Garbage disposals make life easier. They reduce food waste in the garbage and the number of garbage bags you use. But disposals aren’t garbage cans. There are things you should never put in your garbage disposal.
The membrane just inside the eggshell can wrap around the grinder, messing up its function. Eggshells break up into gritty sediment that can clog your pipes. Throw them in the compost instead.
Don’t be lazy with bones. They’re too much for the grinder to handle, and they can dull the blades. They won’t break up enough to go down the drain and will rattle around in the disposer for a long time. Scrape them into the trash.
Nuts and Seeds
They’re either too hard to grind up or too small for the blades. The small ones can wedge themselves in the grinder mechanism and other parts of the disposal and jam it.
Pasta, Bread and Grains
Add water, and watch it grow! Pasta, bread, and grains—like rice and oats—expand in water. While a few crumbs and the occasional strand of spaghetti won’t clog your pipes, don’t dump the whole pot of leftovers down all at once. They’ll keep expanding and can clog the trap beneath your sink.
That thin, nearly transparent layer just under the papery outside of an onion can slip past the grinder in the disposal. If this happens, it’ll lodge in the drain, where it’ll acts like a net, catching other debris that are supposed to wash away down the drain.
Stringy or Starchy Vegetables, Fruits and Peels
Celery, asparagus, beans, and banana peels have stringy fibers that can wrap around the disposal’s grinder. Potato peels can be thin enough to elude the grinder and catch in the drain as well. If ground up, they turn into a thick paste capable of causing clogs. Peel vegetables and fruits over the trash bin, not the sink.
Used grounds form a thick, dense paste, similar to mud. Your drain doesn’t like mud, or coffee grounds. They’re high on the list of things not to put down your disposal. Organic grounds can go in the compost with the eggshells.
Oil or Other Fats
After you feed the kids pancakes and bacon on Sunday morning, don’t dump the bacon grease down the disposal. You’ve seen what it looks like when you forgot to drain it off the skillet: it’s a congealed, thick, greasy, globby film. You don’t want that in your pipes. Ditto for butter and olive oil.
Utensils, Jewelry and Toys
You never know what kids and teens will flush down the toilet or toss in the sink. Obviously, you would never throw utensils into the disposal deliberately, but they have a way of ending up there. Snatch items such as errant forks, plastic dinosaurs, or novelty rings from the disposal before you scrape and grind. Make sure the switch is off so it won’t accidentally flip on and mangle your hand while you fish them out. Ow.