Our relationships with garbage disposals are somewhat abusive. We only talk (angrily) to them when they are not happy taking all the garbage we dish out, we keep feeding them all the things that we won’t eat ourselves and if that isn’t bad enough, they have to listen to our bad singing while we wash dishes. While it could be tempting to cram a picture of “Mr. Wrong” down there after a bad break up, keep in mind that cleaning out clogged garbage disposal or pipes is quite an undertaking. 

To keep a healthy relationship going with your kitchen disposal;

Here are 10 things you should never put down the garbage disposal.


Besides the foul, smelly coating that grease applies to everything in the garbage disposal, your pipes will get a coating of this sticky glue on its way to your septic system. Grease combines with other substances like flour, hair or soap scum to create a particularly frustrating form of pipe blocking sludge.

Egg Shells

The issue of eggshells in your garbage disposal is a controversial one. Some people actually suggest putting egg shells in the disposal to clean it. This is a bad idea.
Picture what will happen with those fine shell particles when they meet small deposits of grease on their journey along your waste water pipes.
Eggshells can collect in traps and bends in your piping.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are a definite no-no. These fine particles are perfect for accumulating and plugging up your disposal and pipes.


The moment you put cherry pits or plum seeds in the disposal and turn it on, you will know you did something wrong.
Hard pits and seeds will rattle around violently in your disposal and may get wedged between moving parts.


Do you remember using flour to make glue in grade school?
Don’t make glue in your garbage disposal.

Larger Bones

With the exception of fish bones, no other bones should be put in the garbage disposal.
The disposal will not grind bones down well enough to send down your pipes.

Fibrous Foods

Fibrous foods will wrap themselves around blades and motor shafts.
Avoid sending celery, corn husks, asparagus and artichokes down the disposal drain.

Foods That Swell

Rice and pasta will continue to swell in the drain long after you are done cooking it.
Swelling food blocks pipes efficiently.

Potato Peels

Potato peels refuse to do anything but stick to the outer walls of the garbage disposal.
High starch content in potatoes makes for a sticky gel that forms on pipes.

Other Non-Food Items

Paper is a bad idea in garbage disposals. Get rid of your x-spouse’s photos in some other sadistic way that won’t clog your kitchen equipment. The blender will be willing to help with this.
If you have children in the home or dishes that pile up in the sink, check for forks and knives in the disposal before turning it on. Placing a fork in the garbage disposal may not be sensible to you, but children seem to think putting sandwiches in the DVD player and flushing pants down the toilet is perfectly fine. It pays to check before grinding.

What CAN I do?

After so much talk about all the things you can not put in the garbage disposal, you may be asking if there is anything you CAN put in the disposal besides water. Rest assured that there are plenty of things your garbage disposal will handle with ease. A few of these items are:

Plate scraps from a meal
Cooked vegetables
Cooked meats

Bonus tip: Easy cleaning of garbage disposals.

Drop a few ice cubes into the disposal and run it. This will knock stubborn food particles loose. The ice will simply melt and leave no particles behind.
Put a few drips of soap down there to help wash grime away.

Avoiding these garbage disposal no-nos will keep the relationship between you and your disposal happy and healthy. May your garbage disposal bring you years of happiness.


Alvarez Plumbing is a 24 hour plumbing company located in Salinas, CA. We provide residential and commercial plumbing services. If you’re in the Monterey Bay area and need immediate plumbing assistance, call: (831) 291-5358.