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Six foods you should never put down the garbage disposal

  • Written by Courtesy of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company

Guess what happens to uncooked spaghetti noodles when you put them down the garbage disposal?
They blow up! (Well, sort of.)

Your disposer chops those crunchy, crunchy noodles into bits, then * POOF * as they're making their way down the drain they s-w-e-l-l. Hello, clogged pipe!

Here are six more who-knew things never to put down your garbage disposal:

Eggshells
They practically evaporate the minute you stuff them down. And that's the problem. Eggshells get ground up so fine that they build up and form a clog-making layer in the sink trap.

Heavy starches
Think flour, rice, and potato skins. They become glue-like, and if not pushed through with a firehose-sized torrent of cold water, they'll thicken and harden in the pipes.

Fibrous foods
Celery, corn husks, asparagus, and other stringy vegetables wind themselves around blades and dull them.

Drained bacon grease
Like eggshells, it might go down just fine, but as bacon grease cools, it sets up inside your pipes. Ditto for any kind of oil that solidifies at room temperature. (Some plumbers insist that no oil is OK for the disposal.)

Fruit pits
Ever heard that putting apricot or peach pits down the disposal is a great way to clean off residue? Actually, it's a better way to damage the blades – kind of like putting a small rock in there.

Meat
Gristly or raw meat turns stringy and ungrindable in a garbage disposal. (You can probably get away with small amounts of cooked lean meat, though.)

The best way to avoid clogs? Make friends again with your compost or curbside yard waste recycle bin and save the disposal for whisking away tidbits and food residue. Also, always use COLD water (and plenty of it!) when running your disposal. Cold water turns food scraps more brittle, which makes them easier to grind and improves their chances for whooshing through your pipes without snagging or sticking. Start the water flowing even before you turn on the disposal and keep it running for five seconds after the food seems gone.

STINKY DISPOSAL HACK
Want to freshen things up without dumping chemicals down the drain? Try this cheap, ecofriendly fix! First, clean away nasty residue that may have built up on the undersides of the black rubber drain flaps. Then pour in one-half cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Let it fizz and foam for about 10 minutes, then flush with boiling water. Finish by grinding a quartered lemon, peel and all.

 

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