What Not to Put in Sink Garbage Disposal

Best Selling Sink Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals have been an essential asset to homeowners for decades now. They make life easier by grinding and disposing of foods waste that could have otherwise accumulated in trash bags and landfills.

Although the garbage disposal works hard to reduce your waste load every day for years, it requires routine maintenance to prevent choking. While you can put plenty of food down the drain, here is a list of what not to put in sink garbage disposals.

List of What Not to Put in Sink Garbage Disposal

1. Coffee Ground

Few drops of coffee grounds are good for eliminating bad odor in your garbage disposal. However, even if they appear to be finely crushed, they are very dangerous when put down your garbage disposals. Due to their fine particles, coffee grounds form a thick and dense paste wad which eventually causes clogging to your disposal.

2. Potato Peels

Potato peels look thin, and you expect your garbage disposals to grind them very fast. But that is not true because when they get to the disposal, they act like tiny catcher mitt and eventually cause clogging the same way eggshells membranes do.

Although a few pieces may not cause harm, over time, they build up, which turns into a gluey mess inside your plumbing system.

3. Pasta

Food waste in the rice pasta family is known to expand when dipped in water. However, a few pieces of the rice remains will not harm when they get down the drain. But, trying to dispose of an entire plate of pasta will create a silky, sticky paste that attaches to the sides of the drainpipe, creating clogs and more damage than you thought.

However, you can prevent clogging by running your garbage disposals for thirty seconds after cleaning dishes with pasta leftovers. Then, run your cold water faucet to ensure the grains are flushed down without expanding them.

4. Onion Skins

Sliced, chopped, or diced onions are not harmful to your garbage disposal. However, the most dangerous part of the onion skins is the outer thin membrane that you remove and throw into the garbage bin before cutting the onion.

The onion skin looks tiny, but its effects on your disposal’s blades are huge. If it gets to the disposal, it misses the grinding blades wraps around it, or it attaches to the wedged drain where it traps other items and piles them together to create a clog eventually.

5. Egg Shells

There are myths about how eggshells help to sharpen your knives and disposal blades. But wait! Do disposals need sharp blades? Or have you ever sharpened your kitchen knife with a crate of eggs? None of the above myths is true!

The plain truth is that you can best use eggshells in your garden. And your disposal requires blades that are more blunt than sharp. However, eggshells contain a thin membrane layer on the inside (like the one for onions), and when they are crashed, the layer wraps around the blades, leading to serious problems.

6. Fibrous Vegetables and Fruits

While most vegetable peels are soft and pass through the garbage disposal, fibrous vegetables with long strands like celery, lettuce, artichokes, asparagus, rhubarb, and kales can get caught in the disposal blades and wrap around them. Avoid the mess by disposing them off to the trash or compost pit.

However, where small pieces escape your hands, don’t worry! When they are chopped into small sizes, they cause no harm, but it’s always good to avoid build-up.

7. Fruit Pits

Drainage disposals are known to tolerate a lot but not this hard seed of your peach or avocado. As a thumb rule says, if you can’t cut it by knife, the disposal won’t grind it! Hard center seeds will not damage your motor, but they will prevent the appliance from performing its incredible work properly.

The fruit pits rotate from corner to corner when put in the disposal, making it harder to grind. Although the blades may crash them once in a while, they eventually damage your disposal. Thus the next time you take a peach or avocado, put the pits into the trash bin to save your hardworking appliance.

8. Corn Husks

When husking your corn, it creates huge waste, which you should dispose of in your compost pit or trash bin rather than in the disposal. Corn husks are the most fibrous items you can find in the kitchen, and when let to drain to your disposal, they cause serious problems because they are hard to grind.

9. Grease and Oil

Grease and oil don’t need grinding, yet they cannot be allowed through the disposal. Although a few drops won’t harm your appliance, they fill the gaps in the grinding blades, reducing their efficiency. When grease oil gets into contact with the disposal base, it changes its state and solidifies, which causes major clogs and unpleasant smells.

10. Non-Foods Material

While the disposal is used to grind garbage that lands in your sink, any non-food items like fruit labels, serviettes, tissues, paper towels, and other plastic wrappers can cause major problems to your garbage disposal.

