Informational Guide

What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal

We look at the common food and waste to see if it can be added to garbage disposals.

by Dmitri Kara

A garbage disposal unit is a great appliance that brings convenience to your household. The device gets rid of food bits in a quick, sanitary, and eco-friendly way. This helps reduce food piles in the trash bin and the spread of bad odors.

With the amount of work and time garbage disposal saves, you tempt to put all kinds of leftovers in it. But this is not how you treat the device to preserve its good condition and function.

There are certain foods and items to keep away from your home garbage disposal. Otherwise, you risk ending up with clogged drains and a broken appliance, all unnecessary costs. Think twice before you toss anything different from soft and liquid foods, meat scraps, fruit peels, chopped fruits, and vegetables, etc. in the device.

Think twice before you trash it,” comments junk & trash bin professional Luke Hancock. “Put up this list next to the garbage disposal area, put a big red sign or add pictures if you have to, as long as it works to avoid mistakes that will likely lead to trouble”, he adds.

Considering clever solutions?

Take a look at our list to identify what you should not put in your garbage disposal and thus save yourself the future troubles.

brown coffee

It’s a fact that coffee grounds absorb unpleasant smells from the garbage disposal unit. But don’t let this fool you that it’s okay to put them in it. Used coffee grounds make a thick pasty mass that causes serious clogs in the pipeline.

Keep the coffee grounds away from the garbage disposal and use them as an organic body scrub or natural pesticide for your garden.

2. Pasta, Rice, Bread, and Grains in the Garbage Disposal?

What’s common between these foods?

No matter how cooked or chopped, they still absorb water and expand. Plus, they form a sticky wad in contact with water. Any of these foods is a potential problem in your plumbing. They stick to the parts of the garbage disposal, too. Leave spaghetti, risotto, or oats leftovers out of the device to avoid serious damages.

3. Eggshells in Garbage Disposal?

Many people send eggshells down the garbage disposal to sharpen its blades, but this is wrong. Not only are they ineffective for the appliance, but they actually damage it. Eggshells have thin membranes that wrap around the grinder. This hinders the work of the garbage disposal and there’s a chance of breakage or damaging some parts of the unite.

Instead, use the eggshells to make nutrition-rich compost for your outdoor plants or even a DIY facemask for the ladies.

4. Onion Skins in Garbage Disposal?

Similar to eggshells, the onion skins have delicate layers that envelop different parts of the unit. If they pass the blades, the onion skins get wedged in the drain where they act as a net. It catches other food particles and creates a large clog.

5. Seafood Shells in Garbage Disposal?

To avoid a garbage disposal disaster, keep any seafood residues away from it. Regardless of how powerful it is, no garbage disposal handles hard seafood shells without damage or a clogged drain.

6. Bones in Garbage Disposal?

A small fishbone or a chicken bone in the garbage disposal doesn’t cause any problem. But don’t put bigger bones to test how hardy your device is. They get stuck and break it.

Even if the hard bones pass through the disposal, they shorten its lifespan and clog up the plumbing.

7. Pits and Seeds in Garbage Disposal?

Pits and seeds are too hard for a garbage disposal unit to handle. Besides, they are round and this contributes to an impossible grinding. Throw any kinds of pits and seeds in the trash or compost bin to avoid the purchase of new expensive disposal.

assorted beans

8. Nuts in Garbage Disposal?

The grinder in the garbage disposal turns nuts into thick butter. So, when you put nuts in the device, you risk creating a hard-to-clean dense paste inside it. The butter itself also burdens the device and can break it.

9. Grease, Oils, Fats

When you dump different kinds of fats in the disposal, it works for a while. But over time the grease fills every gap in the grinding ring of the device and reduces its grinding abilities. Once in the drain, fats solidify and can mess up the plumbing system.

10. Chicken Skin in Garbage Disposal?

It’s healthier to eat the chicken without the skin. But when you remove the skin, don’t let it anywhere near your garbage disposal. It’s a certain cause for a stinky sink and clogged pipes.

11. Fibrous Vegetables and Fruits in Garbage Disposal?

When you scoop a pumpkin, its long strings tangle around your hands and make a huge mess. To avoid the same trouble in your device, dispose of high-fiber fruits and vegetables in the trash. This applies to carrots, kale, asparagus, artichokes, celery, lettuce, corn husks, etc. Instead, add them to your compost pile.

12. Potato peels in Garbage Disposal?

Potato peels actually slip past the garbage disposal but get stuck in the drain. There they transform into a gluey wad that holds up other food waste. Don't dump potato peels in the garbage disposal to avoid a serious clog issue.

Alternatively, rinse the peels well, season them with your favorite spices and turn them into delicious potato skins chips.

13. Sauerkraut in Garbage Disposal?

We recommend not to put sauerkraut in your disposal because it acts the same as the potato peels. It forms a sticky paste-like mass and clogs the drain. It’s a delicious condiment, so better eat everything, than fill the appliance with sauerkraut residues.

14. Non-food Items

Don’t put non-food stuff in your garbage disposal to preserve its high-quality operational use. This goes for:

Cleaning agents

plastic spray

Avoid harsh chemicals when you clean the disposal. Strong cleaning agents make the grinding components of the device corrode. This cuts down its lifespan. Instead, clean the blades with ice cubes and a little dish soap. It fights unpleasant smells and grease stains.

Also, check our guide: How to Clean a Garbage Disposal Safely, Quickly & Easily

Produce stickers

It’s okay to get rid of fruit peels through the garbage disposal but after you remove all produce stickers. Otherwise, they stick to the parts of the unit or the pipes and cause issues.


Tossing drugs down the garbage disposal is a bad idea due to environmental considerations. They affect the water supply.

Metal or broken glass

Be careful not to drop a metal or glass item in the device. If this still happens, turn off the disposal immediately. Take a fork, hook, or grabber to catch the item and remove it from the device. If this doesn’t work, try to pull out the piece with hands. Use gloves to protect them and be cautious. Always make sure the device is turned off to avoid a dangerous accident.

What Not to Put in Your Garbage Disposal - Sum UP:

It’s not critical if you accidentally put the above-mentioned foods in the garbage disposal. As long as you don’t make it a habit, you won’t end up responsible for blocking it. When such food scraps fall in the device, run cold water for 30 seconds to flush them down and avoid troubles.

Stick to our tips on what not to put in your garbage disposal to ensure its long-lasting use in your kitchen.

Started as a jack of all trades back in early 2012, Dmitri Kara is currently a recognized expert in a wide range of domestic and commercial trades. Dmitri has appeared for quite a few reputable outlets such as,,,,,, and many more. You can follow him on Twitter here.