15 Foods You Should Never Throw in Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are great for many things. You can scrape leftovers into the drain, turn it on, and voila, they’re magically gone. However, don’t assume you can treat it like a waste basket. There are certain things you should never throw down there because they could break the disposal, which translates to more hassle and higher bills for you.

Here are 15 things you should never put in your garbage disposal. Instead, dispose of them in the proper trash receptacles.

1. Coffee Grounds
Wet coffee grounds will form a solid mass and clump together, leading to a nasty clog that can really gum up the gears of the disposal.

2. Pasta
Wet pasta expands, which is why you should refrain from throwing large amounts of mac and cheese or spaghetti and sauce down the drain. Small bits from your plate are OK, but if you have a lot, avoid clogs and throw it in the trash instead.

3. Bones
Chicken bones have no place in a garbage disposal. This device was not designed to grind up hard items like bones, and it can experience damage if you try it.

4. Fibrous Produce
From celery to raw pumpkins to rhubarb, don’t throw fibrous produce into the disposal. Their string-like consistencies will wrap around the gears of the disposal and result in a possible malfunction. Throw them in a compost heap instead.

5. Shells
Keep shells from lobster, mussels, and crab out of the drain to avoid a clog and damage to the gears.

6. Potato Peels
You may find it convenient to peel potatoes over the sink, but don’t just send the peels into the disposal after. Scoop them out and put them in the compost heap or your trash. That’s because the peels turn glue-like when coming into contact with water inside your pipes.

7. Egg Shells
Egg shells are harder than you think, so avoid putting them in your disposal. Instead, throw them in a compost pile, toss in the trash, or mix them in your potted plants as nutrients outside.

8. Chicken Skin
Many people take off the oily skin before cooking a chicken, but if you put that skin in the disposal, it can clog your plumbing and leave behind germs like salmonella in the sink – not to mention the unpleasant odor it will leave behind.

9. Produce Stickers
Yes, you can put citrus, banana or apple peels in the disposal, but be sure to remove those produce stickers first. They may seem harmless but they will stick to the disposal blades or your pipes.

10. Fat, Grease & Oil
While the garbage disposal itself can manage small amounts of semi-solid fats, liquids, oils, and greases, the rest of your plumbing system cannot. Seal liquid oil and grease in cans and jars, then throw away.

11. Rice & Oats
Just like pasta, rice and oats will swell with water and clog your disposal.

12. Broken Glass or Metal
It happens — you drop metal or glass into your sink and some of it gets into your disposal. Don’t turn on the device; switch it off at the source under the sink, and then try to get as much of the offending item out with a small grabber, fork, or hook. If that does not work, don thick kitchen gloves and fish it out with your hands. It’s important to completely turn off the disposal before attempting this.

13. Medication
You may think it’s harmless to toss your unused medications down the disposal, but adding controlled drugs into your plumbing system will impact the water supply. The FDA recommends taking the drugs out of their packaging, placing them in a plastic bag with dirt or cat litter (something unappealing), then throwing it in the trash.

14. Fruit Pits
After snacking on fruit, toss the pit in your compost or garbage can. Yes, garbage disposals can tolerate quite a bit but that hard center seed can dent or break the blades.

15. Nuts
Small but mighty – your garbage disposal will essentially make them into nut butter by grinding and mashing them until a paste forms.

Hopefully you found these tips to be helpful as you keep your garbage disposal in proper working order.

Book an Appointment With Plumb Star Today

Plumb Star Plumbing is proud to serve all of Fair Oaks Ranch with quality plumbing services, including garbage disposal repair and installation. If your garbage disposal in on the fritz, contact us for a quote and appointment at (830) 981-8702.