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4 Things to Know about Your Garbage Disposal


One of the greatest plumbing innovations to make its way into homes in the last half-century is the garbage disposal. Cooking and cleaning is no worry. No longer do you have to scrape all the leftover food onto your plate in the garbage can and hope no crumbs make their way into the sink. The disposal will take care of everything! At least, that’s what you may think.

We’re here to clear up some common misconceptions and make sure you understand how your disposal works so that you know what can and cannot go into the kitchen sink drains. For the most part, a garbage disposal is a useful tool, but there are some things we think any homeowner should know in order to avoid trouble.

#1: It doesn’t have sharp blades

First, you should know that those “blades” within your garbage disposal aren’t what they seem. They probably don’t feel sharp to the touch at all, but that doesn’t mean you should reach in and test it out. What makes a disposal dangerous is that the motor moves the impeller quickly enough to force food scraps down to a grind ring, where they are ground up into tiny bits.

It’s not cutting through the scraps as you may picture—the garbage disposal does not look like a food processor or blender. That makes it a bit limited in what it can do, but it’s still dangerous to attempt to reach in.

#2: The disposal is for food scraps only

As you hopefully already know, you cannot put plastic wrappers or paper in the disposal, even when it’s in small bits. You should keep in mind, though, that the smallest guests and family members may not realize this. Make it a point to tell the kids in your home around the holidays to keep trash in the trash can, and emphasize that the following hard food items cannot be broken up by the disposal either.

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Fruit pits
  • Seeds
  • Meat bones
  • Fish bones
  • Shellfish

#3: Some food scraps still won’t cut it

As a general rule, you shouldn’t put anything into the disposal that you could not chew with your teeth. But there are still exceptions to this.

  • Pasta and rice expand in the pipes and clog them up even after going through the disposal.
  • Fats, grease, and oil go down the drain as liquid, but solidify as they cool, clogging up pipes.
  • Stringy foods like celery, asparagus, and onion skins can wrap around the impeller and cause problems.
  • Coffee grounds are a common source of drain clogs.

#4: Problems? Check the reset button under the sink

Finally, we have a lot of people call us for garbage disposal repair, and once we show up, we find they could have repaired the issue themselves with the touch of a button. You may or may not know that there is a reset button underneath the sink and garbage disposal assembly. When it jams up, try this first!

Call a plumber in Port Richey, FL. Contact the friendly team at Continental Plumbing Services, LLC.