Garbage Disposal 101
Despite what you see in horror movies and other pop culture, garbage disposals don’t have blades. You read that right; you don’t have to worry about sticking your hand down the garbage disposal any longer.
Your disposal uses flat ‘impellers’ that spin around and break food waste up against a stationary ‘grind rind’ located around the edge of the disposal. Once the food waste has been ground up, the liquified waste flows out through small slats in the grind ring to continue its journey down your sink.
Why do my drains keep clogging?
“If the garbage disposal grinds up food waste, why do I get clogs?” Although the grind ring and impellers are an effective and safe system to dispose of food waste, they aren’t foolproof.
Certain harder food scraps and waste need to be sorted and disposed of in the trash or in a compost bin, as they can harm or even destroy your garbage disposal. Some of these food items include:
- Bones – Bones are too hard and solid to be easily disposed of in the disposal. You’re better off throwing them in the trash.
- Eggshells – Eggshells have a sticky lining that gets wrapped around the impellers and can stop up the exit slats.
- Pasta and Oats – Starchy foods such as pasta and oats expand in water. Even fully cooked leftovers disposed of in the drain can expand and create a messy, sticky clog.
- Animal Fat, Grease, or Cooking Oil – Contrary to popular belief, your garbage disposal won’t have much issue filtering out grease, animal fat, or cooking oil. However, once it passes through your disposal, it can cool and harden in the interior of your plumbing. Over time, other food scraps can stick to this coating and begin a massive blockage.
- Stringy and Fibrous Vegetables – Vegetables such as celery, cornhusks, and bok choy possess fibrous (stringy) material that can wrap around the impellers and inhibit its ability to break down food.
- Coffee Grounds – If you’ve ever emptied the coffee maker out after making a cup of your favorite brew, you know what coffee grounds look like. This thick, sludgy mess can wreak havoc on your plumbing. Much like cooking oil and grease, coffee grounds may make it through your disposal just fine — but once they’re through, they can cling to the inside of your plumbing pipes and add to blockages.
- Fruit Pits – Apple pies, pumpkin pies, peach cobbler — all these autumnal staples may make your kitchen smell incredible, but the scraps can cause major problems for your plumbing. Fruit pits are too large and hard to be successfully ground up in the garbage disposal — but that doesn’t mean it won’t try. Putting any large food scraps should be discouraged as it can cause damage to your disposal.
The holidays are right around the corner, and there’s no better time to fill your home with warm food and savory scents. As long as you know which food waste should be disposed of where, there’s no reason your holidays won’t be holly, jolly, and happy.
If you do run into any issues with your drains, contact the drain and sewer experts at TLC Drain & Sewer! Our experienced team will give your home the TLC it deserves. (215) 935-4099