(NEXSTAR) — As tempting as it might be, don’t throw all your food waste down the garbage disposal, plumbing professionals say.
In a viral TikTok video posted on Oct. 18, employees at Prime Plumbing in Baltimore, Maryland, revealed what you should never put in the kitchen appliance — and it caused quite a stir in the comment section.
To be fair, the company did say that “some answers might surprise you.”
One plumber said chicken bones are a big no-no, which wasn’t too shocking. Less-than-obvious foods his co-workers mentioned included rice, potatoes, and eggshells.
“I was always told eggshells cleaned and sharpened blades,” one user wrote.
The company responded in another video, saying that’s a myth, and suggested placing them in a compost bin instead.
Other plumbers in the original video quipped that you should avoid putting food in that part of the kitchen sink altogether. It prompted another commenter to ask: “So why have a garbage disposal then?”
A 2020 article from Consumer Reports explained that the term “garbage disposal” is misleading since it can’t handle all types of waste. Even though the blades can grind through almost anything, you may encounter plumbing issues depending on the type of food you dispose of.
Experts told Consumer Reports that fats, oils, and grease should never go in the disposal.
David Duest, director of the Deer Island Treatment Plant in Boston, said these liquids may eventually congeal and clog up the water system.
Large quantities of starchy foods and fibrous vegetables (like celery, corn husks, and asparagus) may also cause clogs.
While eggshells may seem harmless, they don’t decompose quickly. If you keep placing them in the disposal, over time, those bits can pile up and stop up the drain. This can happen with coffee grounds and shellfish too, according to experts.
So what can you put in the disposal?
The Georgia-based company Trinity Plumbing noted on its website that citrus rinds, cooked meat scraps (not large bones), wet canned dog or cat food, and virtually all fruits are safe.
The company said disposals can last for about 10 years or so with good care.