What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal | What Can You Put Down a Garbage Disposal?

What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal

food scraps can go in the garbage disposal

The life of a garbage disposal can vary, but one way to help ensure yours lasts longer is through proper use. It's important to know what not to put in a garbage disposal. Your kitchen sink is a cornerstone of the home, and the disposal is part of what makes it so useful and convenient. You can prolong the life of this essential appliance by following a few guidelines.

What Shouldn't Go in the Disposal?

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of things you should not put down a disposal:

  • Celery - fibrous vegetables are risky, and celery is one of the most fibrous.
  • Pumpkin - the same as above goes for pumpkin.
  • Corn husks - same as above.
  • Eggshells - there is a debate about eggshells. Some think it's good for the blade's sharpness, while others believe the membrane of the eggshell can stick to the inner workings of the disposal.
  • Potato peels - most starchy vegetables can gunk up the disposal chamber.
  • Shells - shellfish are too dense for the disposal. This includes crab, crayfish, lobster, oysters, clams, etc.
  • Onion skins - kind of like with eggshells, the membrane is the problem for your disposal blade.
  • Cleaning chemicals - this includes any cleaner with harsh chemicals. It does not include ordinary dish soap and the like.
  • Coffee grounds - they turn into sludge and stick around longer than they should.
  • Pasta - the fact that pasta is always expanding with the addition of water, it can gum up the works in your disposal chamber.
  • Oatmeal - the same as above goes for oatmeal.
  • Nuts - your garbage disposal can handle a few nuts, but you don't want to be dropping big handfuls in there.
  • Grease - the recommendation to avoid grease has more do with the fact that grease is problematic for your plumbing pipe.
  • Paint - you don't want paint in your plumbing pipes or your garbage disposal. Throw it in the trash.
  • Bones - it's likely that your blade will spin around pushing the bones within the chamber, rather than cutting them. Put them in the trash where they belong.
  • Fruit pits - don't do it, you'll dull the blade.

Check out this helpful infographic by InSinkErator:

infographic what can you put in the garbage disposal

Can You Put Trash in the Garbage Disposal?

No! This may seem like an odd question, but it is confusing to people because garbage disposal is a misnomer. Maybe they should change the name to food waste disposal to avoid the mix-up. Do not put trash in the garbage disposal.

How to Get Glass Out of a Garbage Disposal

If you've accidentally broken a tumbler (it happens) in the sink, you may end with glass in the garbage disposal by accident. What do you do in this instance? Whatever you do, don't reach your hand in and start grabbing at stuff.

food scraps are cut into bits by garbage disposals
  1. Cut off the power supply to the disposal
  2. Use pliers to pull out the large pieces
  3. Use a wet/dry shop vac to suck out the small bits
  4. Use a hex key to move the blades and then rerun the vac to get those last remnants
  5. Run the tap

What Can You Put Down a Garbage Disposal?

As a general rule of thumb, you can put most food scraps (meat, fruit, vegetables) down a garbage disposal. Review the list above to see the exceptions to that rule. Remember, they need to be scraps of food. It's not a good idea to throw large pieces of food in there. Put those in the trash.

Here is a helpful Howcast video that goes into more detail on the topic.

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If you need to update your kitchen, you're in the right place. PlumberStock has excellent deals on garbage disposals from your favorite brands (InSinkErator, Waste King), and more. Contact us if you have any questions related to your kitchen or plumbing in general.

Related resources:
Cleaning & Deodorizing a Garbage Disposal
How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?
Installing a Garbage Disposal
Diagnosing a Broken Garbage Disposal
How to Fix a Garbage Disposal Leak
Garbage Disposal Buyer's Guide
Unjamming a Garbage Disposal
How to Wire a Garbage Disposal

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