10 Things You Should NEVER Put Down Your Garbage Disposal


After a few dish cycles, it’s pretty easy to view our garbage disposals as ravenous animals ready and willing to consume whatever we shove down its throat.  Unfortunately, this isn’t quite the case. Though they’ve gotten better with time, not even the best garbage disposal is capable of breaking down every kind of leftover particle without incurring damage.  There are also some particles which, even after the grinding of a disposal, can still blog drains and pipes.Your Garbage Disposal

First, one of the best ways to prevent the wrong items from entering the garbage disposal is to show due diligence while washing dishes.  For example, it is very easy for small items, such as utensils and corn holders, to fall within reach of the disposal’s blades.

Even worse, their small size may make them difficult or even impossible to spot.  Therefore, it’s best to safely check to ensure that disposal is clear before using it.  And when you do turn it on, always keep your hand near the switch just in case you hear something clanging around inside.  This could be a sign of a small lose object or even a broken component within the disposal.

Some garbage disposals are more effective than others.  For example, the good garbage disposals can easily consume far more than a discount selection from the local department store.

So, in addition to our list, you should check the owner’s manual for any special considerations.  Or, better yet, consider a disposal’s capabilities before you actually purchasing to ensure that it will meet your needs.  For example, if you regularly use specific vegetables, find out whether or not a particular disposal can efficiently consume them.

It’s also important to consider a disposal’s size.  There may be additional items that didn’t make our list because they’re only detrimental in large quantities.  For example, many disposals can safely break down lettuce, but not an entire head.  Ultimately, the volume of food that can be safely broken down by a disposal will depend upon its overall size.


Even after cooking, water actually causes pasta to grow in size.  This holds true even after they have been shredded by a garbage disposal.  Since the grounds can still expand, pasta can eventually contribute to clogged drains.  They can also become embedded in the disposal’s components and continuously expand over time.


Given the thin wall that is an egg shell, they may seem ideal for garbage disposals. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you ever look at a broken egg closely, you’ll see that the harder shell is actually connected to a sort of film surrounding the inside. This membrane can actually become entangled in the disposal’s smaller components. Additionally, virtually every part of an egg is a perfect candidate for clogging drains.


Bones should never be put through a garbage disposal.  While this may seem obvious for larger ones like steak or rib bones, it also holds true for chicken and even fish bones.  At best, the disposal’s blades will never break them down properly.  This means they’ll either clog the disposal or – even worse (and more likely) clog your pipes.  However, the density of some bones can actually be great enough to damage the disposal’s components.  We understand that it’d be so much easier to just shove them through with the rest of your leftovers, but the headache it’d cause later on just isn’t worth it.

Plant Stalks

While bits of corn and lettuce are commonly disposed of through garbage disposals, placing entire stalks in will likely cause damage.  This is especially true for many fibrous vegetables like celery and asparagus, since their fibers can wrap around the shredders.


Grease shouldn’t be poured down the drain anyways, and there’s certainly nothing that a garbage disposal can do to make it any better.  Yet, many homeowners believe that, for whatever reason, those churning blades can somehow break down the chemical composition of grease.  Believe us, this isn’t the case.  At best, it’ll go right through and continue clogging your pipes.  However, grease can also seep its way into some of the components of your disposal, potentially shortening its lifespan.

Ground Coffee

After coffee grounds have been used, the garbage disposal may seem like the perfect way to eliminate the excess gunk. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Coffee ground particles never fully wash away. Rather, they find their way into every possible crevice. They also build up over time, a problem that can lead to clogged pipes.


Most household cleaners, even those used in and around sinks (aside from dish soap) can actually degrade some of the gaskets and seals of your garage disposal. Therefore, cleaners should be avoided, especially direct contact. If you’re concerned about an odor emanating from the drain, you can cover small slices of lemon in baking soda and wash the concoction down the drain (with the disposal on, of course). You can put more than one piece in at a time, but allow for plenty of time in between each one. Also, never try to grind an entire lemon.

Large Fruit Seeds

We definitely want to put an emphasis on “large” here. Apple, lemon and orange seeds are safe for the garbage disposal. However, peach, pear and olive pits are not. Exercise good judgement and try to determine whether the items you’re disposing of can be reasonably ground down enough to safely flush down the drain.

Liquid Plumber

We definitely understand the temptation to pour Liquid Plumber down a drain with a garbage disposal. However, many a regretful homeowner has attempted to unclog their drains or pipes after improper use of their disposal with Liquid Plumber (or some variation).  This is actually a terrible idea. While these chemicals are carefully designed to flow through conventional pipes without damaging them, they do not react well with metal.  And since the disposal’s shredders are composed of metal, you can have a real mess on your hands after even a single use.  Even worse, it probably still won’t remove the clog.

Large Chunks of Beef

This can actually vary among specific disposals, but generally, larger chunks of beef should be avoided. Also, if you plan to dispose of ground beef, take care in considering the potential amount of grease it contains.

Remember, the list we’ve provided here is of universal items you should never put down your garbage disposal.  However, as we mentioned, each machine has its own limits.  Always be sure to check the owner’s manual and exercise good judgement.  Remember, even the best garbage disposal has its limits.


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