What Not To Put in a Garbage Disposal?

by Paul

A garbage disposal is an essential appliance to maintain cleanliness and convenience in the kitchen. It handles all the trash you throw it, but it also has limitations. Like any other appliance, to make sure your garbage disposal lasts a long period, you should know how to use it properly. You should have a clear knowledge about what to and what not to put in garbage disposal.

Many people get an irritated hearing that you cannot put all kind of trash in your disposal. Well, you actually can put most of the trash a kitchen produce. But, there are few of things that can cause harm to the unit or can get clogged in the drainage system. To avoid this kind of disturbances, one should put those few items inside a garbage bag instead of a disposal unit.

If you put any of the following things inside your disposal, it may cause harm or get clogged. That can cause harm to your disposal unit or even break it down totally. Here are the following foods that I list as what not to put in garbage disposal.

what not to put in garbage disposal

Grease, Fat, and Oil

Avoid putting a lot amount of grease, fat or oil inside your disposal unit. Many say that, whenever we wash dishes, sometimes oil is automatically going inside the disposal sink. Yes, that’s unavoidable. That much oil is ok to go inside the disposal.

But do not put too much oil or grease or fatty element inside your disposal to dispose of. The grease or oil can get hard inside the disposal and clog your drain lines or grinding chamber. It is really hard to clean the sticky harden oil from the disposal.

Stringy Vegetables

If you have a disposal that has aged and gets jammed or clogged occasionally, you should not put stringy vegetables like, celery, asparagus, lettuce, kale, artichokes, etc. in the disposal. The long strings can get clogged with the impeller blades and jam the whole unit.

In the case of a new disposal, you may throw these types of foods. Manufactures like InSinkErator claims that their multi grinding system can get rid of any kind of long stringy food waste. So, depending on how new and powerful your disposal is, you can decide which of this food you can put or not.

Pasta & Rice

Pasta & rice are starchy and sticky, gets easily caught in anything. So I’ll suggest to totally avoid putting cooked pasta and rice in garbage disposal to avoid bad clogs in drain lines and the unit.

These types of foods get paste like consistency while grinding with water and gets easily stuck in anything. When the water dries, it is quite impossible to clean the hard-stuck leftovers from the unreachable places. These harden elements just helps to build up more clog inside the system. So, it is better to totally not put pasta and rice in garbage disposal.

Rough Bones & Hard Fruit Pits

A disposal is never meant to grind the big chunk leftover bones. You better save it for your pets but not the disposal. Rough bones will simply destroy the shedder rings and the spinning impeller.

If you put hard bones inside your disposal unit, it the hard bones will not get ground but keep hitting the shedder ring and the impeller. It will destroy the sharpness and the ability to process food waste. The same type of damage is done by the hard fruit pits.

Soft bones like fish bones, small chicken bone pieces can be processed through a disposal unit. But always say no to big bones and hard fruit pits.

Eggshell & Coffee Ground

There are two types of saying about eggshells in garbage disposal. Eggshell works as a sharpener of the grinding blades inside the disposal chamber.

If you think that your disposal blades are not working recently, give a sharpening spin by putting an eggshell and grinding it. While grinding the eggshells in garbage disposal will sharpen the unit’s edges.

Many people do not prefer to put eggshells in garbage disposal. If the eggshells are not ground thinly, the leftovers may cause clog inside the drain lines.

Same goes if you throw coffee grounds in garbage disposal. Coffee is not harmful to your garbage disposal. But the small shredded coffee leftovers may inspire building a clogged drain line. So, before you put coffee grounds in garbage disposal consider the chance of having this problem.

 It’s up to you if you put these two things in your what not to put in garbage disposal list.

Non-Food Items

Do not ever put any type of non-food item in your garbage disposal. Your disposal is unable to process anything except food. So, things like, paper, plastic, cigarette butts, sponges, rubber bands; which accidentally can get into a disposal unit can cause harm to the unit.

Putting any of these items can jam the unit so badly that you may totally remove the garbage disposal to clean the jam. So, use the disposal bit carefully and never put anything other than food items.

Make sure that your disposal never gets any metal or glass item inside it. If any metal or glass element accidentally falls inside a disposal and your disposal turns on, it will completely destroy the sharp swivel impeller. So if you don’t want to have a broken disposal nonfood items are what not to put down a garbage disposal. Knowing this also helps prolong the life of your garbage disposal.


A garbage disposal is mainly designed to process your foods in small pieces by grinding and pass throw the plumbing. Many of us may think that there are grinding blades like our food processors inside the garbage disposal chamber. Even though they are most of the time called blades, but instead of blades, the disposal unit contains impeller that spins inside the chamber.

There are shedder rings around the chamber’s body. When the impeller spins, the food particles get thrown to the sharp shedder ring and comes back. This process continues until the food is small enough to go through the drain line.

Also consider maintaining the garbage disposal unit and clan it regularly. This is very important. Using a bit carefully can make sure a longer period of usage of your disposal unit. Have a clear idea of what to and what not to put in garbage disposal and maintain like that.