Garbage Disposal: Foods & Prohibitions

A garbage disposal, also known as a waste disposal unit or sink disposal, is a device installed under a kitchen sink that grinds up food waste so it can be easily washed down the drain. While a garbage disposal can make cleaning up after meals much easier, it is important to know what can and cannot be put down the disposal to avoid damage or clogs.

Foods that can be safely put down a garbage disposal include:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps (avoid large pits or seeds)
  • Cooked or uncooked meats (avoid bones)
  • Bread, pasta, and grains
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs and eggshells (crush them before putting them down)

Foods to avoid putting down a garbage disposal include:

  • Grease and oil (can solidify and clog pipes)
  • Fibrous foods (such as celery, artichokes, and corn husks)
  • Starchy foods (such as potatoes, rice, and pasta)
  • Hard shells (such as crab or lobster shells)
  • Bones (can damage the blades)

In addition to food scraps, avoid putting down the disposal items such as:

  • Coffee grounds (can clog pipes)
  • Glass, metal, and plastic (can damage the blades)
  • Chemical drain cleaners (can damage the unit)

It is also important to run water while using the garbage disposal and for a few seconds after, to flush out any remaining food scraps. It is also a good idea to occasionally grind up ice cubes or lemon peels to sharpen the blades and remove any built-up odors.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your garbage disposal continues to work properly and efficiently.

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