Garbage Disposals – What Can I Put Down My Disposal?

Garbage disposals are an awesome tool to have in your kitchen. But, unfortunately, they are not indestructible. They can break and be less effective if the wrong foods go down the drain. That is why it’s good to know what things are safe for the garbage disposal and what are not.

Your garbage disposal is intended to mash and grind up small food waste that won’t clog your pipes and drains. While using the garbage disposal, here are a few tips on keeping it running effectively.

  • Run cold water while the disposal is on. This helps greases and oils solidify so they can be ground up
  • Use your disposal regularly. Letting it go unused can cause it to act up.
  • Avoid putting anything down it that isn’t biodegradable.

What Can You Put Down The Garbage Disposal?

So what can you put down your disposal? For the most part, as long as it’s a biodegradable food product and/or small food scraps you can grind it up in the garbage disposal. For example:

  • Citrus rinds: These aren’t only safe, but help keep your disposal smelling clean and fresh.
  • Scraps of cooked meat: Small leftover meat scraps are safe as long as they aren’t too large or chunky.
  • Fruit scraps: Just like citrus rinds, not only are they safe but they can help the disposal smell better.
  • Vegetable scraps: For the most part, vegetables are safe to put into the disposal. There are a few exceptions we’ll go over down below.

What Can’t You Put Down The Garbage Disposal?

While most food scraps are fine to go down the garbage disposal, there are a few that should be discussed. Just because it goes down, doesn’t mean it isn’t slowly causing damage that could build up over time.

  • Egg Shells: While there are arguments about whether this is a safe scrap or not to send down the disposal, we recommend that you avoid putting egg shells in your garbage disposal. Egg shells have the potential to slowly clog up your pipes.
  • Coffee Grounds: Although coffee grounds are small and go down easily, they actually cause quite a bit of damage. They quickly pile up and create a thick sludge that can be hard to get rid up. They are a well known culprit for clogs and drainage issues.
  • Bones: Bones can not be ground up or mashed by the garbage disposal. If they do make it past the disposal, they will stick and potentially clog your drain pipes.
  • Banana Peels: The fibrous material that banana peels are made of can cause damage to your garbage disposal. While most fruits and veggies are fine, banana peels are better thrown into the garbage or compost pile.
  • Potato Peels: Because of potato peel’s high starch content, they can great a starchy sludge that could create clogs and blockages in your pipes.
  • Oil and Grease: Grease, oils and fats do not belong down your drain. Although they look like liquid when you pour them down, they soon solidify and cause clogs. This includes cooking grease, oils, butter, lard, and any other fatty liquids leftover from cooking.
  • Fruit Pits: Fruit pits are extremely hard to cut through and are too tough for the most garbage disposal blades.
  • Pasta and Rice: Pasta and rice expand when they become wet. When in the pipes, they swell up and could cause clogs.
  • Starchy Vegetables: Just like potato peels, it’s best to avoid starchy and fibrous vegetables like celery, onion skins, corn husks, artichokes and asparagus.

If you have any questions or concerns about your garbage disposal, give a Hukill’s professional a call at 541-734-9000.

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