Don’t Put These Items In Your Garbage Disposal

November 27, 2013 | By | Comments (14)

kitchen sink

That turkey dinner sure is delicious, but—let’s face it—there’s nothing fun about the clean-up. Before you stuff all the fixings down the drain and tackle those dirty dishes, remember that plumbers are generally inundated with emergency calls the day after Thanksgiving.

To keep the plumber out of your kitchen on Black Friday, the experts at HomeAdvisor recommend tossing these items instead of putting them down the sink:

• Since grease hardens when it cools, it can clog your pipes.  
• Coffee grounds can get stuck inside the trap of your disposal.
• Pits and seeds (even small ones, like olive pits) can get stuck in your disposal and clog the drain.
• Stringy, fibrous, or starchy vegetables can wrap around your disposal’s blade and cause a blockage.
• Because rice and pasta both swell when they’re submerged in water, they can gather in the trap of your disposal and clog it over time.
• The thin membrane inside of egg shells can wrap around your disposal’s blade. 
• And, the obvious: Bones can easily get stuck in your disposal.

Finally finished doing the dishes? Use this trick to deodorize your garbage disposal.


  1. Debscer

    Add potatoe peels to that

    November 27, 2013 at 9:27 am
  2. Rosemary

    The plumber told me that modern garbage disposals are actually great for grinding up bones. But bones are not something I want or need to put in the disposal. The very things that I most want to dispose of are the same things that plumbers tell me shouldn’t go down there. You mentioned a few: coffee grounds, grease, starchy or fibrous things. My disposal once stopped completely and required a plumber because I tried to get rid of old cole slaw. Soft mushy things – which most of us want to put into the disposal rather than the trash – are exactly the things that plumbers over the years have told me never to put in there. On the other hand, bones and crumbs are perfectly safe. It is completely counterintuitive. I don’t use my disposal at all any more.

    November 27, 2013 at 11:58 am
  3. Brad E Wakeman

    This would be a good plug for composting, too, as all but the grease and bones can be diverted to your local compost pile and saving that much more landfill space. :-)

    November 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm
  4. VanSan

    So what can you use your disposal for? Seems like it’s pretty useless for what most people want to use it for!

    November 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm
  5. gerrie

    my dad is a master plumber & i use my disposal for practically everything! i do not use it for artichokes, celery, onion peels (any similar paper-like peels) and olive pits. i use it for everything else, including coffee grinds, potato peels and bones! i keep a bottle in my freezer for old grease & dispose of it when it is full.

    November 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm
  6. Ellen Huberty

    Do not put shrimp shells in, they block up the whole thing!

    November 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm
  7. Paula

    I put almost everything in it!

    November 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm
  8. CT in AK

    When you have a septic system, especially in a climate that is really too cold for microbial decomposition to work well in winter, you become much more aware of where stuff goes. I guess if you’ve got a tertiary sewage treatment plant in you community it’s OK to put anything down your disposal that doesn’t break it. But for the rest of us, consider that when you try to flush everything down the kitchen sink, you are either going to incur an expensive septic system repair, or that your ground up waste food is ending up in a nearby waterway, where it will cause problems to downstream biota.

    In short, there’s no such thing as out of sight, out of mind. Try to minimize food waste, compost what you can, and put the rest in the trash. Disposals are a really bad idea — they make your laziness something the rest of us, plus the natural world, has to pay for.

    November 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm
  9. wendybarronwrites

    I put egg shells, potato peelings, coffee grounds, small amounts of cooked rice and pasta, shrimp shells, and cut-up stringy veggies down mine all the time. I draw the line at corn husks and cobs, and the leafy tops of pineapples – those and bones and grease go in our compost. The only times I’ve ever had a jam, it’s been the result of to much greenery (mostly herbs) at once.

    November 27, 2013 at 11:51 pm
  10. Dana

    COCONUT! It clumps together and will KILL your garbage disposal. I had to replace mine following a coconut incident one year around Easter.

    November 28, 2013 at 8:05 am
  11. Mary

    Both my kitchen double sinks stopped up yesterday. Running the garbage disposal just transferred dirty water to the other sink and left some in the garbage disposal sink. Plumber came and unstopped it….I had put a small amount of grease in it, but nothing else verboten He then told me not to use my garbage disposal for ANYTHING. I’ve had a garbage disposal for more than 30 years w/no prior problems….if I can’t use it, what good is it to me? I’m very confused.

    November 28, 2013 at 11:31 am
  12. Melinda

    Thank you for helpful tips. I’ve always faces issues with the kitchen sink pipes no matter how hard I try not to putting down the sink stuff that could clug the pipe. Did you know there was a device that could grind all of the above mentioned items. All you need to do is, install it inside the sink pipe. However it is quite expensive and I guess, not affordable for most households.

    December 6, 2013 at 9:40 am
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