What You Can and Cannot Put in the Garbage Disposal

Craig Plumbing Blog Posts(5)

If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, you know how convenient they are for getting rid of food scraps. But you may be wondering, what exactly can I put down the disposal?

The answer is: quite a lot! Most food waste can go into the garbage disposal, including fruit and vegetables,(NO PEEL’S)  meat scraps, and dairy products. In fact, using your disposal can help to make kitchen clean up fast and easy, and eliminates a stinky kitchen trash!

Word of Caution: This handy kitchen appliance can handle a wide range of foods, but don't treat it like a trash can!

Many people think that anything can go down the garbage disposal, but there are actually some things you should avoid putting in your disposal to keep it working properly and to avoid damaging your plumbing.


What is a garbage disposal?

A garbage disposal, also known as a waste disposal unit or food waste disposer, is a device that grinds food waste into small pieces so it can be easily rinsed down the drain. It is installed under the kitchen sink, between the trap and the drain.

There are many different brands and models of garbage disposals, but they all work in essentially the same way. When you turn on the disposal, a spinning blade or blades shreds the food waste into smaller pieces. Simultaneously, water is pumped into the unit to flush the waste down the drain. The grinding and flushing action of the disposal cleans it out so you don't have to worry about food scraps building up and causing problems.


So what can you put into your garbage disposal?

In general, it's safe to put most food scraps and non-greasy food waste down the garbage disposal that can be easily rinsed down the drain is OK. This includes things like:

-Fruit and vegetable scraps

-Cooked meat scraps

-Coffee grounds (in small amounts)

Some people also like to grind up food items in their disposal to freshen up their kitchen sink area. This includes things like:

-Fresh herbs

-Ice cubes (to sharpen and clean the blades)


Eggshells are questionable!

Some people say it is OK to put eggshells into the garbage disposal, often to sharpen the blades. This is NOT true. While the shells don't have a significant impact on the disposal blades, the membrane inside the shells is a different story. This can actually wrap around the blades and cause problems. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to eggshells. Either compost them or throw them away in the trash.


What should you avoid putting in your garbage disposal?

There are some things you should avoid putting in your garbage disposal to keep it working properly and to avoid damaging your plumbing. These include:

-Hard pits from fruits, like apricots, peaches, and plums

-Any peel of any kind

-Animal bones

-Fat, grease, and oil

-Stringy or fibrous vegetables, like celery, asparagus, and onion skins

-Coffee grinds (in large amounts)

-Coffee filters

-Non-food items like cigarette butts or bottle caps

Putting these things in your garbage disposal can damage the blades, clog the drain, or even cause the unit to break down entirely.

If you're not sure if something can go down the garbage disposal, err on the side of caution and throw it in the trash instead.


Important things to remember when using your garbage disposal:

-Run cold water: Cold water helps to solidify any fats or oils in the food waste so they can be more easily shredded by the blades. It also keeps the blades from getting too hot and dulling.

-Run the water before and after: You should always run the water for a few seconds before turning on the disposal, and let it run for a few seconds after the disposal has finished grinding. This will help to flush any small pieces of food out of the unit.

-Avoid putting hard objects down the disposal: The blades can break if you try to grind up hard objects like bones or glass. Avoid putting these types of things in the garbage disposal.

-Grind up food waste in small batches: Overloading the garbage disposal can cause it to jam.

-Don't put stringy or fibrous foods in the disposal: Foods like celery, onion skins, and pumpkin guts can tangle around the blades and cause the motor to overheat.

Following these tips will help keep your garbage disposal working properly for years to come.

Contact Us Today for Assistance

Our professionals at Craig Plumbing can help you with:

  • Recommendations on selecting the right disposal for your kitchen needs
  • Garbage disposal installation
  • Replacing an old garbage disposal and wiring the new one