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HOW TO Save Yourself from Holiday Headaches (What Foods NOT to Put Down the Disposal)

Posted by Hannah Barney

Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally one of, if not the most, busiest weekends of the year for plumbing. We get it – the food is a plenty and even the most festive of us can get sick of the leftovers at some point in the weekend. It’s tempting to just put everything down the drain and be done with it – BUT don’t do it! Your garbage disposal cannot handle nearly everything you think it can.Thanksgiving Dinner Blog Post

Here’s what holiday foods NOT to put in your garbage disposal this weekend:

DON’T put in:

  • Grease, oil or fat. Grease will slowly build up and make it extremely difficult for your disposal to grind up food, as well as potentially clogging up your drain.
  • Very fibrous materials, such as corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, artichokes, pumpkins. These can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains.
  • Animal bones (beef, pork, TURKEY!). Sorry it is not a turkey day for your sink! While your disposal MIGHT be able to handle smaller bones (ie. fish), it is going to have a difficult time with larger bones and food scraps which can stop your disposal.
  • Expandable foods (pasta, rice, etc.). They will expand in your pipes or disposals, just like they do in the pot, which can lead to drain blockage.
  • Potato Peels, Sweet Potatoes, Banana Peels, String Beans. Too many of them and you’ll have a thick paste that will make the blades sticky.
  • Coffee Grounds. Although they may look as though they go down the drain, they are likely sticking at the bottoms
  • Any kind of nuts or anything with a shell. (Seafood, egg shells, etc.)

For these items, it’s best to throw them away in your regular trash. If you’re worried about the excess of trash, you can also look into composting your food scraps. Here’s a great article on how to compost your kitchen food->Article Link

At this point, you’re probably starting to wonder if anything is able to be used by your garbage disposal…

Q: “So when can I use my garbage disposal”?

A: The important thing to remember is to use your disposal in moderation. It should only be used for small amounts of food leftover on your plate (not including those on the DON’T list). For instance, you can use your disposal for SMALL amounts of fruit or meat scraps.

And please, PLEASE don’t use the toilet or sink instead of your garbage disposal! Keeping your pipes nice and clear this holiday weekend will ensure that everyone enjoys the whole weekend without a plumbing “holiday headache”.


Have a wonderful time with your family and friends – and remember you can call on us for your plumbing emergency this weekend! (563-391-1344)

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