Can You Put Lemons In The Garbage Disposal?

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The garbage disposal is a convenient way to get rid of food scraps, but not everything should go down the drain.

Many home chefs wonder, Can you put lemons in the garbage disposal? The short answer is yes, lemons can go down the garbage disposal, but there are some things to keep in mind.

How Lemons Affect Your Garbage Disposal

Lemons are very acidic, with a pH between 2 and 3. This acidity can help clean and sharpen the blades in your garbage disposal.

The citric acid in lemons breaks down grime and limescale buildup. Lemons can act as a natural cleaner for your garbage disposal.

However, too much lemon peel down the drain may lead to a backed-up or smelly disposal. The oils in lemon peels can stick to the insides of the disposal and pipes. Over time, excess lemon peels can build up and clog drains.

The takeaway: Small amounts of lemon juice and peel are okay for your garbage disposal. But avoid putting whole lemons or lots of peels down the drain.

Tips for Putting Lemons in the Garbage Disposal

Here are some best practices for disposing of lemons properly:

  • Squeeze lemons into the disposal while it’s running. The juice will help clean and deodorize the disposal. Drink plenty of water before and after.
  • Cut lemons into small pieces before adding them to the disposal. Large pieces are more likely to get stuck.
  • Compost lemon peels rather than putting them down the drain. The oils and zest can cling to pipes.
  • Never put whole lemons down the garbage disposal. Slice them first to allow proper drainage.
  • Limit lemon disposal to 1-2 lemon halves per week. The acidity is good, but too much can damage pipes.
  • After using lemons, flush the disposal with lots of cold water. Hot water can cause citric acids to stick.

Following these tips will allow you to safely dispose of lemons without harming your garbage disposal.

What NOT to Put in the Garbage Disposal

While lemons are generally okay for most garbage disposals, many other food items should stay out of the drain. Avoid putting the following at your disposal:

  • Whole vegetables like potatoes, turnips, celery, and carrots can jam blades.
  • Grease or oil builds up and hardens.
  • Fruit pits and seeds do not break down.
  • Eggshells: the membranes get tangled in the disposal.
  • Bones will dull disposal blades.
  • Pasta can swell up and clog drains.
  • Rice and grains accumulate and cause blockages.
  • Stringy foods like celery tangle around the blades.
  • Anything fibrous like corn husks, asparagus, or artichokes
  • Onion or garlic peels can stick to pipes.

In general, stick to soft foods like cooked meats, soft fruits, cooked veggies, and citrus fruits. And remember, when in doubt, throw it out!

Frequently Asked Questions About Lemons in the Garbage Disposal

Many homeowners have additional questions about the dos and don’ts of lemon disposal. Here are answers to some common FAQs:

Are lemon peels bad for the garbage disposal?

Small amounts of lemon peel are fine. But too many peels can build up and clog pipes due to their oily nature. Compost peels instead of putting more than 1-2 down the drain per week.

Does lemon juice help clean the garbage disposal?

Yes! The acidity in lemon juice helps descale and deodorize the disposal. Run the disposal as you squeeze lemon juice down the drain. Flush with plenty of water after.

Should you cut up lemons before putting them in the disposal?

Always slice lemons into smaller pieces before disposing of them. Large pieces are more likely to jam the blades. Cutting lemons allows the disposal to break them down easier.

Can too many lemon peels damage the garbage disposal?

Over time, an excess of lemon peels can build up and clog pipes or fittings. Limit peels to 1-2 per week. The oils can be difficult to wash away.

Is it better to use lemons or baking soda to clean the disposal?

Both can be used effectively! Baking soda is abrasive and helps scrub away grime. Lemon juice dissolves grease and limescale. Alternate them for a thorough cleaning.

Are lemon seeds bad for the garbage disposal?

Avoid putting any citrus seeds down the drain. Fruit seeds do not break down and can jam your garbage disposal over time. Compost them instead.

The Bottom Line

Lemons can be a great cleaning booster for your garbage disposal when used properly. The acidity helps remove grime and odors.

However, use caution not to overdo it with lemon peels, which can leave an oily residue. By following the proper usage tips, you can safely add the cleaning power of lemons without damaging your garbage disposal.


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