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Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Blog

How to Protect Your Garbage Disposal and Kitchen Sink Drain

sink-drain-with-water-flowing-downIf you are one of hundreds of homeowners throughout Skokie and beyond that utilizes a garbage disposal in their kitchen sink, then you probably think it can handle just about anything. Garbage disposal systems are very convenient and easy-to-use. But, this system was not designed to chew up all your uneaten scraps. In fact, it doesn’t “chew up” much of anything.

Your garbage disposal functions by using a motor to spin impeller “blades” to break up what’s going down the drain. This is great if you have cooking scraps or leftovers involving things like boneless meat, and most fruits (without pits) and veggies. There are some things though, that really shouldn’t go down the drain, both for the sake of the garbage disposal system and the sink drain itself. Keep reading to learn what these things are.

Definite “Don’ts”

The first thing you should never put down your garbage disposal is anything that’s unchewable. This is a good rule of thumb to go by when determining what your garbage disposal system can and cannot handle. We’re talking about things like popcorn kernels, bones, etc.

Next—garbage. Sure, the system is called a garbage disposal. But this doesn’t mean you should be putting just any garbage down the drain. Folks often think they can put things down like plastic wrappers or even napkins, and this is just not the case.

Last but not least—potato skins, fibrous vegetables like celery, and eggshells. In moderation potato skins and eggshells might be okay. But when you shove these items down in excess, it overwhelms the system, stopping it from working and potentially causing it to break down altogether.

As for the rest of the “don’ts” we’re about to share, they aren’t necessarily bad for the garbage disposal, but they could be bad for the drain itself, leading to stubborn clogs and backups that will leave you calling for a plumber ASAP to resolve.

FOG: This stands for fats, oils and grease, and it should never be put down your drain. What happens when you pour these cooking byproducts down the drain is that they start to cool off, and then solidify. As this happens, it creates a hard sludge on the lining of the pipes, creating a buildup that will need to be professionally cleaned out (and no, a bottle of store-bought liquid drain cleaner won’t help).

Rice, Pasta, or Coffee Grounds: These food items may seem completely harmless, but the fact of the matter is that they are all items that swell with water. So if too much of it goes down the drain at once, it absorbs the water and can stop up the drain.

“So, What Can I Put Down the Drain?”

We get it, after looking at that list you’re probably wondering what we consider as safe to put down your kitchen sink drain and garbage disposal system. Here’s a list!

  • Non-fibrous vegetable scraps
  • Citrus peels
  • Non-fibrous fruit scraps
  • Soft foods like yogurt, bread, applesauce, etc.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team with any kitchen plumbing questions you have.

For expert plumbing service, installations, or maintenance contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance for professional Skokie, IL garbage disposal service and more!

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