7 Foods That Should Never Go In the Garbage Disposal

If you have a garbage disposal, you know how easy they can make kitchen cleanup. Instead of using a stopper to collect food particles and then trying not to gag when you pick it up to dump the food in the trash, food particles can just be ground in the disposal. Garbage disposals are a huge help when it comes to cleaning the kitchen. And I’m a fan of using every single kitchen cleaning tip possible! However, there are at least 7 foods that should never go in the garbage disposal.

food that shouldn't go in the garbage disposal

7 Foods That Should Never Go In the Garbage Disposal

1. Fat or Grease

Fat and grease should never be put down the garbage disposal. Actually it shouldn’t be poured down any drainpipe. When melted fat or grease is poured down a drain, it eventually cools. And I’m sure you know what that means…it hardens…inside the drain!

Unless you want grease to fill up and eventually clog your drain, it’s best to pour that liquid in an old jar or can and let it cool before tossing it in the trash.

2. Bones or Large Pits

I can’t imagine anyone putting bones in the garbage disposal but apparently it happens. The same is true for large seeds or pits…like a peach pit. They’re extremely dense and take too long to grind up. Plus, neither of these are scraps, which is what I tend to think a garbage disposal should be used for.

3. Onion Skins

Onion skins can easily stick to the sides of the disposal and wrap around the shredder ring this causing major problems down the road.

4. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds may not necessarily harm the disposal itself, but they apparently accumulate in drains and  can cause clogs.

5. Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables

Asparagus, celery, corn husks and the like have long stringy fibers that make up the veggie. When the blade works to chop, it’s likely that the strings won’t be cut and they’ll actually wrap around the disposal.

6. Egg Shells

Not everyone agrees that egg shells shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal. But, there seems to be two arguments for why you should dispose of them another way.

1. Egg shell membranes can stick to the sides of the garbage disposal and wrap around the shredder ring causing damage.

2. Egg shells can’t be eaten by bacteria in a septic tank. So, if you have a septic, cross egg shells of the list to shred!

7. Anything in Large Quantity

Once upon a time I was at a home where we were peeling potatoes by the sink. Not thinking, we just pushed the scraps into the sink and garbage disposal. We turned on the garbage disposal, it bam…it broke. Both sides of the sinks were stopped up and it was a big mess to get everything in working order again. Take it from me…don’t insert large quantities of food into a garbage disposal.

Disposals are great for little scraps of food but I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t be used as a trash can!

Would you add anything else to the list?


  1. carol jane says

    Some other foods you should never put down the garbage disposal. Spaghetti, carrot skins, shrimp shells. Im sure theres more, but I cant think of them at the moment.

  2. Maureen says

    I put coffee grounds down mine because we use a french press so no filter and the grounds are wet and I don’t want that in my regular trash. I have never had a problem. As for you potato skins, I don’t think it was just the large quantity. Potato skins are the only thing that kills my disposal every.single.time. May I also add meat larger than small bite size and only a few at that.

    I’ll share an example of an ultimate mess in a garbage disposal that I was fortunate enough not to have to witness. Once, at hubby’s workplace they had a company BBQ for lunch. This one guy (one of the managers) decided to get rid of all the meat fat that had been trimmed from steaks by putting in down the disposal in the lunch room. Hubby says it was one of the worst smells ever because of course it backed up and took a while for a repair man to come so the meat scraps began to decay. Yeah, nasty. A garbage disposal isn’t a catch all, solve all.

  3. says

    I’d add here’s why you shouldn’t put a couple of these things down the disposal!: They make good compost! Eggshells and coffee grounds enrich the soil and give back to Mother Earth. I love to compost as it’s one less way to waste. :)

  4. says

    I didn’t know that grease shouldn’t go down the disposal. I always dump extra grease down there. Thanks for the post, I will remember to do that next time.

  5. Virginia Davis says

    I need to share this with my roommate. She uses the garbage disposal for everything. A while back, our garbage disposal broke because of this, and it was terrible. Everything backed up and smelled vile. I usually try to compost what I can, and just throw away most of the rest. That way, when I do use the garbage disposal, it works really well without issues.

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