John Baethke & Son Plumbing
John Baethke & Son Plumbing
3511 N Cicero Ave
ChicagoIL 60641
 (773) 276-5430

The Do's and Don'ts of Garbage Disposals

The Do's and Don'ts of Garbage Disposals

Unless you want to be calling a plumber to rescue your clogged drain or broken disposal, you might want to think twice about putting certain seemingly harmless solids and liquids in the sink. Even small amounts of the following items can wreak havoc on your garbage disposal quickly.

7 Garbage Disposal No-No's

1. Stringy/fibrous fruits and veggies. What's healthy for the body can be deadly to your garbage disposal due to their tendency to wrap around the blades and lock up the unit. Use an alternate method for disposing of fibrous food residuals, such as celery, corn husks and cobs, carrots, asparagus, onion and garlic skins, egg shells and banana peels.

2. Expanding foods. Soft foods may seem "safe" and starches, in particular, can be highly deceptive. Pasta, beans, rice and potatoes tend to expand in moisture and can leave behind residue that sticks to the disposal blades and attaches to the inside of your pipes. These clogs tend to develop over time but are some of the most challenging and costly to repair.

3. Grease, fats and oils. While many believe that using hot water and soap while running the disposal unit makes grease and oil go down easier, this is a huge misconception. Nothing will clog your pipes quicker than these culprits! 

Avocados, cherries, peaches, grapes and prunes are tasty treats, but their pits are not so kind to garbage disposal units. The pits can actually cause the blades to weaken and break.

4. Coffee grounds. These tiny granules are notorious for sticking and expanding in drains. Avoid putting residue from your morning brew down the sink, taking care to limit yourself to quickly rinsing off leftover grounds after disposing of the bulk in the trash or compost pile.

5. Fruit pits and seeds. Avocados, cherries, peaches, grapes and prunes are tasty treats, but their pits are not so kind to garbage disposal units. The pits can actually cause the blades to weaken and break. Even post-grinding, pieces of the seeds have a tendency to get trapped in the bottom of your pipe's curvature and require the assistance of a plumber to remove.

6. Bones. You're likely to experience the same results with bones as you do with fruit pits. Trust us, it's not a pretty scene!

7. Small utensils. Those little measuring spoons and infant-size utensils can easily go down the disposal, leaving you clueless to their location until you hit the button to activate the unit. That grinding and crunching sound will not only alarm you, but it will alarm your disposal and can cause irreparable damage to the blades. Make sure you keep track of these small items. 

How to Save Your Garbage Disposal

Consider an environmentally friendly drain cleaner as opposed to traditional drain cleaners filled with caustic chemicals, as these can ultimately corrode certain types of plumbing. Vinegar and baking soda also tend to work well for certain types of clogs.

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Composting is an excellent way to rid yourself of many of the hazards listed above. Plus, you get some extra perks — plants love the residuals and Mother Earth appreciates your contribution of nutrients you choose to not consume.

If you're really in a bind, don't hesitate to call us. We can handle any type of plumbing emergency repair on the spot!

Who You Gonna Call? John Baethke!

You can rely on John Baethke & Son and our highly trained team of plumbing experts to handle your Chicago plumbing needs. If you’re experiencing issues with your garbage disposal or a slow or clogged drain, you can call us up 24/7 and have just about any emergency plumbing services handled any time, day or night.

Contact John Baethke & Son at 773-276-5430  for emergencies and additional information, or use the online contact form to schedule routine maintenance and non-emergency plumbing services in Chicago and the surrounding area.