What Can I Put Down a Garbage Disposal: Essential Dos and Don’ts

What Can I Put Down a Garbage Disposal?

You can put soft, liquid, and biodegradable foods down a garbage disposal unit.

Some acceptable items include citrus rinds, vegetable scraps, fruits, and cooked meat scraps.

It is advisable to chop large food items to avoid straining the unit.

However, there are certain foods that should not be put in a garbage disposal.

These include eggshells, coffee grounds, cooking oil, grease, corn husks, potato peels, rice, beans, small bones, seafood shells, onion skins, small amounts of pasta and rice, peanut butter, fruit pits, and non-food items such as rubber bands, twist ties, and cigarette butts.

Running the garbage disposal with cold water can help prolong its lifespan.

Composting food waste is also a viable alternative to using a garbage disposal.

Key Points:

  • Soft, liquid, and biodegradable foods are safe to put down a garbage disposal
  • Acceptable items include citrus rinds, vegetable scraps, fruits, and cooked meat scraps
  • Chop large food items to avoid straining the unit
  • Certain foods should not be put in a garbage disposal, including:
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cooking oil
  • Grease
  • Corn husks
  • Potato peels
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Small bones
  • Seafood shells
  • Onion skins
  • Small amounts of pasta and rice
  • Peanut butter
  • Fruit pits
  • Non-food items such as rubber bands, twist ties, and cigarette butts
  • Running the garbage disposal with cold water can prolong its lifespan
  • Composting food waste is a viable alternative to using a garbage disposal.

Did You Know?

1. Contrary to popular belief, citrus peels are not recommended to be put down a garbage disposal. The acidity in the peels can corrode the metal parts of the disposal over time, leading to costly repairs.

2. While coffee grounds may seem harmless to dispose of in a garbage disposal, they tend to clump together and create a paste-like substance that can clog the drains. It is best to dispose of coffee grounds in the compost or regular trash.

3. Potato peels should be avoided in a garbage disposal, as they have a high starch content that can quickly turn into a thick paste, causing blockages in the pipes.

4. Fibrous foods such as celery and artichokes can wrap around the disposal blades, leading to a jammed or broken unit. It is recommended to dispose of them in the regular trash or compost them.

5. Pasta and rice should not be put down the garbage disposal, as they expand with moisture and can create blockages. They are better disposed of in the regular trash or composted.

Acceptable Foods For A Garbage Disposal

Garburators, also known as garbage disposals, are highly efficient appliances that help us dispose of food waste without clogging our sinks. They are designed to handle soft, liquid, and biodegradable food items. When used correctly, they can make our lives much easier by reducing the amount of waste we send to landfills.

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Here are some acceptable foods that can safely go down a garbage disposal unit:

  • Citrus rinds: The natural oils in citrus peels can freshen up your disposal unit and mask odors.
  • Vegetable scraps: Leftover bits of vegetables like carrot tops, celery stalks, and onion skins can be ground up easily.
  • Fruits: Small fruit scraps like apple cores and banana peels are safe to dispose of.
  • Cooked meat scraps: Leftover cooked meat, such as chicken or beef, can be ground up without any issues.

However, it’s important to note that large food items should be chopped into smaller pieces before being put down the garbage disposal. This helps to prevent strain on the unit and ensure smooth operation.

Forbidden Foods For A Garbage Disposal

Forbidden Foods for Your Garbage Disposal

While garburators can handle a wide range of food waste, it is important to remember that there are several items that should never be put down a garbage disposal. These forbidden foods can cause damage to the appliance, lead to clogs, or result in other plumbing issues. Here are some foods you should avoid putting in your garbage disposal:

  • Eggshells: The thin membrane inside eggshells can stick to the grinders and cause blockages.
  • Coffee grounds: They tend to accumulate and attract grease, potentially leading to clogs.
  • Cooking oil and grease: Pouring these substances down the sink can cause them to thicken and stick in the plumbing lines, resulting in drain clogs.
  • Corn husks: Due to their fibrous nature, corn husks can wrap around the grinding discs of the garbage disposal, causing it to get stuck.
  • Potato peels: High starch content in potato peels can turn into a thick paste that clogs the garbage disposal. They can also accumulate in drain traps or pipes, leading to clogs.
  • Rice and beans: When ground up, both rice and beans turn into a starchy substance that can clog drains.
  • Small bones and seafood shells: These hard items can damage the appliance and cause blockages.
  • Onion skins, pasta, rice, peanut butter, and fruit pits: These items are also contributors to clogs and plumbing issues.
  • Non-food items: Items such as rubber bands, twist ties, and cigarette butts should never be disposed of in a garbage disposal.

