Anything that will fit through the hole of course.
Whether it will devour all possibilities is another question.....
Seriously though, it's best not to consider your garbage disposal as a
substitute for the kitchen garbage can. Grinding up evrything that happens
to be in or near the sink will just shorten its useful life and, if your
drain system is a little bit wimpy, can cause more drain clogs than
It's best to let the garbage disposal do just the bits of food washed off
dishes by hand or by your dishwasher, Don't stuff it full of corncobs or
potato peels just because it's there.
Short of metal and lemon sized rocks, there isn't much a garbage disposal
can't handle, though large bones will take quite a while to disappear and
are best tossed to the family dog.
They will even handle glass quite nicely. When I was a kid and garbage
disposals were just coming into the market (circa 1950), The salesmen at
home shows would demonstrate the "power" of the garbage disposals they were
selling by dropping glass marbles into them (without water) and letting us
assembled gawkers see ground glass trickling from the drain outlet a few
May the new year bring you a clean bill of health from your dentist, your
cardiologist, your gastro-entomologist, your urologist, your proctologist,
your podiatrist, your psychiatrist, your plumber and the I.R.S.
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"If you can smile when things are going wrong, you've thought of someone to
I have a policy of taking DAYS to clear drains clogged by using the
disposal instead of the can for inappropriate things... like shrimp
It's the only way you can disposal-train a woman ;-)
| James E.Thompson, P.E. | mens |
| Analog Innovations, Inc. | et |
I'd add artichoke anything to that list. Add shrimp shells a few at a
time... I stay away from anything really fibrous. I don't add bones.
I hear from my male friends that I followed all the traditional bad
behavior of cramming too much stuff into the disposer and that was true
until DH gave up on cleaning or fixing the disposer & left the job up to
me. I replaced the last disposer myself. I am much gentler with it now.
Hmm- I do a banana peel every morning. It has an orange peel with
it most mornings- and never more than a single peel. It might also
bee joined by some half-bowls of cereal or stuff from the frig.
No problems [with banana peels] in over a year.
No silverware. No artichoke leaves. No corn shucks. Peanut shells?
Jeff's advice is right on target. I would add that leftover food
designed for (entire) human consumption is probably safe -- tunafish
dip, moldy spaghetti sauce, limp leftover salad. Not bones. "Garbage
disposal" doesn't mean shoving all the trash down the drain.
Don't put "objects" into the disposal at all-- if they can be
identified as objects, they can go in the trash or onto the compost
Hmm-- lets go the other way. Things you *shouldn't* put in there.
Marbles explode & throw glass back at you. [Those little flat glass
things that go in flower posts don't seem to explode as bad, but they
make an awful sound. I try to avoid getting hard sharp things in
Some sort of melon I got once had a fibrous rind & it just shredded
into rope which promptly clogged up my drain. I stick to soft
rinds for the disposal these days.
Tough beef does the same 'turn into rope' thing.
Bacon grease is very liquid until it gets below the sink in those cold
areas. Then it turns to lard- and solidifies. Makes a good drain
clogger. I keep all meats out of mine now.
All good moves!
I moonlight at a restaurant, and there's a bigass
(technical term) one in the dishwasher's work sink, and I
still laugh when I remember my boss telling me the
can/can't rule of thumb: It will ground up a small animal,
but you can choke it to death with a handfull of SipStiks
Translation: NOTHING that breaks up into "long and
Baisez-les s'ils ne peuvent pas prendre une plaisanterie
I learned a long time ago that disposals are the bane of plumbing.
Especially older plumbing.
I keep mesh strainers over both kitchen drains and empty them when cooking.
What ever you put down them make sure it is not meat, stringy or fibrous.
Sort of defeats the purpose once you think about it.
Once you do put it on your sink, if you haven't already, I've heard that a
tray of ice once a month cleans the blades.
Don't put things down there, just the scraps of food from plates and such.
Think of it as a scrap grinder, not a disposer of garbage.
During my days as a plumbing full-timer at Payless Cashways, I had the
Insinkerator rep tell me that you could put in anything softer than a car
bumper (his words). What I told my customers is the same thing everyone
else has posted: just because it WILL grind up a ham bone doesn't mean it
SHOULD grind up a ham bone.
It's easier to say what NOT to put, and that depends on the region. Here (New
Orleans) crab and shrimp shells are guaranteed to wreak havoc. Artichokes too.
Most people say not to pour hot grease down the disposal. Ask your female
relatives and friends,too, and you'll get a list longer than Paradise Lost.
A last, depressing note (from one of the plumbers who pulled crab shells, etc.
from my backed-up disposal): garbage disposals are not really made to dispose
of serious garbage. They'd be too expensive. When in doubt, put the object in
the compost barrel or trash bin.
In many locales, disposers are unlawful! At the very least, your city water
treatment department has a brochure explaining that disposers must not be
Disposers CAN grind up a lot of stuff that does not belong in your household
waste pipes or the sewer system, especially grease, egg shells, shrimp
shells, and chunks of food that could have gone in the trash. Think of the
disposer as a drain unclogger, not a garbage dump.
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