What Not to Put Down Your Kitchen Sink. The Do’s and Don’ts for your kitchen drain
Your drain and garbage disposal have an important function in your home. While the disposal grinds any food waste, the drain is needed to carry them away. If you want to maintain your kitchen sink so that it can complete this process smoothly, you need to learn the do’s and don’ts of what should never put down your kitchen sink. Abusing your disposal and drain could lead to leaks, poorly performing drains, serious back-ups, flooding and other plumbing problems.
Do Run the Tap
When you are using your disposal, do run cold water to help the grinding process. You should allow the water to run for approximately a minute after you have finished grinding, to help clear any remaining debris. This may not be practical with California’s current drought and water shortage however… which is all the more reason not to use your disposal as a trash can.
Don’t Forget FOG
FOG or fats, oil, and grease are a massive no-no for your drains and disposal. As these substances cool, they solidify inside the drain and cause an obstruction. Use an old jar or coffee can to throw these greasy substances in the trash. You will need to wait for the fat or oil to cool before you pour it into the container. Wipe out the pan or dish with paper towels, to minimize the grease when washing. If you are concerned about leaks in your trash, seal the jar or can before placing it in a plastic bag and tying it shut.
Don’t Throw Stringy, Fibrous or Starchy Foods in the Disposal…
These foods are difficult for your disposal to chew, and they are likely to get tangled around the blades. Pasta can be especially problematic as it expands when in contact with water and is a gluey starch, so it will continue to swell inside the drain. This can result in a sticky accumulation in the drain; that will attract particles of debris and gradually block the pipe.
Don’t Grind Eggshells, Bones or Fruit Pits
These items are hard to grind and can actually damage your garbage disposal. Fruit pits such as avocado stones, peach pits or cherry stones can jam the disposal and damage the blades. With the exception of fish, bones tend to get caught up in the disposal, jamming the flywheel.
Do Think Food vs. Non Food
Your garbage disposal was designed to grind up food particles, so you need to consider if you are about to put a non-food item down the drain. Although you may consider that paper wrappers, Styrofoam containers, cigarette butts and plastic wrappers are soft enough for your disposal, THEY ARE NOT. Even if your disposal can grind some non-food items, they are not likely to break down in your sewer system properly. You may find that non-food items will get caught up in the drain or pipe bend, causing an obstruction leading to a plumbing service call.
Do Remember to ALWAYS Clean
One of the most important aspects of keeping your kitchen sink working well is proper cleaning. When you are cleaning your kitchen and freshening up your fridge, give your disposal some attention. You can deodorize your disposal with baking soda. All you need to do is run the hot water and slowly pour in baking soda. Allow the water to keep running until all traces of the baking soda are gone.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solutions.