Garbage disposals can cope with a lot, because they need to. The amount of food waste generated by the average meal can be pretty gruesome at times. Unfortunately, even the best disposal has its limits. If you want to avoid having to repair or replace your garbage disposal before tis time, there are some things that you need to keep in mind. One of those categories of things is which materials you should never put into your garbage disposal.
Garbage disposals don’t have diamond-tipped meatgrinders or anything like that in them. They’re actually a pretty simple mechanism of a series of impeller blades (which are dull, by the way) rotated by a motor. The point is that it’s actually pretty easy to break those blades if you subject them to the wrong stuff. For example, if you put ice, fruit pits, bones, or anything else really hard in the disposal it will likely be unable to deal with it. Even if the waste doesn’t break the blades, it won’t be chopped up so it can move through the disposal line. This will, at best, make it difficult for the system to properly chop up any other waste put into it after the offending material. Best to just throw harder waste products in the trash.
Remember a minute ago when we mentioned that the impeller blades in the disposal weren’t sharp? That’s especially important for this next class of waste materials: fibrous ones. Putting celery, corn husks, and the like into the disposal creates problems because the fibers can become wrapped around the impeller blades. The blades can’t cut the fibers, so they become entangled and unable to spin. In the worst case scenario, this can cause the motor to overheat and burn out. That usually means needing to replace the disposal. Better to avoid subjecting it to this kind of stuff.
Finally, there’s the biggest culprit of them all: FOG. FOG stands for Fats, Oils, and Grease, all of which are very common byproducts of cooking. When FOG is poured into the disposal, it is often in liquid form. The problem is that these materials congeal when they cool, forming a viscous substance that sticks to the walls of the disposal. This can gum up the impellers, and restrict the flow through the disposal line. It’s far better to throw these materials out than to allow them to coat the inside of your pipes.
These are the materials that you should keep out of your garbage disposal at all times. You can do other things to ensure the disposal is healthy, like scheduling regular maintenance and repairs when necessary. Keeping it free of these materials is a great start, though.