You might at first believe that your garage disposal unit is an all singing, all dancing destroyer of all things “food-related” but that’s sadly actually not the case. While it is certainly able to handle many types of produce, crunch them down and destroy them more than adequately, that doesn’t mean it is usable on everything.
As a result of this “not everything” approach to its use, it is important to know what is safe to put into the garbage disposal. The repercussions of putting the wrong thing through it can cause a blockage or even damage the blades that slide through the disposal unit itself which is a tough thing to fix (and could require the replacement of key parts or the entire unit itself).
What’s Safe to Put into the Disposal?
Coffee grounds – For the most part, coffee grounds are safe to put down the disposal. They have the added benefit of improving the smell and keeping the system cleaner. With that said, dumping large amounts of old, used coffee grounds all at once down the disposal risks blocking it up completely. Go easy.
Citrus peel – Many types of fruit skin that are usually peeled off before eating the soft fruit inside is safe to dispose of down the disposal. The citrus juices and smell also help cleanse the system over time too.
Bones – Bones are a tricky one. When you’re talking about small fish bones, then these break up quickly in the disposal. On the other hand, the kind of thick meat bones that a dog loves to chew on for hours are going to spin around inside the garbage disposal and potentially could destroy it from the inside out. So, the type of fish bones that gets stuck in your teeth are okay, but the big meat ones are a no-no.
Leftover meat – Pre-cooked meat is usually okay to dispose of, but be careful not to place overly large pieces expecting them to get chewed up. The thought of throwing a half meat remnants, half chunky bone down the disposal should be discarded. The smaller the meat chunks, the less likely they’ll get stuck or caught up in the machinery.
Veggies –Vegetables, even the harder root vegetables kind, are okay to push through the disposal too. Do be careful with ones that are fiber-rich as these tend to get stuck in the disposal’s teeth.
Egg shells – Generally speaking, egg shells can be processed easily. The sharp edges of chipped egg shells also help to sharpen the blades.
Fruit leftovers – Whether bananas, apples, grapes, oranges, prunes or berries, they’re all totally fine going through the garbage disposal. The addition of these fruit leftovers helps to indirectly improve how the drain smells.
Baby foods and liquids – It is fair to say that anything designed for a baby to consume is also safe for a disposal unit to process.
Soap – Putting the soap down the disposal is likely to bubble up and clog it when overused. However, a modest amount of soap works well to clean the machinery and its pipes.
Ice Cube–One little trick is to feed the odd ice cube down the disposal each week. The cube slides around the blades pushing away older residue that’s gotten stuck on these sharp cutting implements. It is also possible to make cubes from vinegar or a biodegradable cleaner to really clean up the innards of the disposal regularly.
Running water – For best functioning, water should always be run through the disposal when pushing any food garbage through it. It is best to run water through the system for 15-20 seconds before feeding any items through the disposal and also for a short period after the last item has been fed through. The running of water helps things wash out of the disposal after they’ve been sliced up and avoids them both clogging it up or staying at the bottom of the sink.
As long as you keep to only these food types, you should be able to keep your disposal in tip-top shape. Avoid anything obvious like plastic, metal, glass and paper or cigarettes. Food items that contain a lot of fiber, such as onions or celery, are to be avoided as they get stuck in the motor. Also, grease or oil combined with hot water get stuck in the drains.
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