We addressed the causes of some of the most common sink drain clogs and what to do about them in our previous blog post. Today, we want to talk about preventing kitchen drain clogs altogether. Kitchen sink clogs come in many forms. And if you have a garbage disposal, you’re even more likely to run into this problem.
“What?” You might be thinking, “shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
Well, yes. Technically, garbage disposal use should make it less likely that you’ll develop kitchen sink clogs. After all, they’re there for you when you have unfinished meals, kitchen scraps, and even spoiling leftovers that you don’t want stinking up your trash can and your home. But it’s the dependence on these systems that gets some homeowners into trouble.
Think about it—have you ever been frustrated by a garbage disposal that seems to keep jamming up? Or maybe you’ve had to call in a plumber one too many times, to pull something out of the mechanism to get it to work again. Perhaps you just want to check up on what items do and do not belong in your disposal system. The latter is what we’re going to get into below—following these garbage disposal tips will help you fend off many types of kitchen sink clogs (and we’ll get to even more ways later on):
Anything That’s Not Food Belongs in the Garbage Can, Not the Disposal
As plumbers, we’ve come to discover that not everyone realizes a garbage disposal is never, ever to be used for trash—nonfood items, that is. Part of this is because people don’t actually know how garbage disposals function. You may picture it functioning a lot like a blender, with sharp blades rotating around to chop up food, but this isn’t the case.
Rather, your garbage disposal uses a motor that powers impeller “blades”—not sharp blades but rather blades that are controlled by high centrifugal force in order to break up food. This is why things like plastic, paper, and food wrappers won’t work in the disposal system—some may slip through the cracks and into your drain, but then you’re looking at risks for your sewer line.
Hard Food Items Should be Thrown Away
We’re talking things like meat bones and fruit pits. Since your garbage disposal system grinds down food before sending them down the drains, it won’t be very effective on these types of materials. Think of it this way—if you aren’t able to chew it with your teeth, it doesn’t belong in the garbage disposal.
Other Items Bad for Your Drains
Whether you have a garbage disposal system or not, there are a few other items to be aware of that could cause and exacerbate kitchen sink clogs. This includes:
- Pasta, Rice, or Coffee Grounds: Pretty much any foodstuff that expands with water can create clogs and backups in your drains. You should avoid putting these items down the drain as a result. True, if you have a garbage disposal system you’ll certainly be able to bypass it with these items, but that doesn’t mean they can’t clump together and form a clog after making their way through the disposal.
- Fats, Oils, and Grease: Also known as FOG, fats, oils, and grease congeal as they cool, forming a sticky, stubborn residue on the inside of your pipes. This can absolutely create a clog and restrict the flow of water. When you have FOG left after cooking, the best thing you can take is collect it in a tin can or some other disposable container, then after the FOG cools, get rid of it.