Some people take their garbage disposal for granted. Unfortunately, doing that can lead to plumbing problems. If you want to keep your disposal from failing, you need to treat it with care. Avoid placing certain foods down your disposal and learn when to call a drain cleaner for garbage disposal issues. These seven foods can cause serious trouble for your garbage disposal.

1. Bones

Although your garbage disposal has blades, those blades aren’t indestructible. In fact, they’re not able to grind hard items. They can’t handle food items like bones.

Even if you put bones down the sink and they make it past the blades of the garbage disposal, they won’t get far in your pipes. It won’t take long for the bones to make a significant blockage in your pipes.

2. Eggshells

Eggshells aren’t particularly hard, so most people think their garbage disposal can easily process them. However,  eggshells do not belong in a garbage disposal.

There’s a myth that eggshells are good for disposals because they sharpen the blades. While this may be true, eggshells also have a sticky lining. That lining could stick to the side of your disposal or wrap around the shredder. Eventually, your disposal may stop working.

 3. Pits from Fruit

It’s easy to cut up a peach or plum and throw your pit in the garbage disposal. Sadly, taking the easy way out leads to problems down the road.  You should take the time to throw the pit in the garbage.

No matter how small a pit is, it could damage the blades on your garbage disposal. Consider a cherry pit. Despite its small size, the pit is too hard for you to cut with a knife. If your sharp kitchen knife can’t cut it, why would your garbage disposal blades be able to cut it?

4. Grease or Fat

When grease or fat is hot, it’s in liquid form. You might not think anything of potting it down your drain or garbage disposal. But think about what happens when fat and grease cools. If you leave bacon grease in a frying pan for too long, it becomes a solid. As it cools, it hardens.

The same effect happens in your pipes. Although the grease may go down your disposal just fine, it will eventually stick to your pipes and form a clog. The clog will collect debris until it forms a complete blockage in your McHenry plumbing.

Despite being cautious, you may still end up pouring grease or fat down your drain. To remedy this, let hot water run down your drain for a few minutes.

5. Stringy, Fibrous Foods

Stringy foods may not be tough, but they can damage your garbage disposal. They have the potential to wrap around your garbage disposal blades.

Typically, all of the following vegetables are too stringy to go down your disposal:

  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Rhubarb
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke

6. Fruit Peels

When you grind up fruit peels, they form a thick paste. As that part builds up on your disposal blades, it prevents the disposal from working.

The paste could make it past the blades, but then causes another issue. The paste is likely to be caught in your pipes, forming a significant blockage.

Banana peels, orange peels, and lemon peels all could do damage to your disposal. Before you dump them down your sink, decide if it’s worth it.

7. Ground Coffee

You may have read that ground coffee is a way to eliminate foul smells in your garbage disposal. Despite making your home smell better, coffee grinds cause major issues in your McHenry plumbing.

The grounds form a dense paste. Once that paste goes down your drain, there’s no going back. You’ll need to hire a plumber to clean your drains.

If you want to neutralize odors in a way that doesn’t hurt your plumbing, you can use a safer method. Take some citrus fruit peels and chop them up into small pieces. Then, place a few pieces of the peels in an ice cube tray. Pour vinegar into the tray, covering the peels. Finally, freeze the tray and place one cube down the disposal. In addition to making your disposal smell better, the cubes will also sharpen your blades.

8. Chemical Cleaners

If you suspect a clog or want to prevent clogs from forming, you might be tempted to pour chemical cleaners down your drain. Most chemical cleaners are harmful to your disposal and your pipes. They can corrode your plumbing, and eventually will require you to replace your pipes.

It’s worth mentioning that soap and borax are safe for your sink. Of course, they won’t do anything to remove a clog. Instead of reaching for an industrial grade drain cleaner, call a professional for help.

9. Gummy Foods

Foods like oatmeal and pasta are incredibly gummy when wet. For that reason, they don’t belong in your disposal.  They make it past your blades just fine, but then end up forming a paste in your pipes. Even a little pasta or oatmeal can cause a plumbing nightmare.

When Should You Get a Drain Cleaner for Garbage Disposal?

What have you been pouring down your disposal? If you didn’t know any better and are guilty of abusing your disposal, don’t lose hope. There are things you can do to prevent the plumbing problems that come from an abused disposal.

First, you should call in a professional plumber. They can inspect your plumbing and let you know if you have any major issues. More importantly, they can give you a thorough drain cleaning.

There are several methods that a professional plumber can use to clean your drains. With those methods, they can remove stubborn clogs. Your pipes may be like new, and you can prevent a backup that leaves your plumbing system out of commission.

Your plumber can also take a look at your garbage disposal. If it’s not working, the plumber can help you decide if it’s better to fix or replace the disposal.

It’s time to treat your garbage disposal with respect. If you’re ready to take action and hire a drain cleaner for garbage disposal and drain pipes, call us at J. Blanton Plumbing.