Things to Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

It is called a “garbage” disposal but that does not mean that you should put actual garbage in it. As a plumber, the amount of things I find that do not belong in the disposal is mind blowing. It might seem like it can handle anything, but actually, feeding your garbage disposal the wrong items is a surefire recipe for bad smells, clogs, and ultimately, a broken appliance. While it is fine to send most soft foods, ice cubes, chopped foods, and fruit peels through the garbage disposal in moderation, the following items are better off in the trash or your compost pile.


1. Fats and Grease from Cooking Meat

Just like your shower or sink drains, your kitchen sink drain should be a grease-free zone. Because fats and greasy substances tend to adhere to your pipes and lead to clogs, you should keep them out of your disposal. If you do accidentally pour grease or fat down your disposal, try running hot water down the line.

  1. Vegetable Peelings

Potato peels have a starchy consistency. People put them down the disposal to clean it or help with odors, not knowing the peels will not get fully chewed up and could cause clogs farther down the pipes. Lemon juice, baking soda or ice are all better options.

  1. Egg Shells 

There is a persistent myth that tossing egg shells or other items down your disposal will help keep the blades sharp. But contrary to popular belief, garbage disposals do not have blades. Instead, they have small moving parts called impellers that swivel to crush and pulverize food and debris. Egg shells are somewhat heavy and will sit in a pipe, so if you have a sewer with a low spot in it, they will gather in there.

4. Bones

Bones are one of the strongest natural materials out there, so they won’t be easy for the grinder to crush. Don’t dump your BBQ night leftovers in your garbage disposal. No matter how the blades of your garbage disposal system are strong, they won’t be able to crush animal bones into negligible particles that can flow down with the wastewater and not clog the pipes. So, bones are a big no. 

No need to panic, though. If you have let some fish leftovers or a small chicken bone slip down there, it will pass. But doing this frequently will ruin your disposal system in no time.


5. Fruit and Vegetable Seeds and Pits

Another major no-no is putting fruit pits down your garbage disposal. This includes the smallest cherry pits to the larger peach, avocado, or nectarine pits. Simply put, if you cannot cut these pits with your sharpest kitchen knife, you can assume your disposal blades certainly will not be able to, either.

  1. Coffee Grounds


You might be surprised to find out, but excess coffee grounds behave the same way as starchy foods. They will collect, swell, and form sediment that’ll sit in your drain pipes blocking the water flow. Better throw these coffee grounds in the garbage.

7. Pasta, Rice and Oats

Paste-like materials are hard materials before you grind. However, they clump up when you add water. It means that they do not dissolve even you add water. Anyone who has made spaghetti or mac-n-cheese knows that pasta expands when soaked in water. Given that, you can see why you might not want to drop lots of pasta into your disposal and drain where it will, after all, soak in water and keep expanding. Like most of the items on this list, a few scraps cleaned off of a plate will hurt. But do not try to dispose of the leftover pasta casserole via the kitchen sink.

8. Fibrous Materials

Fibrous materials can be problematic as it balls up causing a clog. These materials include corn husks, banana peels, celery, asparagus and artichokes. 

Some premium models of a garbage disposal can handle the fibrous vegetables in small amounts. Refer to your manual if it says so.

Onions can miss the grinding plate. So what happens is that it wraps around the plate. Because it is not ground properly, it can trap other items you put inside the unit, causing it to clog.


9. Non-Food Materials

Non-food items must go to the bin. It includes paper towels, stickers, cigarette butts, broken glass, plastic wrappers, and plastic utensils. Always remember that a garbage disposal is not a trash bin. It is created to get rid of food waste without using garbage bags. It is also created to break the food waste into small pieces so it can smoothly pass the plumbing system. It does not have the capability to grind materials that are supposed to be ground in a recycling facility.


Call the BEST Plumber for Drain Cleaning

There you have it — 9 things you should never put down your garbage disposal. If you need help with your garbage disposal, sinks, or any other plumbing issue, call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for professional drain cleaning methods. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.