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Which Foods to Avoid Putting in the Garbage Disposal

Sacramento Plumbing Tips: Which Foods to Avoid Putting in the Garbage Disposal

The piping system in every home is complicated and connects to a central water treatment plant. Putting the wrong foods down the drain can contribute to clogs that may affect a single home or the community at large. If you need any plumbing needs, make sure to speak to a trained plumber in Sacramento to help with your household piping needs.

Putting the wrong foods down the drain may also negatively impact the environment. It’s important to understand how plumbing works in order to minimize the damage done to one’s own property as well as the environment. Plumbing problems can be very expensive. Restricting what you put down the drain can help reduce maintenance costs. Be sure not to put the following foods down the drain, even in sinks with macerating garbage disposals.


Though it easily goes down the drain while a hot liquid, grease can clog up your pipes once it cools and solidifies. Even if it makes it through the complicated and unseen pipes snaking behind your walls, it can create what is called a “fatberg” at the sewer level. A “fatberg” is an accumulation of fat that can cause serious damage to the larger plumbing arteries of a community. A 10-ton “fatberg” was found in the sewers of London in 2013. It cost the sewer company over $500,000 to repair the 1940s piping.

Some foods that can cause these problems include:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Salad dressing
  • Butter
  • Cooking oils and fats
  • The fat from cooked meats such as ground beef, bacon, pork, etc.

Instead of dumping it down the drain, use an empty can to collect the grease. It can even be kept in the refrigerator or freezer for later cooking use. Some oil is likely to go down the drain. In that case, run the water at its hottest temperature and squirt some dish soap down the drain.

Egg Shells

Eggshells consist of a hard outer layer and inner membrane. The eggshells are hard on the blades in garbage disposals and don’t completely break down, even with the use of the disposal. These shell fragments can aggregate with other food items and contribute to blocking the pipes in your kitchen. The inner membrane can wrap around the blades in the garbage disposal, slowing the motor until it burns out.

Coffee Grounds

Along with grease and oils, coffee grounds are among the worst contributors to plumbing problems. Coffee grounds don’t break down and, like eggshells, can contribute to a clog in the pipes. Though they aren’t harmful to the garbage disposal, it’s better to throw coffee grounds away or put them in the compost instead of putting them down the drain.

Expandable Foods

Foods such as rice, pasta, and potato peels can expand in pipes, leading to blockage. Even in sinks with macerator disposals, these foods should be thrown away or composted instead of flushing them down the drain. It can be helpful to install a grate to catch these food particles for an easy cleanup.


When flour mixes with water, it creates a goo that can create blockage by sticking to the side of the pipes and collecting other food particles as they pass.

Produce Stickers

Produce stickers often fall off when washing fruits and vegetables, but they can be damaging to kitchen sink pipes. They often have a thin layer of plastic as well as adhesive, neither of which are water-soluble and won’t dissolve in the sink. Because they won’t dissolve, they can get stuck in the grease in household pipes or block screens and clog pumps and hoses at the local water treatment center.

Fibrous Foods

Foods with stringy, fibrous textures, such as celery and asparagus, are very difficult for garbage disposals to break down. These foods should never be put down the drain as the fibers can wrap around the blades in the waste disposal unit and create blockage or burn out the motor. They should be chopped very finely before being put down the drain or thrown away or composted.


Seeds and nuts are very firm and are difficult to be ground up by the kitchen sink’s disposal unit. This includes seeds inside fruits, such as apple seeds or the stones in fruit such as peaches. These should be thrown away instead of washed down the sink drain.

It’s imperative you avoid putting any of the above foods down your garbage disposal. If a backlog of these items have created plumbing issues in your home, make sure to contact a plumber in Sacramento immediately for help.

Call a Plumber in Sacramento For Your Garbage Disposal Needs

Clarke & Rush has over 50 years handling plumbing needs of all sorts. Whether you need to fix your piping due to clogged garbage disposals or need other maintenance work, give us a call at (916) 609-2669 to speak to a plumber in Sacramento.

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