It’s never usually a good idea to put food down the kitchen sink. It can clog the drain pipes and cause some definite headaches, such as getting out a plumber to fix it. But if you happen to have a garbage disposal unit installed under your kitchen sink, then you can safely dispose of food waste and know that it won’t clog anything up.

What About Potato Peels?

These days, garbage disposal units are a lot more efficient than they were. For the most part, you can safely dispose of most foods but there’s one thing that you should never put down there: potato peels.

As good as modern units are, potato peels are something of a unique case. The peels might not be tough or difficult to cut but the amount of starch contained in potatoes presents a real challenge to those drain pipes.

Nature’s Glue

If you’ve ever handled craft glue, you’ll have some idea of what lots of wet starch can do. Potato peels contain plenty of it and when you put them down the kitchen sink, it mixes with all of the water and forms a paste. Over time, it’s this thick paste that will clog up the garbage disposal unit and cause plenty of headaches.

Garbage disposal units are a real convenience. Their sharp little blades are able to dissect and mash up most foods so that they can safely drain away and then be disposed of later. But all of that starch will eventually get into and around the blades and clog them up.

The other problem is that as effective as those blades are, slivers of potato peel might actually make it through intact and cause even more stuff to clog up. The peels will start to block the drain and the starch will form a natural glue that gums things up.

It’s not easy to get rid of clogs in drains by yourself. There are, of course, products on the market that claim to do so but many of these are based on harsh, dangerous chemicals that are probably better not put down any sink.

What to Do with Those Peels?

Rather than wash away the potato peels in your kitchen sink, the best thing to do is make sure they are put into a separate bowl when peeling. This way, you can easily toss them out in the garbage or simply put them into a separate bag for throwing out later. Doing this will save your garbage disposal and save you headaches.

How to Get Rid of Clogs

If your garbage disposal is clogged up with potato peels or something else, you might not want to call out a plumber. In this case, there are a few things that you can do to try and fix it yourself:

  • Use a flashlight to find where the clog is and what it is, ensuring that the disposal unit is turned off first
  • Always use tongs to try and remove any peel or clog so that you don’t injure your hand on the sharp blades of the garbage disposal unit
  • Once this is done, drain water down the sink to see if this will dislodge any remaining clog

If the garbage disposal unit is still not working or the clog is still present and causing problems, you may need to call in a plumber or technician to have a look.

Looking After Your Garbage Disposal Unit

As efficient as modern garbage disposal units are, there are definitely some things that you should not do, including:

  • Apart from potato peels, you should also never put anything solid in the unit, such as plastic, metal, or glass
  • Don’t use any hot water when you’re disposing of food as this can actually cause the fats in the foods to liquefy and clog up the drain
  • Also, you should not pour oil or grease down the drain as this will act similarly to the starch in potato peels and clog things up
  • Never put too much food into the garbage disposal unit at one time as this can place stress on the unit and cause it to malfunction
  • Avoid putting pasta or rice into the unit as these foods can easily absorb water, expand, and then clog up the drains
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals such as bleach, down the drain as this can corrode and damage the blades over time

Final Thoughts

As convenient as modern garbage disposal units are, you should definitely avoid putting potato peels in them. The potato peels contain lots of starch and this can clog up the blades and clog up the drains.

If you do have a clogged or malfunctioning garbage disposal unit, it’s better to call a plumber or technician to have a look if you’re not confident about fixing it yourself.

Author

I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I've also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it's hard to find the time these days.

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