What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal

Throughout the ages, people have used the garbage disposal to rid the kitchen of slimy, sticky and stinky things. Well not really throughout the ages, just since its invention in 1927. Since that exciting day, the garbage disposal has become an appliance of legend and wonder. Despite what you may have heard, not everything can go into a garbage disposal. It’s called a garbage disposal, not an in-sink trash can. Here is a list of common items that should never be put into a disposal unit:

  • Rice and pasta- No matter how much water you run or how long you run the appliance, you can never break rice or pasta down small enough. Both items swell when they are in contact with water, so the small pieces will eventually gather in the trap and swell until it is closed.
  • Animal bones- The garbage disposal is just not strong enough to break these down small enough to fit through. Animal bones are the most common thing that jams disposals.
  • Grease- The grease will eventually solidify and clog a portion, or all, of your drain.
  • Egg shells- Despite what you may have heard, egg shells do not sharpen disposal blades. I’m not even sure how someone would think that would work. Mostly they just end up clogging the line.
  • Any kind of stringy or tough-peeled vegetable- This includes asparagus, lettuce, celery and potato peels. Maybe in a small amount the disposal can handle it, but I wouldn’t try it.

The old adage of “less is more” definitely applies to the garbage disposal. Only small amounts of table scraps should go into the disposal. If you find that something from the above list has jammed your disposal it’s a relatively easy process to unjam it.

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