One of these we know from experience, a few years ago our Thanksgiving preparations nearly came to a halt because of it.

WHAT IS PROBABLY THE WORST THING TO RUN DOWN DISPOSAL?

We're going to say potato skins, or rinds, in this case, from sweet potatoes. When peeling taters, you usually use that double-bladed skinner device, it's like whittling a piece of wood, and the skin comes right off.

But don't jam them down the disposal, even a few at a time. The rind or hide of potatoes is so fibrous or tough, it simply won't dissolve like most foods.

  WHAT HAPPENS TO GARBAGE DISPOSAL WITH RINDS?

It jams the outlet pipe that runs to the drain, and you end up with a mess in the sink. Even if you unplug the unit and scoop them out, there's still some in the drain.

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 WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM?

Scoop out as much of the skins as you can AFTER unplugging the disposal. IF you can disconnect the pipe under the sink at the disposal and dig out residue.  If that's not an option, mix up vinegar and baking soda in a measuring cup. Pour into sink...wait for it to foam up and bubble, then run the unit (plug it back in) This mixture sometimes magically will help clear the unit.

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In no particular order, here's the REST of what you shouldn't run.

  • Eggshells.  Like potato rinds they're hard to break up. They will eventually shatter but the small fragments can clump together especially if there's grease and other gook inside the unit, and cause plugs. Plus, it's hard on the blades.
  • Grease.   We have to resist the temptation when the turkey is done to empty the leftover juice and grease (what we don't use to make gravy) down the drain. When hot it flows great. But over time, even after a few dumps over the holiday, it clings to pipes like plaque in your ateries. Causes more plugs and quickly globs pipes.
  • Coffee Grounds. Hmmm...a lot of folks didn't know this one.  The blades can grind them down, but they combine with water and create a thick pasty goo.  Look inside coffee maker after making a pot, and that's what clings to pipes inside drain system. When dry, they rapidly clog pipes.
  • Nuts and Seeds.    We left turkey and other bones off this list because it's rather obvious.  They can break the blades. But unused nuts, seeds and other snacks are turned into a thick 'butter like' substance when mixed with water in the disposal.  They stick to pipe walls and grab other foods and make pipes clog faster.

Most plumbers will tell you that garbage disposals are for light-duty food grinding, stuff that easily disintegrates.   Be careful what you run down there, and STAY AWAY from potato skins, or fibrous vegetables. They WILL jam it faster than you can say "turn off the Lions football game, they're terrible!"  

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 Click here for the rest of the top 10 things to not run down the disposal.

 

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