Garbage Disposer Etiquette

Believe it or not there is an etiquette to the use of garbage disposer use!

A lot of people simply don’t know what to put in the garbage disposer. Perhaps it’s because of the misleading word, “garbage.” While you can throw nearly anything in the garbage, your garbage disposer is a lot more sensitive to breakdowns. Trash cans can last forever; garbage disposers don’t.

When you have friends and family over for any holiday, birthday, family dinner or other important family gathering. Our number 1 tip is to have everyone save their leftovers or scoop them in the garbage. In fact, it may be best to have just one or two people responsible for all the plates and dishes. This way, you can be sure that no one is damaging your garbage disposer. Each of your guests is used to a different garbage disposer and may feel as if they know what yours can or cannot handle.

While some things, such as spoons, toys, and twist may seem like obvious no-no's, there are plenty of seemingly harmless objects that could damage your disposer.

Here’s a list of the things in your kitchen that need to go in the trash, not the waste disposer.

Garbage disposer Don’ts

  • Fat, Grease, and Oil

Any type of grease or hot liquid fat shouldn’t go down the drain period. As grease cools, it hardens in the drain. The best way to throw away used grease and oil is to let it cool and put it in an empty can or a jar with a lid. Another option is to line a coffee cup with aluminum foil, pour the grease in the foil cup and then throw the foil away when it’s completely cool.

  • Starchy or Stringy Veggies

Celery, carrots, corn husks, rhubarb, artichokes, asparagus, chard, kale, lettuce, and even potato peels should not be put in the garbage disposer. These stringy, fibrous or starchy vegetables can easily wrap around the blade and clog your drain. If you do put these things down your disposer, do so a little bit at a time, and run cold water the disposer is on and a few seconds after you turn it off. Large items should always be cut into smaller pieces.

  • Pasta and Rice

In the garbage disposer, pasta and rice will absorb water every time they come in contact with it and expand over time. This expanding will form a pasty texture that can clog your trap.

  • Egg Shells

Eggshells should not be put in the garbage disposer because the thin membrane on the inside of the shell can wrap itself around the blade of the disposer. Although small chicken and fish bones can help clean the inside walls of your unit, the eggshells will turn into a sand-like substance that could clog the pipes.

  • Fruit Pits

This includes avocado, peach, mango, apricot, plum, and any other fruit pits. The pits don’t break down in the disposer and will only cause damage.

  • Bones

This one is a little more obvious, but garbage disposers simply aren’t strong enough to break down big bones. Stick with the trash on these ones. If they are tiny bones, it is ok, and can, in fact, help clean the inner walls of your unit.

  • Non-Food Objects

Flower stems, plants, twist ties, rubber bands, cigarettes, plastic, fabric, sponges, paper, toys, stickers, and other objects should always go in the garbage! These items simply will not break down like food items will and will easily break your disposer.

Now for the garbage disposer do's

  • Manufacturer Instructions

Each garbage disposer is different, so it’s important that you read the manufacturer’s instructions to see what you can and cannot with your garbage disposer.

  • Professional Installation

For optimum performance, it is recommended that you have a professional install and repair your garbage disposer. Although not absolutely necessary, it is important to have the unit hooked up to your plumbing and dishwasher correctly.

  • Safety

If you are trying to retrieve something from the disposer, make sure the disposer is off first, and then use a pair of tongs, not your hands. Also, it is very important that everyone, especially children knows proper garbage disposer safety.

  • Cold Water

When using your disposer, run the cold water only , while it is on and for 10 seconds after as well. This helps to harden any fats and oils, preventing them from sticking to the pipes.

  • Fresh and Clean

If you want to clean and freshen up your garbage disposer, try using some citrus peels, such as lemon, lime, orange, blood orange, or grapefruit.

Disposer Maintenance
  • How to Fix a Clogged Garbage disposer. If your garbage disposer is clogged or won’t turn on, follow these steps:

1. Turn the power of at the breaker box.

2. Remove the rubber splash guard.

3. Use a flashlight to inspect for the source of the clog.

4. Use tongs to remove the object(s). *NEVER stick your hands down the disposer.

5. Turn the power back on at the breaker box.

6. Reset the garbage disposer with the little red switch on the underside of the unit itself (underneath the sink).

7. Turn the cold water on and hit the garbage disposer switch.

If that doesn’t work, it’s best to call a plumber.

Avoid a catastrophe by keeping all of the above items out of your disposer.

For professional drain cleaning and garbage disposer repairs, give Quinn's a call at 610-376-6001 for professional drain clearing services for only $93! We guarantee a cleared drain for $93 or your money back! If your drain should become clogged again within the next 5 years, we will return for a free follow-up repair!

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That’s why we’re the number one plumber to call on nights, holidays, and weekends.

Here are thing you should never flush down the toilet: Paper towels, baby wipes, food waste, diapers. To keep it simple, just human waste and toilet paper.

For all your plumbing problems, call the Quinn's Plumbing Experts at 610-376-6001.

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