What Not To Put In Garbage Disposal - Top 10 Worst Things

July 3, 2022
 | By 
Michael McCullers

Suppose you're home working in the kitchen. But you can't work comfortably because the kitchen smells terrible! So, you trace the source of the smell, and it is our very old friend," The Garbage Disposal Unit!"

Now, where did you go wrong? Either you didn't wash the garbage disposal, or the disposal blades built up fibrous content over time. Also, your garbage disposal blades can get stuck.

But, why you may ask? Because you put some stuff in your garbage disposal that you definitely shouldn't have. So, if you don't want your kitchen to be like this and clean up disgusting gooey stuff, you should probably know what things you should never put down in your garbage.

Keep reading to find out more.

10 Things To Avoid Putting In Garbage Disposals

Grease And Fats

Fatty Bacon the fat might clog your plumbing

Do you want your garbage disposal to get jammed? Then, do not throw in cooked meat with grease or animal fats at the garbage disposal. Period!

Although these things start as liquids, they quickly harden into a paste-like structure which the disposal blades can't get rid of! So, this builds up over time, causing a rotting smell in your kitchen and stopping your drain pipes.

So, be sincere in not putting greasy or fatty byproducts of meat at your garbage disposal.

Thick Or Large Bones

Large bones clog the garbage disposal

Bones can be challenging for the disposal blades to break down. These resist the garbage disposal blades, which usually get your garbage unit stuck. So, remember not to put any thick, small bones, whether it is chicken or beef or anything else, at garbage disposals.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds clump together

Coffee grounds fool most people into thinking that they are good to go at the garbage disposal. However, grounded coffee clumps together and creates sticky, gooey sediment in your disposal pipes.

This sediment will keep the garbage disposal from working correctly and cause you some major plumbing problems. So, it doesn't matter how much you want to pour coffee grounds into your new garbage disposal; we strongly advise you not to.

Cooking Oils

Cooking oils are an essential part of every kitchen. So, it is almost certain that you're pouring some oil into your food waste disposal system. However, oils like canola, soybean, palm, or olive clump overtime on the disposal's blades and the pipes.

This creates a gel-like, sticky material which causes clog issues. So, try to separate cooking oils as much as possible when you put down your garbage.

Gluey Food Scraps

Gluey Food Like Pasta Stop the Water Flow!

Glutinous food materials like pasta, rice, or bread are widespread items in the kitchen. They are considered pantry staples. You can see them worldwide, and most people like how good they taste! However, your garbage disposal drain line is not like "most people." Garbage disposals hate these gluey foods!

Because any glutinous food turns into a clumpy thing when it comes in contact with water, gets stuck in the pipes, and stops the blades from spinning correctly. So, avoid disposing of rice, wheat, or oat-based products at your garbage disposal.

Starchy Vegetable

Fibrous vegetables are known to clump together. So, any vegetable with excessive starch or fiber is a potential risk for garbage disposal.

You should avoid vegetables like asparagus, celery, banana peels, string beans, corn husks, potato peels, and other starchy vegetables. Although a few may not ruin your system, avoid putting these stringy fruits and vegetables as little as possible.


Seafood shells like oyster shells or clam shells are tough, and your garbage disposal unit might even break down trying to dispose of them! So do not put any covers in your garbage disposal.

However, there is some debate about egg-shells. While most people claim egg-shells to be harmful to the disposal unit, some argue that egg-shells sharpen the blades in the disposal unit. However, this is probably a misconception because garbage disposal units do not have sharp edges!

Also, egg-shells have a skin membrane inside, like onion skins. This membrane is quite wet and thin. So, they usually slip past the grinding chamber and block the drain pipes!

So you should not take the risk and maybe make a compost pile to dispose of organic waste like egg-shells that may help your plants later!

Large Seeds And Pits

Little girl eating avocado

Any large pits can be a hassle for the trash disposal unit, whether from avocado, apricot, or plums. These affect the scouring action of the blades in the machine and usually end up clogging the disposer.

So, avoid putting in large seeds, strong nuts, and pits to keep your system working.

Non Food Items

This should be obvious. There is a golden rule: If you're not food, you do not go through!

The garbage disposer is for organic food scraps. They are not designed to dispose of plastic wrappers, cigarette butts, paper towels, or egg cartons! So, do not put any non-food items in the garbage disposal.

Hot Water

It doesn't matter what you have read or heard on the internet; you do not put hot water down your drainage system when grinding waste. You can use hot water between grinds, but do not pour in hot water while disposing of garbage to help the machine somehow! That is a stupid idea!

Hot water liquifies the oils and fats inside the pipes from the food or cooked meat and spreads that oil and fat all around the drain line.

This oil will clog your drain with enough time.

Some manufacturers stick recommendations saying," Do not put bones, animal fats, citrus rinds, egg-shells, corn cobs, coffee grounds, hot water, etc., down the sink." Most companies state in their warranty clauses that the warranty would be invalid if the user grinds incorrect material.

So, keep these things in mind, and you will be safe.

However, if you already have a stinky or jammed garbage disposal unit, then you should read below-

Fixing A Stinky Garbage Disposal

If you already have built-up residue in your garbage disposal, you need to clean the drainpipe, the machine blades, and probably the whole system. There are some home remedies that you can try before calling for professional help.

Cleaning The Visible Parts

Although this might be obvious to you, if your garbage disposal is smelly or jammed, first try to clean the outer parts of the disposer. You may use a scrubber or sponge and wash the outside of the disposal unit with a good amount of dish soap.

Using Cold Water

During grinds, use cold water instead of hot. Cold water solidifies any leftover fats and greases, making them easier to flush down the drain. Also, you can use a few ice cubes and salt to clean the blades properly.

Pour two cups of ice cubes with one cup of salt into the disposer. Run cold water in the disposer for 5 to 10 seconds. The blades will crush the ice, and the salt will deodorize it.

Baking Soda And Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar helps clean pipe clogs

Baking soda is an excellent cleaning agent, and it works very well. Firstly pour two cups of baking soda and then pour one cup of vinegar. The soda and vinegar will react and create some fuzz.

Let the fuzz sit for about an hour and then peel with dish soap and cold water.

The Last Resort

If your garbage disposal is jammed and won't work even after doing all this, you need to call professional help. We are happy to let you know that you can find just that if you live nearby Arvada, Colorado. We provide excellent plumbing repair, drain cleaning, and water heater services at here Jet Plumbers.

We have voted the number 1 plumbing solution in Arvada, Colorado. So, if you face any type of plumbing issues nearby, do not hesitate to call us at 720-538-9961. We at Jet Plumbers value each of our customers, and we are proud to have served the people of Colorado since 2015.

Learn more about Jet Plumbers at https://jetplumbers.com/about-us/. Call our customer service representative at 720-538-9961 if you want a free cost estimate for getting your garbage disposal unit cleaned.