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What Not to Put Down A Garbage Disposal

what not to put down a garbage disposal

What Not To Put In A Garbage Disposal

  • Stringy, Fibrous Foods

  • Oils, Fats, and Grease

  • Eggshells

  • Beans, Pasta, Rice, and Potatoes

  • Non-Food Items

Garbage disposal units are an extremely handy and useful kitchen appliance. These assist in getting rid of small particles of food and other bits of waste which will help to remove unpleasant smells from permeating throughout the kitchen. However, there are many foods that should not be put into the garbage disposal as they can do more harm than good. It is commonly misunderstood that a garbage disposal unit uses blades — the truth is that they use a ring of teeth-like shredders that pulverize food particles and force them down the drain. These shredders are often referred to as blades. However, there is no way to sharpen them. This means that keeping a clean garbage disposal is integral to a smooth and efficient operation. Read on to find out what you should avoid putting down your garbage disposal to keep it in the best working order possible.

Stringy, Fibrous Foods

One thing you should keep out of your garbage disposal is stringy, fibrous foods like onion skins, potato peels, carrots, corn husks, asparagus, lettuce, artichokes, celery, etc. Their stringy fibers can wrap around the grinding teeth of the unit and prevent the motor from operating properly. In turn, this can lead to a shorter lifespan for your garbage disposal. If you must put these kinds of foods down your disposal, be sure to do it in very small quantities, using cold water prior to, during, and after operating the garbage disposal unit.

Oils, Fats, and Grease

It might seem like a good idea to put oils, fats, and grease down the drain, especially when using the garbage disposal, but you would be wrong. These items can coat the blades of the garbage disposal unit with a thin, greasy film that will reduce their effectiveness. Over time, this greasy buildup will begin to decay, which can lead to an unpleasant odor emanating from the drain. Pouring grease down the drain of a garbage disposal unit can not only diminish its effectiveness but can also result in a clogged drain when it solidifies, no matter how much hot water you use.


There are some out there who will tell you that putting eggshells into the garbage disposal unit will sharpen the blades. This is simply not true. In fact, the eggs’ stringy membrane layers can wrap around the shredder, diminishing its operation. Furthermore, the eggshells can be ground into a sand-like consistency that is more likely to clog the drain in the long run.

Beans, Pasta, Rice, and Potatoes

These foods swell to many times their original size even when very small. They can end up clogging the trap if not properly washed away, making them another item that should be avoided when using the garbage disposal.

Non-Food Items

It should go without saying that any non-food items should not be put into the garbage disposal. Avoid the very bad example set by other homeowners and keep things like twist ties, rubber bands, pull tabs, fabric, cigarette butts, sponges, and plant clippings out of the unit. Items such as these cannot be broken down enough to wash down the drain.

While garbage disposals are a robust kitchen appliance, care should be taken in order to keep it in good condition, and working properly for a longer period of time. If you are experiencing issues with your garbage disposal unit, contact the plumbing professionals at PlumbV.

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