Knowing all the things you should never put down your garbage disposal is key to keeping your device in tip-top shape. We don’t blame you for tossing your food scraps down the drain without thinking — we do it, too! Unfortunately, many common foods can easily damage a garbage disposal and clog the pipes.
Instead of spending your precious time Googling which foods can safely go through a garbage disposal, we’ve rounded up all all the worst items to put in a garbage disposal to save you time. It may surprise you to learn that a lot of the foods you’re sending down the drain are potentially harming your machine. Prevent an emergency call to the plumber and the inevitable bill by properly disposing of your food waste.
Keep scrolling to learn more about the many foods that you should never put down your garbage disposal.
Chicken Bones Garbage Disposal
With the holidays coming up, chances are you’ll be roasting some meat. Is it OK to put the bones down your garbage disposal? Absolutely not! While an occasional small bone won’t do much damage, larger bones can harm your machine. Also, keep in mind that bones may also absorb small amounts of grease, which can clog the drain. Instead, what you want to do with your bones is throw them in the trash — not down the dish drain (or to your dog, who can choke if it splinters).
Celery Garbage Disposal
If you’ve ever de-gunked a pumpkin, you’ll know how messy the stringy fibers are. Now, imagine those strands getting wrapped around the blades of your garbage disposal. Save yourself the stress and dump the innards directly in the trash. This same goes for fibrous veggies like asparagus, broccoli, and celery. We recommend this rule for disposing of corn husks and silk.
Coffee Grounds Garbage Disposal
Raise your hand if you’ve washed coffee grounds down your garbage disposal and thought nothing of it. Us, too. Unfortunately, it’s not a good idea to dump these little guys in the sink, as they can clump up and clog the drains. If you’re using a French press, you should just dump as much of the grounds as you can in the trash can.
Egg Shells In Garbage Disposal
It’s a common belief that tossing eggshells down the drain can clean the insides of the garbage disposal — just like bones. However, the thin membrane beneath the shell can get wrapped around the blades, just like the strings of fibrous veggies. Then, when you turn on the garbage disposal, bits of bacteria from the egg’s membrane will shoot up and coat your kitchen sink. Yikes! Instead, toss eggshells directly in the trash. Better yet, read up on all the genius uses for eggshells so you never waste one again.
Cherry Pits In Garbage Disposal
Stone fruits, like peaches, cherries, and plums are delicious any time of the year, but you most definitely do not want to put the hard centers down the garbage disposal. Why? Well, just think of the pits as a piece of wood. Would you chuck wood down the drain? No, because that would ruin the machine.
Grease Garbage Disposal
Fat and Grease
Fat and grease is a probably the best-known garbage disposal no-no. It’s tempting to try and wash these down the drain when you’re scrubbing a dirty pot or pan, but you run the risk of backing up your pipes. Instead, pour the grease and fat into a container and dump it, or save it for later to reuse.
Rice Pasta Garbage Disposal
Starches like Pasta, Rice, or Oatmeal
This one might be a head-scratcher at first, but yummy carbs like pasta or rice belong in your tummy — not the garbage disposal. Why? Well, it turns out these starchy substances can expand in the pipes and jam up the pipes. The same goes for oatmeal, so dump your breakfast leftovers directly into the trash.
Potato Peels Garbage Disposal
If you’re making mashed potatoes from scratch, chances are you’ll have to peel the spuds — directly into the trash that is. Can potato peels go down the garbage disposal?They really shouldn't, and the reason why may surprise you. Whether they’re from potatoes, carrots, or sweet potatoes, the scrapings can create a pulpy sticky mess when the disposal chops them up. This can block the pipes, leading to a trip from the plumber.
Paper Towel Napkin Garbage Disposal
Whether it’s scraps of paper towels or used napkins, don’t let paper products down the drain. These items were made to withstand a lot of contact with water, which means they’ll probably survive an encounter with the garbage disposal blades. Unfortunately, that means they’ll likely travel down to the pipes and plug them up — uh oh!
Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disosal Nuts
When nuts accidentally drop down into a garbage disposal, the appliance grinds them up into a thick, goopy paste that can coat the insides of the disposal. Peanut butter spread on a sandwich is a delicious snack, but peanut butter spread on the insides of your garbage disposal? That’s no fun — and it’s a pain in the butt to clean.
Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disosal Onion Peel Skin
Similar to veggie peels, onion skins shouldn’t be allowed to ride down the garbage disposal. The issue here lies with that fine membrane under the onion’s thick skin. This layer is too thin for the garbage disposal to grind it up, so it escapes unharmed and sits in the pipes. There, it can act as a sort of net, catching other food debris and generally just slowing down the process.