Informational Guide

Can You Put Egg Shells Down The Garbage Disposal?

Find out why it’s never a good idea to put eggshells in garbage disposal machines and learn about other ways to properly dispose of them.

by Ian Haynes

So you just had your brand new garbage disposal installed, and you're ready to see what this thing can do. Well, before you start putting every imaginable food scrap down the sink drain and firing on the switch, it's important to know what can and can't go down the garbage disposal.

While many things can safely be ground up, shredded, and disposed of by this handy kitchen appliance -  fruit and veggie scraps, meats, even peach pits or corn cobs - others should be avoided, one of them being eggshells.

As you crack an egg for your morning omelet, it’s normal to assume that such a fragile, flimsy item can go straight to the disposal.

While they may seem fragile and easy to crack, the bits and pieces of eggshells tend to stick together, and they can also stick to the drain. This is just asking for a clog to form.

Some people will argue that the sharp edges of eggshells are perfect for “sharpening” up the blades of a disposal, but that’s a complete myth. In American Home Shield’s list of garbage disposal dos and don'ts, the home warranty experts explain why eggshells are not a safe disposal item and should always be avoided:

“Garbage disposals do not have blades. They have impellers that are not sharp, but blunt. So, putting egg shells down the disposal to sharpen the blades will not do any good. In fact, eggshells are not recommended for the garbage disposal as the membrane can get wrapped around the impellers and cause damage.”


How to Properly Dispose of & Recycle Egg Shells

The good news is that it’s just as easy to toss your eggshells into the trash bin or trash compactor, so that’s the simplest way to properly dispose of eggshells. Before you start doing that, though, why not think about recycling them?

We’re not talking about adding them to your weekly recycling bin along with your papers and plastics. Instead, reuse the eggshells to reap the full benefits of the calcium contained within them. It's possible to incorporate them into your diet since, according to Healthline, there are many benefits to eating eggshells

“Getting enough dietary calcium is easy for most people,” says Healthline. “However, others do not meet their daily requirements because of restrictive diets, low food intake, or food shortage. For these people, cheap sources of calcium like eggshells may prove useful."

How to Consume Eggshells Safely

If you’re interested in boosting your calcium intake, don’t just start nibbling on bits of jagged eggshell; this could cause damage to your throat and esophagus. The better option is to grind the shells into a powder using a mortar and pestle or blender. Then, use the powder like any other supplement by adding it to smoothies and drinks, or even sprinkling it onto your food.

If eating the shells isn’t on your agenda, here are a few more ways to reuse and recycle them:

  • Dry, Grind & Add to Soil
    The calcium is not only good for you, but for plants, too!
  • Use as Compost
    Calcium is an important component of composting, and MSU says that adding eggshells to compost is beneficial since “they are a rich source of calcium and other essential nutrients that plants need.”
  • Grow Seedlings in an Eggshell
    Seedlings require very little space to grow, so eggshells serve as the perfect home until you need to move them to a larger pot.
  • Make a Cleaning Solution
    Ground-up eggshells serve well as an abrasive cleaning solution and can help with removing stuck-on residue on cooking utensils, pots and pans, and even the toilet bowl.
bird egg

What to Do When Your Sink Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your garbage disposal smells like rotten eggs, the first thought is usually, "well, there must be eggshells stuck in the impeller or clogged in the drain.”

While that could be the case, there are a few more explanations for that, but the most likely is that scraps of food have gotten stuck in the disposal and are responsible for the rotten eggs smell.

To fix the rotten eggs smell, an Atlanta-based plumbing company says

"try running some ice cubes through your garbage disposal. This helps knock off food stuck to the blades. Then throw a few orange or lemon slices through it for a nice, citrus smell.”


Do eggshells clog pipes?

Yes, the final verdict on the egg shells-garbage disposal debate is that they can clog your pipes and are one of the foods that can wreak havoc on your plumbing.

Drano says that

“eggshells create very tiny granular waste that will stick to any sludge in the pipe and quickly create a clog in the garbage disposal.”

How do I unclog eggshells in garbage disposal?

The first step for dealing with egg shells clogged in the garbage disposal is to use a plunger. If plunging the clog out doesn't work, you might have to take apart the disposal trap and clear out the clog by hand. Before doing that, always make sure to unplug the appliance first.

What can I clean my garbage disposal with?

You’ve got a few options for cleaning a garbage disposal. The Spruce says that one of the most effective methods is to “pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal, then slowly and carefully pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the disposal.”  Then cover the drain, let the mixture fizzle, and after a few minutes flush the drain with hot water.

What can I put down the garbage disposal to make it smell better?

Citrus peels are a great solution for making your disposal smell fresh and clean.  ReddiRoot’r recommends to:

“throw a few lemon or orange peels into the disposal and grind them up to add a clean citrus scent to your kitchen. This can be done anytime, even if the appliance isn’t stinky.”


Now that you know eggs shells are not safe for the disposal, it’s time to stop throwing them in the sink and put them straight into the trash can instead.

If you want to get more creative with your eggshell disposal habits, feel free to grind them up and add the powder to your garden soil, add them to your compost, or make an abrasive cleaning powder.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.