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Put Your Garbage Disposal on a Diet!

Garbage disposalWe've all asked the question. Maybe it popped into your head while you were looking at a pile of peels and scraps from dinner prep, or as you held a forgotten box of leftovers. Even the best of us has to wonder when rolling up our sleeves to tackle a stack of party plates:

Can't I just stuff it all down the garbage disposal?

If you care about the health of your garbage disposal, the answer is, of course, NO. To keep your garbage disposal running at its best, you should be choosy about what goes into it.

Unlike a blender, which uses whirling blades to chop up food, a garbage disposal consists of a spinning plate called an impeller, and a grind ring or shredder. The impeller uses centrifugal force to fling waste against the grind ring, pulverizing it into particles which can then pass through small holes in the ring. Watch this InSinkErator(R) video for an illustration.

Exactly what your disposal can handle depends on your model, but there are a few types of foods that you may want to avoid. Some cause immediate problems, like blockages that can burn out your motor. Others create unnecessary wear and tear that can shorten the life of your equipment.

Jam hazards: Thick bones, fruit pits, hard shells from shellfish (or coconuts), unpopped popcorn kernels, and large quantities or large chunks of otherwise disposal-safe food

Cumulative cloggers: Fat, including grease, oil and lard; fibrous things like artichokes, corn husks and cobs, celery and banana peels; starchy items like rice, pasta and potato peels; sticky things like gum and onion skins; and gritty materials like egg shells and coffee grounds

Consult your owner's manual for more guidelines, but the best rule is the simplest: When in doubt, throw it out or compost it to be more environment-friendly!

Did you find this article too late?  Call ARS®/Rescue Rooter® at 1-800-277-9400 or visit if you need to repair or replace your garbage disposal or have any plumbing problems.

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