This blog should start out with a complaint! We don’t have much use for the term “Garbage Disposal.” The more proper term should be “Food Disposal.” Why does that bother us? Because as plumbers you would not believe some of the things that we have seen people try to grind down into the drain pipe.

The disposal is not meant to take care of sticks, flower stems, aluminum foil, pieces of ceramic cups or most anything else that is not food. Hard, non-organic or non-food items are not meant to be put into this machine.I can’t grind that?

Even certain food items should not be ground. These items can include celery, corn cobs, Brussels sprout stalks, artichoke leaves, pits, large seeds, chicken bones, beef bones and most peels. Yes, orange, grapefruit, lemon or tangerine peels do make the disposal smell better, but only a few small pieces at a time. The system can quickly overload and clog. That leads us to another point.

Just because a homeowner is able to cram down chicken bones, glass or a corn cob, does not mean that there won’t be a clog farther down the line. Also, because Green Tech is an environmentally conscious company, we want you to be aware of anything flushed down your disposal. Sooner or later, it flows out into the water supply of your community.

Hot or cold?

To settle a long standing argument, always use cold water when grinding and never hot water. Hot water releases the fats in the food particles and cold water keeps the fats from dispersing. However, between uses you can flush the system with hot water if you just put in hot water and no food.

No fat zone!

This point leads us to another topic. If you love your disposal never try to put any fats, wax or grease down the drain. This includes bacon grease, salad dressings, cooking oils of any kind, solid fats, meat trimmings, candles and crayons (!), bars of soap (!) or fats from deep fryers.

The slippery substances will interfere with the grinding action but just importantly the fat globules will begin to accumulate in the lines and will build up and restrict water flow. From an environmental point of view, flushing all of these fats, waxes and oils into the waterways is a complete mess. It takes weeks for fats and oils to completely break down and these substances cut down on oxygen and can kill fish and aquatic plants.

Don’t force it!

If your disposal becomes so badly jammed that it won’t turn no matter what you do, do not try to force it. If you force it, you may make a bad problem even worse. We may have to take the disposal apart to unclog the jam and to drain the system. Call a plumber.

NEVER put your hand down a disposal that is jammed. It is just not worth it to get badly injured. If the disposal is badly damaged, they are not that expensive compared to major hand surgery. It should go without saying but a gentle reminder to remember is that children should not be anywhere near a disposal.

A properly maintained food disposal system should last for years…just treat it nicely!