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What Not to Put Down the Disposal

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The problem is if you don’t watch closely, anything and everything could end up in the kitchen sink during cleanup. To make sure you don’t end up with a plumbing disaster on your hands – an issue that will certainly put a damper on your thankful attitude – make sure you follow these tips and avoid putting certain things down the garbage disposal.


Mr. Rooter Plumbing offers 24 / 7 emergency disposal repair and replacement services in Atlanta, GA and surrounding areas.

What Not to Put Down the Disposal
Fibrous foods: Many foods that go into making a traditional Thanksgiving meal don’t belong down the disposal. Fibrous foods are big contenders and include celery, corn husks, carrots, onion skins, potato peels, asparagus and artichokes. These tend to wrap around the disposal blades, potentially damaging the motor, so toss them in the trash instead of down the sink.

Starchy foods: Think about what happens when you overcook pasta, rice, potatoes or beans. They turn into a pasty substance capable of clogging the kitchen drain if you dispose of them there. Throw them in the trash instead of sweeping them down the drain to avoid a clog.

Grease and oil: The extra grease from making turkey gravy, bacon and ground beef don’t belong down the garbage disposal. This substance may be liquid when it’s hot, but as it cools it solidifies into a gelatinous glob. As you can imagine, this is bad news for your plumbing. To properly dispose of grease and oil, pour it into an old can or jar and throw it in the trash.

Egg shells: There’s a longstanding rumor that egg shells are good for disposals because they sharpen the blades. This rumor is false! The membrane layers of egg shells can wrap around the shredder ring, potentially damaging the disposal, not to mention the sand-like consistency of egg shells can cause pipes to clog.

Hard materials: Some things are just too hard for the disposal blades to handle, including turkey bones and fruit pits. Feel free to pull apart the wishbone with a family member; just dispose of it in the trash afterward.

Non-food items: Never put anything you wouldn’t eat down the drain. This includes twist ties, rubber bands, string, cigarette butts, bottle caps and plant clippings. These items don’t break down in the disposal, allowing them to clog the sink.

Cleaning chemicals: Drain opener, lye and other chemical cleaners are not appropriate for the kitchen sink. If the drain becomes clogged and the disposal isn’t helping, call a plumber for professional assistance.

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