Things That You Should Never Put in the Garbage Disposal

kitchen sink

Garbage disposal is a useful home feature and an amazing appliance as well, yet often overlooked. It provides a quick and hygienic way to dispose of food waste, but dropping the wrong thing might need a visit from a plumber. There are foods that could make it through the disposal just fine but others end up clogging or damaging your pipe. You need to keep your garbage disposal lighter and landfills from overflowing. To ensure you don’t call a plumber any day soon, you should know the food that shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal. Below is a list of items that shouldn’t go down your drain.

Coffee Grounds

While most people believe that dropping coffee grounds into your garbage disposal reduces odors, this could be true for a short term. According to multiple plumbers, coffee grounds are one of worst culprits of a clogged drain. They attract grease, build up and create a sludge-like texture which could cause more serious problems down the drain. However, you can put the coffee grounds into other uses including adding them to the soil around acidic soil-loving plants or use them as an exfoliate.

Oils and Grease

Excess oil can be harmful to your drain especially the pipes. The oils that don’t manage to make through the pipe build up and causes clogs which can be a big problem for the public sewer system. You might end up spending an average of $195 to unclog. In addition to that, grease shouldn’t be put in the garbage disposal just like oils. Specifically, grease from meat, poultry, bacon, and gravy can seriously cause ruin to your pipes.

Vegetable Peels

Vegetable peels like potato peel glue to the drain or turns into a starch that hardens causing serious damage. They can hold up other waste thus, you need to throw those peels in the trash. You can also put them into better use like in compost. In the case of onions, the chopped, diced or chunks cause no harm to the disposal. The thin membrane that lies just below the dry, outer-most layer of the onion is the center of all the problem. When dropped in the disposal it passes through and ends in the drain where it catches more items and holds them forming a clog.


Something like an eggshell when ground, the tiny particles can stick together and clog your disposal and pipes. Additionally, the thin membrane inside the shell can also get trapped catching other items resulting in a clog. Seafood like crab, lobster, and oysters have hard shells and should not be disposed of in the garbage. Seashells are hard to grind and the ones that pass through the disposal have a higher chance of been stuck in the drain causing a clog. Instead, dispose of such shells in the trash bag.

Pasta, Rice, Oats, and Beans

Pasta expands when it gets into contact with water hence when thrown down the drain they can swell up to the point of causing a clog. Uncooked oats can slip through but end up expanding and clogging down the drain. Similarly, beans and rice are starchy and dense substances that clog easily in the drain.

Pits and Seeds

Pits are incredibly hard and disposing of them in the garbage might cause harm in the long run. Your motor might not be killed but you may end up with a machine that isn’t disposing of waste properly. Hard seeds can easily crack, dent or break your disposal blades.


paint bucket brush

Whether it’s oil-based paint or water-based paint, it shouldn’t be thrown down the drain. It can cause problems in your pipes by clinging to the side of the disposal or in pipes where it forms clogs. Plus, it impedes other foods from getting through your pipes. However, a little paint won’t be an issue as long as it’s heavily diluted but the large amount should be poured onto cardboard and let to dry.


Most of the kitchen items are packed up with plastic bags and twist ties. Sometimes, these bags can end up in the sink and down the disposal resulting into clogs which damages the pipes. Things like medications should not go down the drain since they can impact water quality near you. Instead, drop them at your nearest pharmacy so that they can be disposed of with other medical waste.

Final Thoughts

While it’s easier to use items and drop them in the garbage, it can cost you quite a huge amount of money to fix your pipes. Be cautious of what you are dropping where. If it’s something that can’t be cut with a knife, then it can’t grind by disposal blades.

All images via Pixabay


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