You can put down most food scraps, but keep in mind, whatever you put down the disposer needs to make it through the drain lines of the house to the sewer or septic system. If the food items are large, cut them into smaller pieces to help this process and to avoid blockages.
Most manufacturers suggest that you don’t grind fibrous food waste items such as corn husks, potato peels, or other fibrous foods. Too much fibrous material will take a long time to grind and could clog the disposer or the plumbing. Hard items (such shell fish shells) will cause the shredder blades to dull and work inefficiently.
Here’s a handy list of items not to throw down your garbage disposer:
- Corn husks
- Banana peels
- Shellfish shells (from shrimp and crab)
- Egg shells
- Coffee grounds
- Cigarette butts
- Flower clippings
- Rubber bands
- Bottle caps
- Fruit pits (cherry pits, avocado seeds, etc)
Always run cold water while using the disposal to keep the parts of your disposer from overheating. The cold water also helps to flush out the waste materials from the disposer and through the pipes of your home. Do not use hot water as it can melt fat which can then resolidify in other parts of your pipes resulting in blockages.
Over time, sludge, scum, and grease can build up. Use an approved disposer cleaner such as Disposal Magic to clean and deodorize your disposer.
You can also use vinegar or the peels of citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, and lime. A good idea is to freeze pieces small pieces citrus fruit peels (make sure the fruit is not rotten) to use for cleaning. Ice and other frozen material do not sharpen the blades, as commonly believed, but they do help knock off pieces of food and other rotting materials, preventing odors from developing in your disposer.
For more repair help for your garbage disposer, visit the Repair Section of APWagner.com. Order garbage disposal parts online including flange and stopper items for garbage disposers, disposal drain kits and switches.