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Garbage disposals are a great luxury in your kitchen. Much of your food wastes can easily be disposed of without having a stinky trash can. But even though they are convenient for disposing of food waste, they are not trash compactors. If your garbage disposal keeps breaking, it is likely because you are putting some things down them that you shouldn’t be.

The wrong foods or other items can damage or even break your garbage disposal. And the size or quantity of food can break it.

Take precautions to avoid breaking your garbage disposal.

Keep amounts small.

Only small amounts of food should be run through the disposal at a time. Too much and it can overheat or clog the shredding mechanism. This is especially problematic when you have small grinds, seeds, grains, eggshells or rice that can clump together to form one large mass or stick to the mechanism.

No fats, oils or grease.

When you cook with oils it liquefies. It might seem harmless to pour down a drain, but it won’t be long before it starts to cool and solidify. This is bad enough because it can stick along the walls of pipes and cause clogs. When placed in a disposal, oils on foods (i.e. gravy, butter, dressings) will start to solidify and stick on the mechanism, rendering it useless. Even the fats from meats can damage your disposal.

No rinds, husks or peels.

Anything that can wrap around the mechanism can cause it to break. Examples include corn husks, celery, asparagus, orange and lemon peels, potato peels, banana peels, etc. While lemon might be suggested as a natural cleanser that refreshes the disposal to reduce odor, the peels of a lemon and other fruits and vegetables can damage it. Even small pieces can be difficult for the mechanism and can obstruct the blades.

No hard bones, shells and grinds.

The mechanism is designed to handle foods below a specific hardness. Anything too hard can damage or break it. To understand the hardness it can handle, refer to your user manual. In general, meat bones, egg shells, shellfish, popcorn kernels and coffee grinds are all examples of foods that are too hard for most mechanisms.

No paper or plastic.

Use the rule of thumb that if it is not a food, it is not meant to be put in the disposal. Paper towels, napkins, Kleenez, wax paper, plastic wrap and other non-food items can get tangled around the mechanism to cause damage or break it.

When your disposal is used for what it is meant for, it can operate well for many years. It is designed to break down softer foods in reasonable quantities. Misusing it by adding hard, clumping or fibrous foods can damage it. And if these types of foods do get past the mechanism, they can still get caught in the drain and create clogs.

High Priority Plumbing repairs or replaces garbage disposal, fixes clogged drain and provides many other plumbing repairs and installations. For more information, call us at 770.860.8110 in Atlanta or 912.373.7707 in Savannah.