use them outdoors in your garden to deter snails and slugs.

7. Egg Shells

A nasty conspiracy theory out there claims eggshells help sharpen your garbage disposal. Not true. In fact, the membranes on the shell’s inside may wrap around the mechanics much like stringy fruits and vegetables do. Use ice cubes instead to clean and sharpen the blades.

From homemade fertilizer to art projects, you’ll find lots of creative ways to reuse eggshells on sites like Pinterest.

8. Expandable Dry Foods

Dry foods like pasta, rice, and oats all expand when they absorb water. In small quantities, it won’t matter. But habitual dumping of dry food leftovers can lead to a nasty clog later on, and it will be foul-smelling. It’s helpful if you run the water for at least 30 seconds to help flush the food particles away.

9. Non-Food Items

Note the name is garbage disposal, not trash disposal. You’d be surprised how many people we’ve seen that stuff non-food items like paper towels and plastic wrap down the disposal. This practice is a huge problem for drainage systems and water supplies. Never put an item that is nonbiodegradable into the disposal.

If your disposal goes on the blink in Las Vegas, a technician from Loyalty Plumbing will come out and troubleshoot the problem for you. Better yet, we’ll help figure out if or what you did wrong. If we determine that your current disposal is no longer operable and cannot be repaired, we’ll install a new one for you with our careful and professional service.

At Loyalty Plumbing, we are proud to offer a wide range of plumbing repair, installation, and maintenance services, including drain repair, water heater service, hydrojetting, leak detection, and toilet and faucet services. Contact us today to learn more.

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