Thanksgiving is almost here, and if you’re like most Americans, you’re already gearing up for turkey day. Because of the ongoing situation with the pandemic, there is a good chance that your Thanksgiving celebration this year will be considerably smaller than in times past. However, whether you are having family and friends over this year to celebrate or not, it is still a good idea to make sure you’re prepared ahead of time. Don’t wait till the last minute to get your food, make sure all your kitchen equipment is in good working order, and when it comes to your plumbing system, avoid putting anything in your garbage disposal it can’t handle. Keep reading to learn more about foods you should never put down your garbage disposal, and remember that this holiday season and beyond, our skilled plumbers at Carter Services are here for you.
10 Foods to Avoid Putting Down Your Garbage Disposal This Thanksgiving
- Grease, Oils & Fats: Grease is a top cause of drain clogs, as it does not easily wash away once you flush it down your sink. In fact, just the opposite tends to happen; when you try to get rid of grease, fats, and oils in your garbage disposal, they usually stick in your drains, hardening and congealing. This in turn creates the perfect trap for other food items, thus leading to bigger and bigger clogs. It might be nasty, but instead of dumping that gravy and turkey fat in the sink this year, you would be much better served letting it harden and then throwing it in the trash.
- Turkey Bones: Okay, we hope this one is obvious, but just in case it’s not, you should never, EVER put bones of any kind down your garbage disposal. Small bones are more prone to getting stuck further down your drain lines, while putting larger ones in your garbage disposal is basically the perfect way to wreck the impeller blades. Turkey or otherwise, bones are a top garbage disposal no-no all year-long.
- Starches: Starches naturally expand when they are met with water, which makes them a top cause of blockages when they enter your drains. That means you should avoid putting bread, pasta, rice, and various other oats and grains down your garbage disposal at all times. When it comes to Thanksgiving, dump that corn dish in the wastebasket rather than emptying it into the garbage disposal. The same goes for sweet and mashed potatoes. And while we’re speaking of potatoes…
- Skins/Peels/Rinds: Potato skins are among the worst things you can put down your garbage disposal, as they not only contribute to clogs, they can also become twisted up in the impeller. The same is true of turkey skin, as well as banana peels, pumpkin, and most all types of other fruit rinds, onion skins, and corn husks. These last two are additionally problematic, because they fall into the category of—
- Fibrous Vegetables: Fiber is great for you, but the tough, stringy nature of fibrous foods, found in vegetables for their protection, makes heavy fibers a nightmare for your garbage disposal. Pumpkin, celery, artichokes, asparagus, chard, rhubarb, onion skins, corn husks, kale, and lettuce should all ideally be thrown in the trash can or on the compost heap rather than shoved down the garbage disposal. Because of the stringy material in these vegetables, they can easily tangle up inside your impeller and jam it, resulting in both short-term and long-term problems for your unit.
- Nuts & Shells: Nuts might not seem like a big deal to throw in your garbage disposal, and it is true that for soft nuts, your impeller will be able to grind them fairly easily. However, this grinding process essentially turns your nuts into nut butter, forming a paste which can coat and block your drains. Nutshells, meanwhile, can get stuck in your impeller blades, and in the case of really hard shells, like chestnuts or walnuts, may actually grind the blades down or cause them to break altogether.
- Pits & Seeds: You can think of pits and seeds much the same way you can think of shells when it comes to your garbage disposal. The small ones, like pumpkin seeds, are hard to wash away and can contribute to clogs. Meanwhile, the big ones, like peach pits, can thoroughly destroy your impeller blades.
- Coffee Grounds: You would think that coffee grounds are so small, it would be easy for your garbage disposal to handle them, right? Except that coffee grounds, when combined with water, create a sludge that can form a serious obstruction. To visualize, think about what you see when you take the filter out of your coffee pot, then picture those watered-down grounds stuck in your drain lines. Again, coffee grounds should always go in the garbage or compost heap. Or you can get creative, and use them to fertilize your garden!
- Egg Shells: Pretty much everything we just said about coffee grounds above also applies to eggshells. Although your garage disposal can grind them up easily, the egg membrane often gets wrapped around your disposal impellers, and the tiny pieces of shell can end up as a part of a larger clog that’s much harder to wash away.
- Other Large Food Items: Here’s the bottom line when it comes to your garbage disposal—it’s not a second garbage. Garbage may be in this device’s name, but in truth, your disposal should really only be used to dispose of light food waste. To avoid frustrating clogs this holiday season and to keep your equipment functioning at peak efficiency as long as possible, follow our advice above, and remember to give your garbage disposal a break this Thanksgiving holiday.