Having a garbage disposal sounds convenient—and to an extent, it is. Armed with a motor and blade, the device can grind all sorts of gunk into virtually nothingness, making it easier to get rid of debris down the drain after a session of dish cleaning. But ultimately, the garbage disposal has its limits, and that directly affects the sewer drain. Maintaining your sewer drains largely depends on leaving out certain things from going down the drain (literally). While some culprits are obvious, others are not. Here are a few of them:
GFO (Grease, Fat, and Oil)
This is the most obvious one. Grease, fat, and oil—you can collectively refer to them as GFO—the ultimate foe of sewer drains. This is due to two reasons: First, it hardens when it cools, thus limiting the amount of space for waste to move; and second, it collects and traps other types of debris, thus clogging the sewer pipes. Usually people pour hot water down the drain in the hope of washing away the GFO. But it actually doesn’t help; rather, it actually hastens the hardening process.
Another of the more obvious things to keep away from the drain is bones. The blades of the garbage disposal are powerful; in fact, fish bones might be okay to drop in the disposal. It’s just that the blades are not that powerful. Chicken, pork, beef and lamb bones in particular should be avoided, since they are just too strong for the blades to grind away.
Seeds or Pits
The same logic applies to seeds or pits. Seeds from oranges, grapefruit, and even watermelons and apples should be kept away from the garbage disposal, since it might have a problem grinding them away. In some cases, the limited strength of the disposal’s blades is a lot more obvious. After all, how much sense does it make to drop in stone fruit pits from peaches, mangoes, plums, and nectarines, expecting blades to slice through objects about half the size of golf balls?
Vegetables are good for everyone—just not for drains. Stingy or stalky ones like celery and asparagus, leafy ones like lettuce and kale, and starchy ones like potato (more specifically, their peels) can easily wrap around the blade of the garbage disposal.
Foods like spaghetti, linguine, and noodles are not only stringy; they are also expandable when in contact with water. Although very obvious when boiling it in a pot of water, pasta continues to swell in the drain, as it is in constant contact with water. Also, if it doesn’t go to the drain, pasta can fill up the garbage disposal, thus making it hard to get rid of.
Rice does not have the long tentacles that constitute pasta. But it is just as expandable. So, letting rice get in the drain should be avoided as much as pasta.
Coffee grounds are used to make coffee, and the remnants—a film consisting of small damp particles—look like they are unable to cause much of a problem. However the grains are big enough to clog up the drain.
Granted, garbage disposals can grind egg shells. However, the thin membrane found on the inside of the shells can wrap around the blade, making it less effective for grinding them and sending them down the drain.
This article was contributed on behalf of Southern Plumbing, your number one choice when looking for affordable sewer replacement. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!