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List of things never to put down your garbage disposal in San Antonio - Especially Hair!

Things You Should Never Stuff Down Your Garbage Disposal – And What To Do When You Get Hair Caught In Your Sink Disposal.

Let’s get to talkin’ trash…. well, garbage as in garbage disposals or sink disposals. People in San Antonio love cooking at home. With any good home cooking comes quite a bit of trimmings of meat, vegtables, fruit and more that end up in the sink. Believe it or not, some homes in San Antonio in the year 2022 just don’t have sink disposals just as some homes in Europe don’t have garbage disposals installed under their sinks. But the majority of homes in America actually do have sink disposals installed and they are used several times a day for most average families.

When sink disposals were invented decades ago, they solved a problem for homemakers who had their hands full with making dinner and doing dishes for their families. Sink clogs were quite common and families across America were plunging their hearts out several times a week to keep their plumbing and drains flowing.

The truth is, we were never supposed to deliberately stuff things down our garbage disposals. They were meant only to grind up things that “accidentally” fell into the drain. So where did Americans get the impression to stuff things down their garbage disposals to begin with?!?

Over 90 years ago John W. Hammes, an architect invented the first garbage disposal. And they weren’t invented for residential homes at first.

InSinkErator manufactured garbage disposals for hospital ships during WWII. After the war, they were introduced to the residential market with more than a dozen competitors advertising their products such as GE and Sears. Commercials on TV and radio flooded the market and it quickly became a compeition between brands. Brands on TV would demonstrate how powerful their brand was versus competitor brands. On most of those commercials, brands would show off by dumping a dozen hard boiled eggs down the sink disposal or a whole stalk of celery, just to demonstrate the power their brand had. Commercials like this persisted well into the 1980’s. This is what gave people the impression that as long as they had a sink disposal, they could put anything that would fit in that hole down the drain.

Here at Air & Plumbing Today, we get a TON of calls for kitchen sink clogs and almost 100% of those calls were not only preventable, they were clogs produced from things that should never go down your drain, ever. Let’s go through a list of things you should never put down your garbage disposal:

Chicken Bones
They’ll just keep spinning around and around with the blades. And if you’re lucky enough to get them down, they definitely won’t make it down the drain pipes.

Celery, Asparagus & Corn Husks
My dentist loves celery because it’s food with built-in dental floss. The fibrous strings tend to tangle around your disposal’s blades. This same rule applies to asparagus and corn husks.

Coffee grounds
Coffee grounds are deceptive. They appear to go down easy, but really they’re going to pile up and cause a sludgy, sediment-like mess in your drain.

Egg shells
There’s a bit of argument on this one. Some people say they’re totally safe for the disposal and actually help to sharpen your disposal’s blades; while others believe the shells’ membrane lining can stick to the sides of the disposal and wrap around the shredder, wreaking lots of havoc.

Fruit pits
Have you ever tried to cut through a peach pit or avocado seed? Yeah, that’s just not gonna happen.

Grease and oil might not even make it into the disposal and will likely clog up your pipes instead. That’s just not pretty. This includes leftover grease from cooking such as bacon grease, burger grease, steak renderings, meat fat trimmings from chicken, pork, beef, lamb and even the occasional buffalo. “If it’s fatty, throw it in the trashy.”

Meat-Based Sauces
If you’ve just had spaghetti and meatballs and your guests had leftovers with sauce, don’t pour that leftover sauce in your garbage disposal. The grease in that sauce will separate and cause a nice clog. It may be days before you notice but when it happens, you’ll be regretting it.

Rope, Spaghetti, ziti, linguine, fusilli, angel hair, whatever you like you sauce up always expands when exposed to water, even after you’ve fully cooked it. So whether you have a garbage disposal or not, you shouldn’t dump it down the drain, where it’ll swell and either fill the disposal trap or cause even bigger problems. Ditto for rice.

Potato peels
These tuber-skins can cause a soupy mess in your disposal down the road—even if you think you can get away with dumping them down the drain from time to time. The same goes for other starchy vegetables and beans. None of these things will disolve – they only accumulate over time within your pipes and cause clogs.

Rice isn’t nice. A plumber should suffice.
Rice doesn’t dissolve in water either. It just gets bigger and expands. Clogs of rice are quite common in San Antonio. Some of which are just past the disposal in your sink trap and others that accumulate a tough clog in your underground sewer line. Old rice belongs in the trash, not in your pipes. If you call us for a rice clog, we’re gonna tell you now, it’s gonna take more than a “minute” to unclog that Minute Rice.

This is the hairy part of our conversation but hair gets trapped in garbage disposals more than you think. People find themselves disposing of hair in their kitchen sink after a hair cut or after dying their hair in the kitchen sink of all places. Long hair entangles garbage disposals and causes them to clog. Hair also goes in the trash. And after dying your hair, it’s best to rinse your melon in the shower where the drain is better designed to capture your long locks before they cause a clog.

If hair gets caught in your sink disposal, it can cause clogs and potentially damage the disposal unit. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safely remove hair from a sink disposal:

Safety First:
Turn Off the Disposal: Before doing anything, make sure the disposal is turned off. If possible, unplug it or turn off the circuit breaker that powers the disposal. This will prevent any accidental activation while you’re working.

Never Insert Your Hand: Even when the disposal is turned off, it’s dangerous to put your hand inside. The blades are sharp and can cause injury.

Steps to Remove Hair from Sink Disposal:
Use Pliers or Tongs: With the disposal turned off, use needle-nose pliers or tongs to carefully reach in and pull out the hair. This will likely remove a majority of the hair.

Use a Flashlight: Shine a flashlight into the disposal to see if there’s any hair or debris left. If there is, continue using the pliers or tongs to remove it.

Disposal Brush or an Old Toothbrush: If there’s hair stuck to the sides or difficult-to-reach places, you can use a sink disposal brush or an old toothbrush to scrub and dislodge it. Again, ensure the disposal is turned off during this process.

Run Cold Water and Turn on the Disposal: After you’ve removed as much hair as possible, run cold water and turn on the disposal to flush out any remaining particles. The cold water helps solidify any greasy substances, making them easier for the disposal to chop up.

Natural Cleaning Solution: If you suspect there’s still some residue or if you want to freshen up the disposal, consider using a natural cleaning solution. Mix equal parts of baking soda and vinegar (e.g., one cup of each) and pour it into the disposal. Let it fizz and sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with cold water while running the disposal.

Preventative Measures: Consider using a sink strainer to prevent hair and other large particles from entering the disposal in the future.

If the Disposal Still Isn’t Working:
Reset Button: Most garbage disposals have a reset button, usually located at the bottom of the unit. If the disposal is not functioning or making a humming sound, try pressing this button after ensuring the disposal is turned off.

Check for Jams: Sometimes, larger pieces of debris can jam the disposal blades. Most disposals come with a wrench (hex key) that can be inserted into a slot at the bottom of the unit. With the power off, insert the wrench and try turning it back and forth. This can help dislodge any jams.

Seek Professional Help: If you’ve tried the steps above and the disposal still isn’t working or if you’re not comfortable attempting these measures, it’s best to call a professional plumber with Air & Plumbing Today who offers free estimates and no diagnostic fee 7 days a week!

Remember, always prioritize safety when working with electrical appliances and sharp objects like a garbage disposal.

The expert plumbers at Air & Plumbing Today aren’t here to scold you or to judge you if you call us for any of the above clogs. We’re here to clear your pipes and keep your home’s plumbing running strong. We will give you some tips to prevent clogs while we’re there – but we’ve seen it all! Call us at 210-519-5959 today.


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