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10 Things that Don't Belong in Your Garbage Disposal

Know What You Can Wash Down the Drain and What Belongs in the Trash

Your garbage disposal is one of the unsung heroes of modern plumbing. This device lets you wash uneaten food down the drain without worrying about clogs or blockages. But even top-of-the-line garbage disposals can’t handle everything.

Certain substances can’t be properly broken down by your garage disposal and trying to wash them down the drain anyway can lead to big problems. Our plumbing experts at Wallner Plumbing Heating & Air have put together a list of the most common garbage disposal destroyers.

#1 – Coffee Grounds

A common DIY plumbing myth is that putting a spoon or two of coffee ground down your garbage disposal every so often gets rid of unpleasant smells. The truth is, coffee ground can form a thick paste inside your pipes, causing serious blockages.

#2 – Vegetable Peels

When you have carrots, potatoes, or other vegetables to peel, it can be tempting to simply do so over your sink and dump the shavings into your garbage disposal afterward. Unfortunately, vegetable peels are thin enough to bypass your garbage disposal entirely, leaving them free to clog your drain.

#3 – Egg Shells

Technically, you can put these down your garbage disposal, but our plumbing pros don’t recommend it. The shell itself won’t cause any damage, but the thin membrane attached to it can get dislodged and stick to the side of your pipes.

#4 – Pasta

The problem with pasta is that it expands when exposed to water, even when fully cooked. Any pasta that lingers in your drain will keep expanding, eventually leading to a clog.

#5 – Oatmeal

Like pasta, oatmeal expands when exposed to water, and the smaller size of oats in comparison to noodles makes it even easier for remnants of your breakfast to stick to your pipes. Additionally, oatmeal tends to develop a paste-like texture that can easily lead to blockages.

#6 – Celery Stalks

Celery is a crisp and healthy snack, but it also has a stringy texture that makes it hard for your garbage disposal to break it down. Furthermore, the fibrous strands can tangle in your garbage disposal’s blades, causing it to break down.

#7 – Bones

Your garbage disposal is pretty powerful, but even tiny chicken bones are too much for it to handle. Trying to pass bones through it can lead to the blades getting ruined and your drain getting clogged.

#8 – Fruit Pits

Like bones, fruit pits are simply too much for your garbage disposal to handle. Plus, smaller pits can bypass your garbage disposal entirely, making it easier for them to clog your drain.

#9 – Nuts

When you grind up peanuts in a blender, you get sticky, gooey peanut butter, perfect for clogging drains. The same process occurs when you put peanuts or other nuts down your garbage disposal, so keep nuts out of your sink.

#10 – Paint

This may seem like a strange thing to put down your garbage disposal, but DIY aficionados and artists have been known to dump unused paint down the drain, where it can stick to the sides of pipes and garbage disposals. Always dilute the paint with water before dumping it!

What to Do if Your Garbage Disposal is in Danger

If something you’ve dumped down the drain is causing problems, let our plumbing team know! We can identify and remove even the most subtle clogs and repair any issues with your garbage disposal.

Give us a call at (530) 223-5622 if you’re having problems with your garbage disposal!