American Elephants


More Than You Wanted to Know About Garbage Disposals. by The Elephant's Child

 

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Late last night, very late, I must have put something I should not have put down in the disposal. Probably lettuce, because we had a big salad for dinner. Got it  unclogged and flowing freely again, but it was clearly time to look up what to put down the disposal and what not to. The Don’t List is long, and includes nothing that is not biodegradable food. Or as someone else said — just put down what you would feed your baby. So why did I buy this appliance?

  • Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
  • Don’t grind anything combustible.
  • Don’t grind cigarette butts
  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes (avoid artichokes like poison), asparagus, carrots Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains .
  • Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.
  • Don’t put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.
  • Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running; this will help the food scraps flow down freely through the drain pipes and plumbing.
  • Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
  • Don’t grind large animal bones (beef, pork etc.), no shrimp shells. Other lists contain even more no-nos.
  • Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They won’t harm the garbage disposal and they’ll actually help eliminate odors. However, they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs. Best to avoid. If you don’t have one, buy one of those little screen covers for the drain that keeps bad things from inadvertently going down.

So what can you actually use the expensive little appliance for? Not much. Sour milk, baby food. You can grind up a lemon or orange and rind to make it smell better. Once a month or more often, freeze some vinegar in an ice cube tray and grind that up. The ice will scour the disposal, and keep the blades sharp.

If, in spite of faithfully following the rules, your disposal still gets clogged, Google or Bing will have specific directions for clearing it, but if you have dumped artichoke leaves in, prepare to buy a new disposal. Been there, done that.

The problem is that those little green waste bags made for your city-supplied little green bin, are made from cornstarch and will instantly dissolve at the merest hint of moisture. Things like coffee grounds do make wonderful compost. If you live in a house, buy a small or build a large compost bin. Coffee shops are often happy to have you take used coffee grounds off their hands. If you live in an apartment, there’s no hope. You just have to cope. Consider this my good deed for the day.


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I think Facebook may be censoring this website. Not sure, but my posting didn’t arrive at FB.

Comment by alkidya




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