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What Not to Put in the Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are a handy tool in the kitchen, but there are some things you should never put down the drain. When you plan to install one, you and your family need to learn what is and isn't safe to put down the drain.

What Not to Put in the Garbage Disposal

A broken and smelly garbage disposal is never good. If yours is broken or you have questions about how to use it, contact the experts at Titan Plumbing.

Garbage Disposal Basics

A garbage disposal (garburator) can break easily if you're not careful. It is installed into the sink drain and uses a spinning blade to grind up food waste. It is designed specifically for soft foods such as fruits, vegetables, and eggshells.

The garbage disposal prevents blockage and damage to the sewer line. If you try to put anything else down there, it can break the garbage disposal, jam particles in the motor, or cause other damage that may lead to costly repair bills.

What Can go Down a Garbage Disposal

Generally, soft fruits and liquids are allowed down the garbage disposal. Anything hard, stringy, or greasy should not go down there. In addition, some objects are helpful to your garburator. These include;

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes clean and sharpen garburator blades. Throw a handful of ice cubes down the disposal every two weeks to prevent a build-up of debris on the blades. While making the ice cubes, add a few drops of vinegar or lemon juice to freshen up your garbage disposal unit. However, if your unit has impellers instead of blades, the use of ice cubes is unnecessary.

Citrus Fruits

There are two benefits to putting citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits down your garbage disposal. The citrus acids will help to break down gunk in the disposal while the oils will freshen up your kitchen.

Cold Running Water

Always run cool or cold water when using your garbage disposal. Hot water can melt grease and make it harder to grind food particles. Leave the water running for at least ten seconds both before and after use. This will move garbage down the drain. Cold water also moves fat more easily down the drain to avoid future problems.

Biodegradable Dish Soap

If you're having trouble getting rid of tough particles, add a few drops of biodegradable dish soap. This will help to break apart the grease and food particles so they can be flushed down the drain. Try not to use too much soap as it can cause build-up in your pipes.

What Not to Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Now that you know what can go down the drain, it's important to know what not to put in the garbage disposal. Here are seven items to avoid putting in your garbage disposal:

Hard foods

Nuts, bones, potato peels, and other hard foods are all too tough for a garbage disposal unit. These can wrap around the blades and cause jams or damage.

Grease and oil

Grease and oil can make your garbage disposal clog up or even break since they are difficult to dissolve in water. Be sure to scrape off any grease or oil from dishes before running them through the disposal. But then, for some foods like salad dressing, you have to run them down the drain. Use cold water so that the fat remains solid as it goes down.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can clog up your disposal and cause bad odors. They can also build up over time, so it's best to avoid putting them down the drain. You should rather place them in your compost bin or garbage can.


You may have heard that eggshells are good for garbage disposal, but this is actually a myth. Eggshells may seem soft, but they can be quite sharp. The membranes inside the shell can wrap around the blades and cause damage. If you must put them down the garbage disposal, make sure to run plenty of water to avoid any damage.

Potato Peels

Potato peels are one of the most common items that people put down the garbage disposal, but they shouldn't. These can cause the blades to become dull over time. Since they are small enough to escape the blades, they may build up in the pipes and cause a clog. If you must get rid of them, dispose of them in the trash can.

Dry Expandable Foods

Expandable foods like pasta and rice can be difficult to grind down. It's best to avoid putting these foods in your garbage disposal, as it may lead to a clog. If you have a few leftover pieces, throw them in the trash can. That is safer for your garburator and pipes.

Onion Skins

Like the eggshell, onion skin has a membrane on the inside of the skin. For this reason, you should never put them down the garbage disposal. They may wrap around the blades and cause damage or even a clog over time. If possible, avoid adding these items to your kitchen waste in the first place!

Now that you know what to put down your garbage disposal, and what not to put down the drain, you can keep your kitchen running smoothly. Be sure to run cold water and use biodegradable dish soap when breaking down tough particles.

And most importantly, avoid putting hard foods, grease and oil, coffee grounds, eggshells, potato peels, expandable foods, and onion skins down the garbage disposal. These items can cause damage or even a clog over time. With this knowledge, you can keep your kitchen running smoothly for years to come!

Reach Out to Us if You Have Problems With Your Garbage Disposal

If you are ever having problems with your garbage disposal and need professional help, don't hesitate to call Titan Plumbing at (813) 680-2075. We have the tools and experience needed to fix any garbage disposal problem, big or small. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!