Items That You Should Never Put Down a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is one of the great convenience devices of the modern kitchen. If you’ve spent most of your life in homes that have garbage disposals installed in their kitchens, it may be hard to imagine getting along without one.

Garbage disposals don’t just make like simpler for you when it comes to eliminating food waste in the sink. The disposal protects your plumbing by chopping down food particles so the wastewater system can better handle them. But garbage disposals are not invincible, nor are they magical devices. There are some items, including food product, that you should never place down a garbage disposal.

If you need help from Denver plumbers with a malfunctioning garbage disposal or any other plumbing problem, call APC Plumbing & Heating. We’ve helped keep plumbing in the community healthy since 1984.

Here are items that should NEVER go down the disposal

  • Your hand: We want to make this 100% crystal clear: do not attempt to fix a jam in your disposal by placing your hand down into it! This is potentially dangerous. When you have mechanical issues with a kitchen garbage disposal, call for professionals to handle it. That’s why we’re here.
  • Liquid fat, oil, and grease: These seem harmless when in hot liquid form, but all three turn into waxy and tough solids once they dry. Few things will jam up the works of a garbage disposal faster than fat, oil, or grease buildup. Remove these liquids to a separate receptacle, like a metal coffee can, to deposit in the trash.
  • Popcorn kernels, bones, and other solid food product: Here’s a good rule to live by when it comes to your garbage disposal: “If you can’t chew it with your teeth, than your garbage disposal can’t chew it either.” Place all these items in the trash.
  • Rice and pasta: These items surprise people, since it seems that a disposal should have no trouble cutting these down. However, both rice and pasta will continue to absorb water and swell up, which makes them serious problems if they get stuck inside a disposal.
  • Coffee grounds: Although these seem innocent enough, the many tiny particles of coffee grounds can easily gather inside plumbing like sediment, and start to build up into blockage.
  • Actual garbage: The name “garbage” may be in the title, but you should never place items that belong in trash receptacle—like paper or plastic—into a garbage disposal. They can lead to a rapid mechanical breakdown and create tough clogs.

If you treat your garbage disposal properly, it will reward you with many years of trouble-free service and clean drainpipes.

If you eventually need repairs or replacement for your kitchen disposal, you can count on the experienced Denver plumbers at APC Plumbing & Heating to take care of all your needs.


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