Remember, avoiding these forbidden foods will help keep your garbage disposal functioning properly and prevent unnecessary and costly plumbing problems.

Proper Use Of A Garbage Disposal

To ensure the longevity and proper functioning of your garbage disposal, it’s important to use it correctly. Here are some tips for proper use:

1. Start by running cold water before and after using the garbage disposal. Cold water helps solidify fats, making it easier to grind them up and wash them away.

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2. Feed food waste gradually and in small amounts to prevent overloading the unit.

3. Avoid using hot water as it can melt fats and send them down the drain, potentially causing clogs.

4. Always run the water for at least 15 seconds after turning off the disposal. This helps wash any remaining food particles through the drain holes in the chamber wall.

  • Remember to use cold water when using the garbage disposal.
  • Feed food waste gradually and in small amounts to prevent overloading.
  • Avoid using hot water to prevent clogs.
  • After turning off the disposal, run the water for at least 15 seconds.

Proper usage of a garbage disposal is essential for its longevity and functionality.

Tips For Preventing Clogs In A Garbage Disposal

Preventing clogs in your garbage disposal is essential for its smooth operation. Here are some tips to keep your unit free from clogs:

  • Grind ice cubes or rock salt in your garbage disposal to help break up any residue and keep the blades sharp.
  • Use a garbage disposal cleaner or create your own by mixing vinegar and baking soda. This helps remove any buildup and eliminates odors.
  • Regularly clean the rubber flaps or splash guard to remove any food particles that may accumulate.
  • Avoid pouring large amounts of fibrous materials, like celery or corn husks, into the garbage disposal as they can tangle and cause clogs.

Alternatives To Using A Garbage Disposal

If you prefer not to use a garbage disposal or want to reduce your environmental impact, composting is an excellent option for dealing with food waste. It allows you to turn food scraps into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. By composting, you can minimize waste, reduce odors, and nourish your plants naturally.

Remember to always be mindful of what you put down your garbage disposal and take proper precautions to ensure its proper operation.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put rice in garbage disposal?

While it is generally advisable to avoid putting rice in a garbage disposal due to its water-absorbent nature, the occasional grain sliding down the drain shouldn’t cause any major issues. However, it is still better to dispose of pasta or rice in the trash to prevent potential clogs in the drain.

1. What types of food waste can be safely put down a garbage disposal?

Garbage disposals are designed to handle small amounts of food waste, but not all types of food waste can be safely put down a garbage disposal. It is generally safe to dispose of soft food scraps like fruit peels, vegetable trimmings, leftover grains, and small amounts of cooked meat or fish. These types of food waste can break down easily and be processed by the disposal system without causing clogs or damage.

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However, it is important to avoid putting non-food items, fibrous foods, grease, bones, coffee grounds, eggshells, or large quantities of food waste into the garbage disposal. Non-food items can damage the disposal blades or cause blockages, while fibrous foods like celery or corn husks can get tangled in the mechanism and cause clogs. Grease can solidify and cause blockages over time, while bones are too hard and can damage the disposal. Coffee grounds and eggshel can contribute to clogs and should be disposed of in alternative ways. It’s always a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific garbage disposal model and avoid putting anything down it that could potentially cause clogs or damage.

2. Are there any items that should never be put down a garbage disposal?

Yes, there are certain items that should never be put down a garbage disposal. These include hard objects like bones, fruit pits, and shells, as they can damage the blades and motor of the disposal. Fibrous foods like celery and corn husks should also be avoided as they can wrap around the blades and cause blockages. Grease and oils should never be poured down the disposal as they can solidify and clog the pipes. It is important to always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations and use common sense when deciding what to put down the garbage disposal to avoid any damage or costly repairs.

3. How can I properly clean and maintain my garbage disposal to ensure optimal performance?

To properly clean and maintain your garbage disposal for optimal performance, there are a few important steps to follow. First, make sure to run cold water before, during, and after using the disposal to help flush out any debris or food particles. Avoid using hot water as it can cause the waste to solidify and clog the pipes.

Next, you can use a natural cleaner such as baking soda and vinegar. Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by one cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then rinse it off with hot water.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to avoid putting large or hard items down the disposal, like bones or fruit pits. Instead, stick to smaller food scraps and make sure to cut them into smaller pieces before disposing of them. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your garbage disposal will help prevent clogs and keep it running smoothly for longer.

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