If you are making mashed potatoes or another tasty dish, it might seem like peeling the potatoes over the sink can make the job easier. They all gather in one place, and you can rinse them off if needed. You can even put the potato peels down the garbage disposal. But is this actually a good idea? Can you put potato peels in the garbage disposal without causing a problem? Unfortunately, the answer is no. You cannot put potato peels down the garbage disposal without causing serious plumbing issues.
We have created an extensive guide to illustrate how troublesome this simple act can be. You will also learn how to remove clogs and clean the trap to prevent further damage.
Table of Contents
Potatoes Can Cause Blockages
It doesn’t seem like potatoes should cause any particular concern for your garbage disposal. After all, it can pulverize various types of food. However, due to the way the disposal works, certain foods can actually cause some damage and blockages. Common items to avoid putting down the garbage disposal include:
- Fat, grease, and oil
- Starchy foods such as rice and pasta
- Stringy or starchy vegetables
- Fruit pits
- Non-food objects
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are the most common culprits that cause blockages and damage to your garbage disposal. Garbage disposals don’t use sharp blades to chop up the waste like a blender. Instead, they use centrifugal force to smash the waste into a grinding ring until it liquefies.
This is why you need to run water when using your disposal. Potato peels are smooth, slippery, and fibrous. This is why they do not mash up well and can sneak right past the grinding part of your disposal. From there, it’s quite easy for them to get clogged in your drain trap or pipes. These clogs are usually difficult to find, much less remove.
Potato peels should also not be put down the garbage disposal because they have a high starch content, which can collect in the disposal and drains, preventing other food from moving through the system. The starch in your peels also causes them to expand, further thickening a clog.
Instead of throwing your potato peels and other bits into the garbage disposal, use other methods to dispose of them. You can use them in a different recipe, compost them, or simply throw them in the trash if you have no use for the peels.
How to Remove the Clog or Blockage
If you are facing a blockage from potato peels, it can be quite difficult to take care of. Water pressure will not be enough, so you need to remove the clog manually to get your drain running again. You can either try to do this yourself or call our team for 24-hour plumbing services to unclog your sink drain.
First, make sure your garbage disposal is turned off at the circuit breaker. This is a crucial first step anytime you work on your garbage disposal. Simply turning off the disposal switch is not enough, as a small accident can lead to serious consequences. Next, look into the disposal chamber with a flashlight. If you can see any visible peels, use tongs to pull them out. Never stick your hand into the disposal even if you have turned it off and unplugged it.
Once you have removed any visible peels, run cold water to see if it fixed the clog. Be sure to avoid warm water, as it can make clogs worse. You might need to reset the disposal if it doesn’t turn on. To do this, find and firmly press the red or black reset button. Then try the switch to see if it runs.
If the disposal is still not running, it might be jammed. If the disposal is jammed, you will need to get it running again manually. Make sure the power is off, then find the hex-head fitting at the bottom of the disposal. Use an Allen wrench or a disposal wrench in the fitting, and turn the wrench back and forth a couple of times. This will allow you to manually rotate the grinder and free the jam. Next, remove the wrench and see if the disposal is working.
Cleaning the Drain Trap
Sometimes, potato peels and starch build up and cause a clog in the drain trap. The trap is a u-shaped bend in the pipe between the disposer and the part that attaches to the wall. If you have already cleared out any visible clogs, run cold water, and reset the disposer, this may be the problem.
First, put a bucket underneath the trap. Then gently loosen the slip nuts on both ends of the trap. You can use a wrench, tongue-and-groove pliers, or your hands to do this. Thoroughly rinse the trap to remove any buildup. Next, replace the trap, and firmly tighten the nuts.
If you are not comfortable taking apart your garbage disposal and pipes, you may want to consider hiring a professional plumber to perform drain cleaning services. You won’t have to worry about messing something up. Plus, you can feel confident that your drain will be clear in no time.
Drain Cleaning and Plumbing Repair Services
The first step to preventing drain clogs is to know the answers to common questions, like “Can you put potato peels in the garbage disposal?” However, mild drain blockages still occasionally happen and can be hard to remove, whether it’s from potato peels, grease, or anything else. Even little things build up over time.
Our team of licensed plumbers in Passaic, NJ can thoroughly clean your drains using specialty equipment. If we determine that the blockage is caused by issues with your sewer pipes, we can also perform a sewer video inspection on your property.
If you try to remove the clog yourself but find it unsuccessful, our highly-trained and skilled plumbers are here to help. Our staff have the skills necessary to fix severe drain clogs in your kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of your house. Give our professionals a call at (732) 638-4317 to receive assistance with a clogged drain.