Garbage disposal

Keep These Food Items Out of The Disposal

The garbage disposal is a tough machine, able to make quick work of food scraps that would otherwise sit in your trash can and stink up your house. However, certain foods present challenges, dulling the blades or gumming up the works. Here’s what you absolutely should not put down your disposal.

Bones and Fruit Pits

The blades of your unit are tough, but not that tough. Even if the appliance manages to grind up bones, they’ll wreak havoc on your drains, become lodged, and catching other foods you put down your sink. Fruit pits are even worse. They’ll likely get stuck between the blades. This can lead to malfunctions such as the motor burning out.

Stringy Vegetables, Skins, and Produce Peels

Because they are fibrous, certain vegetables can become wrapped around the blades in your disposal. Toss these items in the can instead:

  • Celery

  • Corn husks

  • Pumpkin

  • Rhubarb

  • Asparagus

Nuts, Coffee Grounds, and Starchy Foods

When nuts and starchy vegetables are ground up, they form a thick paste similar in consistency to peanut butter. This gluey substance can clog your drain. As other foods are put down the disposal, the pieces cling to the sticky mess, creating a clog. Coffee grounds react in the same manner.

While likely to pass through your disposal, certain starchy foods will expand as they're exposed to water. These include:

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • Oatmeal


Fatty substances, such as grease and oil, can solidify, clinging to the insides of your disposal and pipes. Common culprits include bacon grease, lard, and shortening. Over time, the buildup can lead to clogs and excess bacteria, resulting in rancid odors.

Bottom line: The garbage disposal is an amazing appliance, but it has its limitations. Use it primarily for soft, organic matter and you’ll be able to keep it running problem-free. For expert garbage disposal repairs, contact McAtee Plumbing Heating & Cooling at (803) 335-5109.