We all know how dangerous it is to put hands down a drain with a garbage disposal plugged in. However, we may not have a clear picture of just why that is. Garbage disposals don’t have sharp blades, as you may picture them. Instead, impellers use centrifugal force to push food particles against a grind ring and break them apart into little pieces.
That means that the garbage disposal cannot break up everything you want to throw at it. We’ve got some advice for how to properly care for your garbage disposal and keep it around longer. Maybe you know some of these tips already, but it’s an important reminder, and something to remind your family members of, too.
Meat bones, popcorn kernels, fruit pits, and other hard food items just were not made to be processed by your garbage disposal. These will not be broken up, are likely to become stuck, and can clog up a sewer line. And, of course, make sure everyone in the family knows that trash is not welcome in your disposal.
Those impellers are powerful, but if something were to wrap around them, the motor could become jammed. Stringy (or, fibrous) vegetables and food items, like celery, onion skins, and corn husks, are common causes of a jammed disposal. Throw these in the trash.
This can overwork a garbage disposal, which should only process a small amount of food at a time. Encourage family members to scrape full plates into the trash can (or a leftover container). If you must put large amounts of food in the disposal, do so slowly in small portions.
Remember that just because your garbage disposal can break it up, does not mean it belongs in the kitchen drain. Fats, oils, and grease are substances that solidify when they cool in the drainpipes. Coffee grounds are common sources of clogs, as are eggshells.