You’ve finished dinner and just want to get the dishes out of the way and relax. And there’s just not enough spaghetti left in the pot to save for tomorrow so … the big question. What should I do with the leftovers? Should I walk it out to the garbage bin so it doesn’t stink up the house overnight? Should I just leave it in the pan till morning and risk an infestation of flies? Or should I throw it down the garbage disposal?
The garbage disposal unit is a good answer in many cases, but there are definitely foods that, if put down the sink, may make a call to your favorite New Orleans, LA drain cleaning service necessary. Here are some common food culprits that you should avoid putting down the drain.
- Fats and oils: While fats and oils may make it past your disposal unit, they tend to harden as they cool and the hardened grease sticks to the sides of the pipes causing massive backups. The hardened substance can also attract other non-biodegradable products, like wet naps and kleenex, which attach to the oil and create giant masses of solid waste in the sewage system called fatbergs. In 2018, New York City spent $19 million on fatberg remediation, and in 2017 in Baltimore, sewage overflow from a giant fatberg caused untreated sewage to pour into surrounding bodies of water, contaminating the local drinking water. A 40-tonne mass the size of a double-decker bus, was hand cleared from the sewers in London over the course of weeks in 2019. The huge mass, made up of fat, grease, and other materials, at some points took up 80% of the sewer’s capacity. These disgusting buildups can cause major flooding in businesses and New Orleans, LA homes and also present a danger to workers who need to go into the sewer to clean them up.
- Grains: Foods like cereals, oats, and rice should never be disposed of in your sink. As these foods mix with water, they expand becoming waterlogged and clog up your drains making a call to your drain cleaning service necessary.
- Starchy foods: Potatoes and pasta like to stick together in gelatinous balls which can get stuck in the unit or further down the pipes and cause a slow-down in flow and eventually a clogged drain.
- Hard scraps like bones and fruit pits: Hard scraps can cause damage to the blades of your disposal unit. If they do get past the garbage disposal, they will catch other waste, block your drain and clog your sink, often making a call to your drain cleaning service a necessity. Further down the sewage system, they can also contribute to the creation of fatbergs.
- Coffee grounds: Contrary to popular belief, these do not help clean your system. Similar to the gooey mass they create in the coffee maker basket, grounds will mass up inside your garbage disposal and pipes causing blockages.
- Eggshells: Eggshells themselves are not a problem, but the membrane just inside the shell can adhere to the blades of your unit and cause them to not spin properly. This can damage the garbage disposal motor.
- Fibrous fruits and vegetables: Drain cleaning services will tell you that stringy fruits and vegetables like rhubarb, celery, pumpkin and banana skins are a major cause of problems. They become tangled in your blades, slowing the spinning ability and damaging the motor.
So, what can you do with leftover food and avoid a call to your drain cleaning service? Here’s some ideas:
- Pour them into sealable bags and keep in your freezer until garbage day. That way, they won’t be stinking up your fridge until the truck arrives.
- Compost them. If your city doesn’t have a compost program, consider making or buying a compost bin and start turning your scraps into rich garden soil. There are lots of good videos from drain cleaning services online that can show you how to do this. You’ll not only be cutting down the buildup at the dump; you’ll be giving your soil back the nutrients it needs to provide a healthy home for next year’s garden.
- Use an empty can or milk carton to collect any fat products you need to throw away. You can use the grease for things like lighting your bonfire or greasing your chainsaw.
- Work towards repurposing food whenever possible. Veggie peels and scraps, for example, can be used in stocks and soups, and fried rice and omelets can be even tastier with a few unexpected ingredients. It’s estimated that the average American household throws away about $1,500 worth of good food every year.
Some regular maintenance can help avoid calls to the drain cleaning service. Always run cold water when the unit is operating. Don’t overload the system, fully grind food before turning off the unit and clean regularly. Running ice cubes and a small amount of dish detergent can help keep the blades clean and the garbage disposal smelling fresh.
In spite of our attempts to keep the garbage disposal unit running well, however, sometimes problems just happen. And that’s when you need to call in a good drain cleaning service.
Qualified plumbers at bluefrog Home Services of New Orleans, LA are available 24 hours a day. With fully stocked trucks so they can fix almost any problem on the spot, bluefrog Home Services of New Orleans guarantees that they will arrive on time and will even pay you for every minute they’re late. And they back up their work, offering a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Besides being a reliable drain cleaning service provider, bluefrog Home Services of New Orleans has highly trained, licensed, and qualified professionals to provide repairs, remodels, installations, and maintenance. Call bluefrog Home Services of New Orleans for all your plumbing needs!