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What should I avoid putting in my garbage disposal?

While the garbage disposal is an efficient, useful device, and many homes are equipped with them, they can become clogged or broken very easily. Putting the wrong things into the garbage disposal too many times can result in damage that may require a replacement.

Here’s what you should avoid putting in the garbage disposal:

  • Utensils: While this seems obvious, lots of garbage disposals become damaged due to a few forks or spoons falling in without notice. Before running the disposal, check for any non-food items. As always, unplug your disposal and shut the power off before reaching in to remove anything. Better yet, use a pliers or tongs to grab items from the disposal.

  • Grease: Unlike other liquids, grease can solidify inside your drain, forming a clog. The same goes for any oil or fat. All of these items should be thrown in the trash instead of your disposal.

  • Fibrous Vegetables: Things like celery, asparagus, potato peelings and onion skins should be kept out of the disposal, as the fibers and strands can catch the blades of a disposal, causing clogs or further damage.

  • Uncooked or Cooked Pasta and Rice: Pasta and rice expands when mixed with water. This means that the more pasta or rice that you put in your disposal, the greater the chance your pipes will get backed up with a big starchy gel-like clog.

  • Coffee Grounds: These are another disposal don’t, as coffee grounds often get caught in the drain trap and form clogs. They can also jam a disposal.

  • Bones: Whether it’s chicken or fish, bones are difficult for a disposal to handle and can easily damage or break your unit.

  • Seeds, Cores and Pits: Any sort of fruit pit or apple core can be a challenge for even industrial-grade garbage disposals and are best left to the trash.

If you find yourself with lots of these items, and you’re not sure where to put them, consider starting a compost pile. If you have the room and the use for it, a compost pile can be beneficial for your yard and garden and provides an incentive for you to filter what you put in your disposal.

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