What Can and Cannot Be in a Garbage Disposal?

Food,waste,from,the,washing,up,in,the,sink,andGarbage disposals are convenient kitchen appliances that help dispose of food waste. They are designed to grind up solid food particles so that they can easily flow through plumbing pipes. However, not all types of waste can be safely put into a garbage disposal. It is important to understand what can and cannot be disposed of through this appliance to avoid clogs, damage, and costly repairs. In this blog post, we will explore what can and cannot be in a garbage disposal and provide some tips for proper use.

1. Can Be in a Garbage Disposal:

– Soft Food Waste: Garbage disposals are designed to handle soft food waste such as vegetable peels, fruit scraps, and cooked leftovers. These items are typically safe to be ground up and flushed down the drain. However, it is still important to avoid putting in large quantities of food waste at once, as it can overwhelm the disposal.

– Ice Cubes: Running a few ice cubes through the garbage disposal helps keep the grinding chamber clean and sharp. The ice also helps to remove any buildup or odor-causing residue.

– Citrus Peels: Citrus peels, such as those from oranges, lemons, and limes, can be safely disposed of in a garbage disposal. They not only help freshen the appliance but also act as a natural deodorizer.

– Small Poultry Bones: While larger bones should never be disposed of in a garbage disposal, small and soft poultry bones, such as chicken or turkey bones, can be ground up without causing much damage. However, it is still recommended to exercise caution and avoid disposing of large quantities of bones.

2. Cannot Be in a Garbage Disposal:

– Hard Objects: Hard objects like bones, shells, pits, or seeds should never be put into a garbage disposal. These items can damage the blades and motor of the appliance, leading to costly repairs.

– Fibrous Food waste: Fibrous foods, such as celery, onion skins, corn husks, or artichokes, should not be disposed of in a garbage disposal. The long, stringy fibers can get tangled around the blades and cause clogs in the drain pipes.

– Grease and Oil: Grease, fats, and oils should never be poured down a garbage disposal or any other drain. These substances solidify when cooled and can cause clogs in the pipes. It is best to dispose of them in a separate container and throw them in the trash bin.

– Coffee Grounds: While small amounts of coffee grounds may pass through the garbage disposal without any issues, it is best to avoid disposing of them down the drain. Over time, coffee grounds can accumulate and cause clogs in the pipes.

3. Tips for Proper Use:

– Run Cold Water: Always run cold water before, during, and after using the garbage disposal. The cold water helps keep the food waste in a solid state, making it easier to grind and flush through the pipes.

– Use in Moderation: Avoid putting large quantities of food waste into the garbage disposal at once. Feeding it smaller amounts at a time allows the appliance to handle the waste more effectively.

– Clean and Maintain: Regularly clean the garbage disposal by running a few ice cubes and some citrus peels through it. This helps remove any buildup and keeps the appliance fresh.


Understanding what can and cannot be put in a garbage disposal is crucial for proper use and maintenance. While soft food waste, ice cubes, and citrus peels can safely be disposed of, hard objects, fibrous foods, grease, and coffee grounds should be avoided. By following these guidelines and practicing proper use, you can avoid clogs and extend the lifespan of your garbage disposal, keeping your kitchen clean and functioning smoothly.

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