13 Things to Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

things you should not put down your garbage disposal

Just because it’s called a garbage disposal (or garburator) does not mean you can put all types of “garbage” down it. Feed it the wrong things and it will cause bad smells, create clogs or even damage itself. Soft leftovers on your plates, chopped vegetable scraps and fruit peels, will go down the garbage disposal just fine, but here are 13 things that would be better off in your green bin, compost pile or garbage container.

Pasta, Rice and Oatmeal

Do you know how macaroni gets bigger as you boil it? Pasta, rice and oatmeal will all continue to swell with water, even after going through the garbage disposal.

Stringy Vegetables

Most vegetables can be put down the garbage disposal, but fibrous or “stringy” vegetables can tangle around the disposal’s blades. Avoid celery, lettuce, kale, asparagus and onion skins.

Potato Peels

People like to peel potatoes over the kitchen sink, but if you put those peels down the garburator they can turn into a gluey mess.

Chicken Skin

There’s healthy reasons to remove chicken skin before cooking, but don’t put it down the garbage disposal.


Technically grinding up smaller bones can be good for the garbage disposal and drain, but larger bones can jam it up or clog your drain. So it’s best to avoid all bones.

Seafood Shells

Lobster, clam, oyster or mussel shells can damage the disposal unit’s blade or cause a clog.


The thin membrane on the inside of eggshells can wrap around the blades. The eggshells grind down into a sand that can clog pipes.

Fruit Pits

Fruits can be put down the disposal, but remember cherry, peach, plum and other fruit pits can cause damage.


Do you want to know how to make (sticky) peanut butter or almond butter? It’s actually a very similar process to what your garbage disposal does.

Produce Stickers

While putting banana peels down the garbage disposal is debated, everyone agrees that those little stickers on bananas (apples and some other fruits) must be removed before disposing of the peels.


Please don’t put drugs down the drain as it affects our water supply. Return unused medications to the pharmacy.

Fat, Grease and Oil

Everyone knows not to put grease down the drain, but sometimes people mistakenly think it’s okay to put it down the garbage disposal. Nope. Grease will pass through the garbage disposal and then clog your drain.

Coffee Grounds

People often recommend putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal to mask the food odor or “clean the pipes,” but, no, coffee grounds form a sludge that can clog your pipes.

Expert Help with Your Garbage Disposal

The plumbing experts at your preferred home services company can help you out no matter what you’ve put down your garbage disposal. They can clear it if it’s jammed, replace the unit if it’s damaged or unclog your drain if the problem is further down the line. If you need help with garbage disposal in Burlington or Cherry Hill, reach out to Davis Home Services!

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