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What Not to Put Down the Drain: A Guide to a Clog-Free Kitchen

Washing dishes

With Thanksgiving approaching, we felt it timely to share some garbage disposal tips to help you avoid the dreaded clogged sink nightmare that many well intentioned home chefs experience around holiday time.

The convenience of a garbage disposal can make kitchen cleanup a breeze. However, certain items can spell trouble for your plumbing, leading to blockages and costly repairs. In this guide, we’ll highlight the foods and substances you should avoid sending into your disposal, as well as a pro tip to keep your kitchen plumbing running smoothly.

1. Food That Expands

Pasta, rice, coffee grounds, and oats might seem harmless, but they can create a sticky, paste-like mess in your disposal. As these foods are ground up, they have a knack for expanding, potentially causing blockages in your drain pipes. To prevent this, it’s best to dispose of them in your trash or compost bin.

2. Hard Food Scraps

Nuts, seeds, and bones are notoriously tough substances that your garbage disposal might struggle to grind up efficiently. Putting these items down the drain can lead to jams and put unnecessary strain on the disposal’s motor. It’s a good practice to dispose of these items in your garbage or compost heap instead.

3. Peels, Stems, Skins & Stringy Foods

Certain foods have a sneaky way of bypassing the grinder and finding their way into your drain pipes. Think potato and carrot peels, onion skins, turkey skin, celery, corn husks, and banana peels. These items can either create blockages or wrap around your garbage disposal’s impellers, causing frustrating jams. Safeguard your plumbing by discarding these in the trash or compost.

4. Dairy Products

Cream and cheeses, when processed by your garbage disposal, can transform into a paste that has the potential to jam the system or cause a clog. 

5. Fats, Oils, and Grease

Fats, oils, and grease might be liquid when they enter your drain, but they can congeal and solidify in your pipes, creating a stubborn blockage. Bacon fat, butter, olive oil, margarine, lard, and shortening should never be poured down the drain. Instead, collect fats, oils, or grease in a container and dispose of it properly in the trash.

Pro Tip: Use Cold Water

When using your garbage disposal, remember to run cold water simultaneously. Cold water helps food particles, as well as the inevitable fats and grease, stay solid as they travel through the pipes. This reduces the risk of food debris adhering to pipe walls and creating a blockage. 

A little care in the kitchen can go a long way in preventing plumbing mishaps. By avoiding the items listed above and using cold water, you’ll help ensure a clog-free, smoothly running kitchen disposal system. 

If you find yourself with a clogged sink or a jammed garbage disposal and aren’t able to remedy it yourself, the expert plumbers at Black Diamond Experts would be happy to help. 

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