The garbage disposal is a wonderful convenience in the modern kitchen, but they’re not exactly foolproof. Many garbage disposal owners think that they can send any and all food waste down the little rubber flanked hole in their sink, flip the switch, grind up the remains of their lunch, and wash it away.
However, garbage disposals are designed to handle only small amounts of organic waste at a time: the scrapings left on dinner plates, for example, and that’s about it. What’s more, there are things that your garbage disposal is absolutely not built to handle. Put any of these verboten items in your disposal too often or in large quantities, and you’ll likely end up with major frustration and a call to your friendly neighborhood plumber (who can almost always fix the problem but also always leave you out at least a hundred bucks).
What should you absolutely avoid putting in your garbage disposal? Here are seven things that are best tossed in the trash or the compost pile:
The starches in potatoes may be satisfying to eat, but sending them down your disposal could leave you with a starchy clog. If you’re peeling potatoes, save the peels for your compost bin.
Stone fruit pits.
The point of the garbage disposal is to break down food into bits small enough to be flushed through pipes, but as strong as its blades are, it just can’t break down the pits of peaches, plums, and other stone fruits. Put them in the trash, or if you’re feeling green, plant them.
Fibrous fruits and vegetables.
Banana peels, pineapple tops, celery ends, cabbage — unless you’re putting them in your disposal in extremely small amounts, they just won’t break down properly. What’s worse, they’re liable to wrap around the blades, preventing them from working properly and eventually destroying the motor.
After cooking (and devouring) bacon, it may seem like the easiest thing to do is to pour the grease down your garbage disposal, but that’s actually a bad idea. Not only will this gum up your blades, but it can cause nasty clogs. Instead, pour it in a clean container to reuse, or pour it in a disposable container and throw it away when it cools completely.
Much like the pits of stone fruits, bones won’t get broken down by your disposal’s blades. They go in the trash.
Although some people believe that putting egg shells in the garbage disposal is OK, egg shells can actually do more harm than good. The ground up shells could clog up your pipes, and the membrane can stick to the blades. You’re better off putting them out with your compost.
Anything that isn’t food.
Although it should go without saying, the garbage disposal is for food only. Old sponges, hair, cigarette butts and ashes, and anything else that isn’t food goes in the trash