5 Things That Can't Go in the Garbage Disposal

You're asking for a disaster in the kitchen if you poke leftovers down the garbage disposal. This mixture...

You're asking for a disaster in the kitchen if you poke leftovers down the garbage disposal. This mixture of chunky foods may appear to be whisked away, until water starts gurgling up and into the sink. You've got a clog! Want to avoid another stinky back-up in the kitchen drain? Steer clear of these drain-clogging foods. (And, only use the disposal to get rid of crumbs, small scraps and sauces!)

1. Saturated fats
Southern cooking is all about being rich and decadent. But, butter, margarine, fat trimmings from meats and bacon grease can wreak havoc on your disposal. Although they might seem soft and melted on your dinner plate, when they cool, fats congeal and stick to the walls of the drain pipes. Over time saturated fats build up and make it difficult for water and waste to pass. Instead, dispose of fats in the garbage can. If it's hot--like bacon drippings--pour it over absorbent paper towels and let it cool before disposing in the trash can.

2. Potato peels
The starchy juices from potato peelings make them extra sticky. Although it seems simple to peel potatoes over the sink, then wash them down the garbage disposal, don't do it! Potato peels tend to clump together and create a massive blockage. Next time you're making a sweet potato pie or a batch of mashed potatoes, peel the potatoes into a bowl and toss the peelings into a compost pile or the waste can.

3. Pasta, rice and dried beans
If you have a tendency to measure starchy food over the sink before tossing them into a pot of boiling water, it's time to break the habit. When dry noodles, rice, lentils, beans or quinoa go down the sink drain and sit in the garbage disposal they swell each time moisture is added and the disposal isn't turned on. This can cause a clog in no time.

4. Stringy vegetables
Soft fruits and small cooked vegetables are a piece of cake for most disposals. But stringy produce such as celery, corn husks and asparagus simply get tangled in the blades. It's best to toss these vegetable scraps into the garbage or recycle them into garden mulch.

5. Large bones
After enjoying a rack of Southern BBQ ribs or a ham steak, don't try to wash the bones down the disposal. These thick, sturdy bones are no match for the slender disposal blades. However, it is safe to grind small, soft bones such as leftover chicken wings or fish bones.

Is your garbage disposal clogged? Give a plumber in Atlanta a call to professionally remove the blockage without damaging the garbage disposal.

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