Foods you should never put in the garbage disposal, according to plumbers

(NEXSTAR) – As tempting as it may be, don’t throw all your food waste in the trash, sanitation professionals say.

In a viral TikTok video posted on October 18, employees at Prime Plumbing in Baltimore, Maryland, revealed what you should never put in your kitchen appliance — causing quite a stir in the comments section.

To be fair, the company said that “some answers may surprise you.”

One plumber said chicken bones were a big no-no, which wasn’t too shocking. Some of the less obvious foods his colleagues mentioned included rice, potatoes and eggshells.

“I was always told that eggshells are cleaned and blades are sharpened,” one user wrote.

The company responded in another video that this was a myth and suggested throwing them in a compost bin instead.

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Other plumbers in the original video joked that you should avoid putting food in this part of the kitchen sink altogether. This prompted another commenter to ask, “Then why is there a garbage disposal?”

A 2020 Consumer Reports article explained that the term “garbage disposal” is misleading because it doesn’t apply to all types of waste. Even though the blades can chop up almost anything, there may be problems with the plumbing depending on the type of food being disposed of.

Experts told Consumer Reports that fats, oils and fats should never go into the disposal.

David Duest, director of the Deer Island Treatment Plant in Boston, said these fluids could eventually solidify and clog the water system.

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Large amounts of starchy foods and fibrous vegetables (such as celery, corn husks, and asparagus) can also cause constipation.

Although eggshells may seem harmless, they do not decompose quickly. If you continue to throw them in the disposal, these pieces can build up over time and clog the drain. According to experts, this can also happen with coffee grounds and shellfish.

So what can you throw away?

Georgia-based Trinity Plumbing noted on its website that citrus peels, cooked meat scraps (no large bones), wet canned dog or cat food and virtually all fruit are safe.

The company said disposals can take about 10 years if proper care is taken.

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