Here's Why You Should Avoid Dumping Pasta Down The Drain

After a relaxing meal, it's normal to want to speed up the dish-cleaning process by simply dumping leftover food down the drain inside your kitchen. You may believe doing so is fine as long as you have an attached garbage disposal that breaks down pieces of solid food as you clean your plates. Well, it turns out that getting rid of pasta by dumping it into your sink is terrible for both your kitchen's drain and garbage disposal.

The starchy nature of cooked pasta, similar to rice, can pose a serious threat to your home's plumbing system, which can lead to pricey repairs if the dumping habit continues. In fact, fixing a clogged or damaged garbage disposal alone can cost homeowners upwards of $250, including labor fees. To save your pipes and your wallet from preventable damage, avoid dumping pasta down your drain and try these safer alternative disposal methods instead.

Pasta clogs and damages your garbage disposal

Being made from starch, pasta expands and changes consistency after being cooked in boiling water. Pasta, in its gelatinous form, remains water-absorbent even after being prepared and served, which can make the substance difficult to dissolve if left in your pipes for prolonged amounts of time. As you continue to run water down your drain, the dumped pasta may continue to expand until a clog occurs that is too severe to leave unattended.

It's also important to note that pasta, along with most foods, also changes consistency as it sits and decomposes, transitioning from the thick, chewy noodles you're accustomed to eating in a casserole or lasagna to a sticky paste that prevents water from flowing properly through your plumbing system if deposited into your drain. This paste can also damage your garbage disposal, as the gummy substance can stick to its blades and make the appliance burn out faster due to overwork. A single noodle won't cause much harm to your drain or garbage disposal, but regularly dumping pasta down your drain will create problems for your plumbing in the long run.

How to dispose of pasta safely

If you want to ditch leftover pasta entirely, simply throw it in your garbage, where the starch is free to decompose without harming any elements of your plumbing system. Though, if you're concerned about the smell of your thrown-out pasta as it sits in your trash can, try adding baking soda to your garbage to help eat up any foul odors. Using scented trash bags can also help counteract the stench of old food.

Leftover pasta can also make for a useful addition to compost piles, as the food contains high levels of nitrogen. This makes pasta, in cooked and uncooked varieties, beneficial to other composting materials because of its ability to speed up the decomposition process. Though it's important to keep in mind that, like other food items used in composting, pasta can lure unwanted pests to your piles, which has the potential to reduce the advantageous qualities of your compost before you have the opportunity to add it to your soil.

Pasta water is also recyclable and comes with many practical uses, some of which don't even involve the kitchen. The liquid features an array of minerals that encourage plant growth while also acting as a homemade fertilizer for most crops. Just make sure the water wasn't seasoned with salt before you use it on your foliage! You can also reuse pasta water while cooking, putting some aside to make bread dough, soak beans and lentils, or develop a soup base.