What you Can & Can't put in a Garbage Disposal 

Essentially, you can put anything into your garbage disposal that will fit and it will grind it up and dispose of it as if it never existed. There are some items that you shouldn’t put in your garbage disposal though, due to health issues and just general common sense. Here are the things that should and shouldn’t go in your garbage disposal.

Things That Don't Belong in the Garbage Disposal


A garbage disposal is designed to chew up food, not scrap metal or fabric or any other foreign object that might be lying around your kitchen. If you pour these items down your sink, you could clog your pipes, damage your garbage disposal, or even cause flooding or leaks inside your walls. It’s also not worth taking a chance on cutting yourself by mistakenly trying to grab that rogue carrot stick from inside of it! So if you’re wondering what to throw away, here are some common things that don’t belong in your trash bin. 


Here are a few garbage disposal don'ts so you can keep your disposer running like new for years to come: 

1. Don’t put any kind of grease down there . . . ever! 

Grease is obviously not food; instead, it’s oil congealed with whatever else you might have thrown into your garbage disposal at some point (or maybe every day). It sticks to everything and blocks holes inside your drain system that causes water flow to slow down dramatically (as well as creates an unpleasant smell). When enough grease builds up, other kinds of food start getting backed up behind it.

In fact, Americans send about 400 million gallons of their kitchen waste to landfills each year just because they didn’t know how to dispose of it properly. Keep your garbage disposal clean by only throwing small amounts of fat-free soap down there (no hand soap!), which acts as a degreaser and keeps fat from sticking around too long.

2. Don’t throw anything metal into your garbage disposal! 

Your garbage disposal isn’t actually designed to break down big hunks of metal, so it won’t do much more than shred them before spitting them back out again. So what happens when you accidentally throw a silverware spoon or fork in there? You guessed it: You spend time trying to fish it out and scraping off pieces once it comes back up again.  

3. Don’t grind up bones or pits, either . . . ever! 

Unless you want to buy a brand new garbage disposal, it’s probably best to avoid grinding up chicken bones or fish bones. Same goes for fruit pits, such as peach pits and cherry pits.  

4. Don’t put eggshells in there!

Your garbage disposal isn’t actually designed to break down big hunks of metal, so it won’t do much more than shred them before spitting them back out again. So what happens when you accidentally throw a silverware spoon or fork in there? You guessed it: You spend time trying to fish it out and scraping off pieces once it comes back up again.  

5. Don’t put whole potatoes in there . . . ever! 

Whole potatoes should never go down a garbage disposal because they often get stuck without breaking apart first (plus, letting them stay inside for too long means you end up smelling something terrible!). 

Things that Are Safe to Put Into Your Garbage Disposal


Coffee grounds, eggshells, and fruit pits can be disposed of down your garbage disposal (keep it smelling fresh!). You can also dispose of small bones that you might come across during a meal (so long as they're clean). With these things, you'll have no problems with regards to clogging or damaging your garbage disposal. Coffee grounds, eggshells, and fruit pits are relatively soft items. You probably won't run into issues with bones getting stuck or anything like that. Bone fragments shouldn't cause any real problems either. However, if you find yourself faced with large amounts of bone fragments on a regular basis, we'd recommend giving them their own bin. 

These things do belong—but only when they're 100% eaten. The smaller an item is when you place it into your garbage disposal, such as peels and seeds, rinds, cores and pits (i.e., apple cores), etc., then the easier they'll grind through and pass right through with all of their nutrients intact! 

Other Things to Consider When Packing Your Trash


If you’re going to throw something away, you’ve probably thought about what might be going into your garbage disposal. After all, those hard-to-reach crevices don’t clean themselves. With some basic knowledge about what can (and should) go down your drain, however, you can start avoiding certain ingredients that could damage it or reduce its lifespan.

When you think about your kitchen trash, consider these items and follow these tips for packing your trash properly:

Not putting oil and grease: Disposals need water to do their jobs. The food we eat is mostly composed of fats and oils, so when we toss them in with our other household waste—paper napkins included—the oils collect at the bottom of pipes before making their way through our plumbing system.

However, when too much oil accumulates in one place without enough water around it, it thickens up like glue causing other materials to stick together creating clogs that can cause serious problems for your disposal’s motor or trapway.

Do's and Don'ts of Your Garbage Disposal - Summary


A garbage disposal is one of those things that either works or it doesn’t. If you jam something down there that shouldn’t go, it might be broken for good. And even if your garbage disposal does still work, it will most likely cause issues later on when stuff gets stuck inside—which can easily lead to bigger problems like clogged pipes.


Get in contact with the Garbage Disposal Professionals at Bulldog Rooter today to learn more about our Garbage Disposal Installation and Repair Services!

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