Nov 1, 2012   //   by Daniel Cordova   //   Tip Of The Month  //  Comments Off on Don’t Throw It All Down The Drain

In 1927, a nifty little device called a garbage disposal was invented and made life so much easier for many, yet we still need to remind everyone that this helpful device can cause big headaches if used improperly.  Contrary to what most believe, your kitchen sink drain or garbage disposal is not a catchall place for every food scrap that leaves your kitchen.  In fact, there are certain things that should NEVER go down your drain.  Here is our list of things that SHOULD NEVER GO DOWN YOUR DRAIN along with tips and special advice from your trusted neighborhood plumber:

1. Foreign (non-food) objects such as plastic, glass, aluminum, etc.  This should be obvious, but you wouldn’t believe some of the calls that we get!  Our favorite…bottle caps!  These types of objects do not puree and will not go down the drain!  Not only that, but often they seize the garbage disposal motors from running and generally cause them to break, making replacing this not-so-cheap device a necessity.

2. Grease & Oil. Grease becomes sludge and sticks to the walls of your pipes making the passage way for water and other scraps a lot more narrow.  As for oil, if you remember back to your childhood science experiments, oil and water do not mix.  In fact, oil always floats above water which causes a build-up in your pipes. The build up of both grease sludge and oil in pipes eventually causes the pipes to close, back up or sometimes even burst!  Which is often a costly nightmare.  Instead, pour any leftover grease or oil into an empty can or jar with a lid and throw it in the trash!

3. Rice & Pastas.  These types of foods expand in your drains and never break down.  They eventually end up clogging your drain lines.  Instead, throw away any rice and pasta scraps into an old plastic grocery bag and dispose in the trash.

4. Animal bones, skin or fat.  Again, these items do not break down and will only cause your pipes to clog.  Often they will sit inside your garbage disposal for days/weeks at a time causing a foul smell to enter your home.  Instead, throw these scraps in an old grocery bag and make sure to make it as air tight as possible.  We recommend double bagging.  This type of food will rot in your trash and begin to release some really foul odors around your home.

5. Stringy Foods. Asparagus, celery, corn husks, artichokes, onion skins, etc.  Their fibers tend to wrap around the blades of your disposal causing it to jam and stop functioning.  Again, leading to another costly mess.  Instead, consider starting a compost pile in your backyard.  It’s good for the environment and a good source of soil for planting around your house.

6.  Potato Peels.  Potatoes are full of starch, which, when ground by the garbage disposal turns into a paste of sorts and sticks to the lining of your pipes very similar to grease.  Instead of throwing these down the drain, add them to your compost!

7.  Fruit Pits, Fruit Rinds & Egg Shells. Much like animal bones, these types of scraps do not break down and are only good for one thing…causing clogs!  Make sure to throw all fruit pits and rinds in the trash, not the drain, and use your egg shells in your compost too!

8. Coffee Grounds.  Coffee grounds are actually absorbent in nature (think kitty litter) and instead of washing away, they actually sit in your drain pipes absorbing things such as oils and grease from your waste.  Instead, use coffee grounds in your compost pile as a way to absorb nutrients into the soil.

Now that’s a pretty hefty list, but by following these tips, your garbage disposal, drain and home plumbing will thank you in the long run, as well as your pocketbook!


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