Can You Put Potato Peels in Garbage Disposals?

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Last updatedLast updated: April 11, 2021

There are certain food waste and materials that are difficult to process by garbage disposal. The difficulty might be due to various factors such as the fibrous nature of the food, its ability to absorb water and swell or expand, or just the general toughness of the material. Potato peels belong to the latter class.

Due to their high starch content, the potato peels in garbage disposals may clump together, creating a thick paste that would be difficult to wash out of the disposal. Even when they are washed out easily, they could still go on to clog the drains. It is for these reasons that people are advised to peel their potatoes directly onto plastic bags and newspapers before discarding them in a trash can or compost bin.

Alternatives aside, when potato peels cause a clog or blockage in your garbage disposal or drainage pipe, here is how to remove it.

How to remove the clog

Before you attempt anything, you should make sure that the clog is there. To do so, switch off the garbage disposal and check for it. If necessary, use a flashlight.

If any visible materials are clogging up the grinding chamber’s outlets, use tongs to pull them out. Be sure never to put your hands into the garbage disposal even when they are switched off or unplugged. In the case of garbage disposals for deep sinks, you might need to remove the disposal if the position is not very suitable.

If the clog blocks material from leaving the grinding chamber, this would mean that the problem might be less common with more powerful garbage disposals such as the InSinkErator Evolution Excel garbage disposal. A slightly less powerful but quieter alternative to this is the InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR model.

Cleaning the trap

Sometimes after removing the materials that seem to be clogging up the garbage disposal, water still might not flow freely or at all down the drain. This is an indicator that there might be another reason for the poor drainage. The next place to check in this situation would be the drain trap, which is the section of pipe that connects the garbage disposal to the drainpipe in the wall.

To clean it out, you should first loosen the nuts holding the trap (using your hand, pliers, or a wrench). You can then rinse the trap thoroughly to clear out any material deposits before replacing the trap again. Before removing the trap, you might need to place a bucket or bowl beneath it just in case and when replacing it, be sure to tighten it properly to avoid leaks in the future.

Removing the peels from the pipe

It is also very possible that the source of the clog or blockage is already within the drainage pipe in the wall somewhere. In such a situation, the clog won’t be visible in the garbage disposal or the drain trap, and after checking and cleaning out those two, the next step would be to clear the drain pipe. The best way to achieve this is to use a pipe auger.

Things that you should never put in a garbage disposal

Some of the best left out of the garbage disposal include meat bones, greases and oils, fibrous food, potato peels, fruit pits and so on. The list is much longer than this, and the best way to avoid putting in the wrong types of waste is to ensure that food that absorbs and expands in water possesses the ability to wrap itself around the blades or get between the teeth of the grinders are left out.

A popular alternative to the use of garbage disposal has always been composting. But you could just as well utilize the regular trash disposal. If the problem with a trash can for you is the contact you have with germs, you should consider using touchless trash cans for a change.

Final thoughts

Many alterations have been made to the original designs of the garbage disposal to improve their effectiveness. Some of these are the use of metal mounts to make quieter garbage disposals and more grinding stages to reduce clogging or jamming. Some of the best quiet garbage disposal models now possess both the metal mount and multiple grinding stages.

Despite this development, the clogs cannot be eliminated even though the frequency with which they occur is lower. As such, the only way to ensure that your garbage disposal is always in working order is to be versed at removing clogs that may form. It is with this in mind that this article was written to guide you on how potato peels in garbage disposals can be removed.

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