What to Put Down the Drain
One of the most common garbage disposal questions is what you can run through the disposal. Although this will vary depending on how much horsepower your unit has, there are a few basic guidelines everyone should follow:
- No Fibrous Foods - Things like celery stalks, corn husks, onion skins, and such can twist themselves around the blades of your garbage disposal, wreaking havoc. Avoid them!
- No Grease, Fat, or Oils - These items can build up inside the garbage disposal and your drainage pipes, causing drain clogging. The buildup of fat based foods can also turn rancid in the drains, causing an offensive odor.
- No Garbage The name may be deceptive, but garbage disposals are for food waste, not garbage. Paper, metal, plastic, cigarette butts, and wood should never be put down the garbage disposal.
- No Hard to Grind Foods - bones, pastas, rice, and potato peels fall into this category. Bones are often too hard, large amounts of both pasta and potato peels are too starchy and can cause clogs.
- Do Put Lots of Cold Water - Many people make the mistake of running their disposal for too short of time with too little water. For adequate flushing, make sure to run plenty of cold water while running the disposal, this ensures all the particles are thoroughly flushed out, avoiding eventual clogging and bad smells. Cold water helps keep the motor from overheating.
This list may seem to be more about things that you cannot put down the drain, but if you keep these things in mind, then most other food scraps can be put in. Keep in mind that your food disposal helps to deal with small scraps of food, and should not be used to dispose of large amounts of food or garbage.
Help! It Stinks!
A common garbage disposal complaint is bad odors. This is often due to a failure to run enough water through and ensure everything is adequately flushed out. To keep your disposal fresh and clean, consider the following tips:
- Grind Thoroughly - Make sure you allow adequate time for everything to get ground and flushed with water. Leftover particles cause odors.
- Clean Regularly - At least once a week, take a bottle brush and scrub inside the disposal. This small maintenance step will go a long way to keeping it fresh.
- Grab Citrus - Fresh orange, lemon, or limes can help cut grease and eliminate odors. Simply grind pieces in the disposal.
- Vinegar is Good - Freeze some vinegar in ice cube trays and blend in the disposal. This helps to eliminate bacteria which can cause odor.
If you are careful with what you put through your disposal, and keep it clean, it should provide you with many years of carefree service.