The same case applies to cutlery and other small items like safety pins which can pass through your disposal, and while they can damage your disposal blades, they can connect to your water supply line where filtration is done. Would you please get rid of such items by throwing them into the trash bag to reduce risk?

Some cleaning chemicals besides dish soap are harsh to the disposal unit system, and they may corrode the grinding blades.

11. Broken Glass

In case you break glass when washing, never put it to the drain. Instead, remove the pieces and dispose of them in the trash bag. But if a few pieces get to the disposal, turn it off and try to remove the glass pieces with a fork or wear your protective gloves to remove them by hand.

While all the above items may affect the functioning of your disposal, there is still secure food waste allowed to run through the drain without causing damage. Let’s see below.

What to Put in Sink Garbage Disposal

Drainage disposals are built to grind and compress biodegradable food waste. Although dangerous if allowed to grind unsafe items and food materials, here is what to put in the garbage disposal.

1. Citrus Rinds

Throwing oranges and other citrus fruit rinds in the garbage disposal are ground and help clean naturally while leaving a fresh smell. The citrus family fruits contain sanitizing enzymes that add value to them besides being eaten as a fruit.

2. Small Particles of Coffee Grounds

Yes, small particles of coffee grounds are good for cleaning your disposal but don’t overdo it. If you put a lot, it will settle at the bottom and clog your appliance, as we have mentioned above.

3. Meat Scraps

It’s okay to allow the small meat piece down your disposal drain when cleaning your plates. However, don’t let huge chunks of meat in there as they will block the blades from spinning.

4. Soft Fruits and Vegetables

Most fruits and vegetables are soft and go down to the disposal with ease. Ensure they are not fibrous like the artichokes as the long threads wrap around the blades, causing clogs. The best fruits include apples, bananas, berries, oranges, and grapes

5. Small Bones

Although bones are hard to break using the garbage disposal small bones will not cause harm as it grinds without problems. However, avoid as much as you can throwing bones in your garbage disposal.

6. Canned Cat Food

If your cat leaves food in the pet plate, you can comfortably wash it and drain the food waste to the disposal. This is because the food is always refined to dissolve and run through the drain pipes.

7. Ice Cubes

Ice cubes may appear hard, but they have tremendous effects on the disposal blades. Dropping a handful of cubes in the garbage disposal frequently helps in improving the quality of the blades. It sharpens and cleans them for continued efficient use.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Do You Put Down a Garbage Disposal to Make it Smell Better

 One of the best methods of cleaning and freshening your garbage disposal is baking soda and vinegar. When the two cleaning reagents combine, the bubbling effect kills bacteria and germs naturally, eliminating bad odors from the disposal.

You can also throw oranges and other citrus fruits in the disposal as they will freshen the disposal while being ground.

2. Is it okay to put hot water down a garbage disposal

It’s not okay to put hot water while the grind is on. The perfect time to use hot water is after using the garbage disposal.

3. What can you put in a garbage disposal sink

Although garbage disposal can handle different types of food waste, it cannot replace a trash can or bin. Here is what to put in the sink garbage disposal

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Cooked Meat scraps
  • Small bones
  • Leftover food
  • Ice
  • Pet canned food

4. Do ice cubes sharpen garbage disposal blades?

Yes, they do. Putting ice cubes in the garbage disposal once in a while and running it is okay as it helps maintain them. They are hard enough to sharpen the blades without causing harm.

5. Should you run the garbage disposal with hot or cold water?

Streams of cool or cold water are the best for use when the disposal is running. This answers the question as to why oil and grease should not be allowed to drain in the garbage disposal. Hot water is not safe for use, even if it breaks down these fats. The best remedy is to control them from getting to the drain.


Garbage disposal is one of the most hardworking appliances in your kitchen. Familiarizing yourself with what to put in the sink garbage disposal avoids damaging it. If handled well, it can serve you for a long time since it requires minimal maintenance.

Avoid putting all your food waste in the garbage disposal and use your trash bags, cans, and composite pit.

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