16 Things You Shouldn’t Put in a Garbage Disposal (You might be surprised)

Garbage disposals are genius inventions that have proven to be quite helpful, but we tend to assume that they can handle whatever what we put down them. However, there are several things one should avoid putting down their garbage disposal. The only question is: how do you identify what these things are?

Many things such as gristle, bones, grease, and chemicals should not be put in the garbage disposal because they will cause damage or clog it. Every homeowner should know what these things are so they don’t wind up with a broken disposal on their hands. Below is a list of all the items you should avoid putting in your garbage disposal.

List of things you should not put down a garbage disposal


You can paste this on your fridge or the wall of your kitchen.

1. Grease and Oil

Grease and oil are not friends to both garbage disposals and pipes alike. Since neither grease nor oil need grinding, the fact that they shouldn’t go down your garbage disposal can be quite surprising.

In general, pouring grease and oil down your garbage disposal (or regular sink) will not cause major problems. However, over time the grease and oil will fill the gaps in the grinding ring, reducing its grinding efficiency.

Grease and oil also solidify in the drain causing clogs, not to mention a horrible smell. Removing grease from your pipes can be a costly endeavor. Pour the grease and oil in the garbage can instead.

2. Rice and Pasta

The problem with disposing of food items like rice and pasta is that they swell when in contact with water. Not only that, but they become sticky and slimy over time.

Just like grease and oils, these can stick to the grinding chamber walls or the drain pipe causing clogs and other damages. Removing them from the disposal can be a nasty business.

3. Egg Shells

While grinding egg shells is not a major problem, putting the egg membrane in your garbage disposal is. These thin membranes can stick to the grinding components and cause problems while being ground up.

That being said, you can still put egg shells in your garbage disposal. The disposal can handle foods like this; however, you should limit the number of shells grinder at a time. Stick with just 2 to 3 shells at a time.

4. Non-Edible Food Items

Are there non-edible food items? When it comes to garbage disposals, apparently there are. Fruit pits and seeds are considered non-edible food items.

While you may succeed in grinding a fruit pit occasionally, it can damage the grinding components of the garbage disposal.

Throwing them into a trash can is a much better solution. Better yet, plant them in your garden!

5. Animal Bones

While some people put small chicken or fish bones into their garbage disposal, they are hard to grind and shouldn’t be put in a garbage disposal. However, most disposals are powerful enough to grind a few small bones at a time.

6. Harsh Chemicals

Do not mistake your kitchen sink for a chemistry laboratory. The grinding components of most garbage disposals are made of galvanized steel which can corrode when they come into contact with strong chemicals, such as bleaching powder and similar cleaning agents.

7. Fibrous Vegetables

Vegetables like celery and asparagus shouldn’t be added to a garbage disposal. Their fibrous nature makes it hard for the machine to break them down efficiently. These food items will cause some frustrating clogs.

8. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are not necessarily harmful to the garbage disposal. In fact, coffee grounds are often used to sharpen the disposal’s blades.

Problems occur when the coffee grounds clog the pipeline. Skip the appointment with a plumber and dump your coffee grounds in the garbage. Or once again, put them in your garden (on top of the fruit pits from earlier). Coffee grounds make for an excellent fertilizer.

9. Onion Skins And Potato Peels

Here, we’re faced with the same issues as coffee grounds. How can a teeny onion skin or a potato peel damage a big disposer? The answer is they don’t, but they are very good at causing clogs down the pipeline.

10. Spoons And Utensils

Take extra care to keep any kind of utensils out of your disposal since it will damage both the disposal and the silverware. If you don’t notice that silverware is in the garbage disposal before you turn it on, turn the disposal off immediately and remove the silverware.

11. Your Hands And Fingers

Keep your hands and fingers out of the garbage disposal. If you must stick your hand in your garbage disposal, make sure it is off until your hand and fingers are removed from the vicinity.

A garbage disposal is not something you should play with. If the disposal turns on while your hand is near it, the consequences could be serious.

12. Pumpkins

Anyone who carved a pumpkin for Halloween knows how sticky and stringy they are. When thrown down a garbage disposal, they will stick onto the grinding blades and form a clog. The only way to get rid of a pumpkin clog is by dismantling the pipes and cleaning them.

corn husk

13. Corn Husk

Corn husks are one of the most fibrous items you can find in a kitchen. They are extremely difficult to grind and should never end up down a garbage disposal. Putting them down the disposal will result in some major clogs.

14. Seafood

While you may feel confident that seafood like shrimp can be disposed of safely in a garbage disposal, that’s not the case. Instead of going down the pipes, they will form a white little ball that will clog the disposal. No matter what magical remedies you try, dismantling the pipes is the only option to removing the clog.

15. Carrots

Carrots are surprisingly fibrous and should never be put in a garbage disposal. If you put too many carrots in a garbage disposal, it will stop working.

16. Artichokes

Artichokes are yet another vegetable you shouldn’t put in a garbage disposal. They are very fibrous and will form a clog in the garbage disposal.


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