Renters and property owners have a fast and sanitary method of eliminating food wastes from the household without inundating the trash bins and landfills. While the garbage disposal is an outstanding appliance, it’s not meant to handle everything.

Feeding inappropriate things into the garbage disposal unit can create clogs, foul odors, and eventually lead to a malfunction. Ice cubes, soft and chopped foods, and peels are fine moving through the unit, but some things are better being put in the compost pile.

What Should You Not Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal unit is the ideal appliance for keeping food wastes cleaned up without tossing them in the trash or having them end up in the landfill. The modern disposal is a quick, sanitary, and simple way to grind items and will do so for an extended life with adequate care and upkeep.

That maintenance involves only feeding the machine appropriate things, including soft or chopped foods, peels, and ice. This can help keep the unit operating and avoid clogs in the drain.

Learn garbage disposal dos and don’ts and the best methods for cleaning at Here are things you want to avoid feeding into the garbage disposal and drain.

Coffee Grounds

Grandmas will tell you that a few coffee grounds poured into the garbage disposal keep the odors away. While this is essentially true, the premise needs to be debunked. Coffee grounds shouldn’t go into the sink drain or garbage disposal.

If you consider the chunk that forms when sitting in the filter, the result in the drain is comparable: a thick, dense clump. This can create a terrific clog that’s challenging to remove. Coffee grounds do a much better job of keeping pests away from your garden with their pungent aroma.

Other methods are much more effective at clearing the garbage disposal of odors like citrus peels.


When making these sorts of foods, you’ll notice that the food expands once exposed to water. This is a reason to avoid pouring these into a sink drain or feeding them into a garbage disposal unit, where they will form a wad.

If you run a few bits from a dinner plate through, run the coldest water along with the pasta and then for roughly 30 seconds following to get it past the trap to the main line.


A garbage disposal is an appliance meant to grind and eliminate food waste, but the grinding is limited. These machines aren’t made to cut through hard pieces like bones. Things like fish and chicken wing bones occasionally slipping into the drain or disposal aren’t cause for upset. Disposals are rugged machines.

Difficulties can arise if you start dropping heavy bones like a T-bone into the system for grinding. That can spell malfunction.

Onion Skins

Onion waste in a disposal is generally not a problem when the onion is diced, chopped, or in slices and chunks. The issues arise when the thin skin that covers the vegetable beneath the outer, dry layer. The wet, thin skin is usually pulled off and tossed into the sink before slicing the onion.

This skin is too thin for the blades to catch it, so it usually becomes lodged in the drain, acting as a magnet pulling other items in, attaching them to it. You can avoid this issue by tossing this skin in the trash bin or chopping it up before throwing it in the disposal.

That few extra seconds could prevent having to call in a plumber for a clogged drain.

All Kinds Of Nuts

When you have a few extra nuts that you don’t want to throw in the trash bin so you toss them in the drain to be ground up by the disposal, you should consider what happens when peanuts or other nuts go in a grinder. This is how peanut butter is made.

When your disposal mashes these nuts into the same thick, pasty mess, you’ll have a terrible time trying to clean it out. And until you realize it’s in there, it will likely result in a terrific clog, one that’s challenging to break free without the help of a professional.


There’s a debate about putting eggshells in the garbage disposal, with some believing that these sharpen the blades. That’s a myth that many are unsure where it started.

Eggshells shouldn’t be fed into the appliance. While the shell itself shouldn’t cause any damage, when you examine the inside, you will see thin skin resembling the onion’s thin layer mentioned earlier.

This can come loose and wedge in the drain or around the piece in the disposal (the rotor or impeller) that tosses the food waste against the blades. A good place for eggshells is in the garden.


PitsAvocados and peaches are incredible foods, but each has a tough pit in the middle. When you can’t cut or chop an item with a knife, the garbage disposal won’t be able to grind it with the blades. It could take a few swipes, but the damage to the appliance would likely result in buying a new machine.

It would help if you refrained from feeding hard items into the system regularly. As mentioned, disposals are durable, and likely, this won’t “kill the motor,” but it can keep it from functioning adequately when disposing of waste, causing you to replace the machine.

Final Thought

Most property owners and renters appreciate how easy life can be with a garbage disposal in the kitchen. Turning a switch eliminates food waste in a sanitary and fast sweep.

The durable, hardworking equipment can last an extended lifespan with adequate care and upkeep. Read here about the many benefits of garbage disposal units for your kitchen.

Ice cubes help keep the system clean. Soft or chopped foods and fruit peels are also acceptable in the machine. Becoming familiar with what should be fed through is essential to keeping the machine efficient and optimally functional.

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