What Not to Put in Your Garbage Disposal

Appliance Parts, Repair & Service

Stainless Kitchen Sink With Food Waste Disposal In Modern Home

Since its invention in 1927, the garbage disposal has become a beloved appliance in home kitchens nationwide. Many homeowners, however, do not understand that this trusted staple has its limitations.

Dumping certain types of food waste down the drain may seem like a good idea but doing so can result in a broken disposal. Here are 6 food items that our Grand Rapids appliance repair technicians never want you to put down your garbage disposal.

Your Disposal is Not a Trash Can

This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to garbage disposals. A disposal does not equal a trash can. It can handle small scraps of food, but it is not built to break down or rid your sink of everything.

When you turn your disposal on, an impeller plate, or spinning disc, rapidly turns and forces food waste against the outer wall of the grinding chamber. This action is what mashes up the food into small pieces before water washes it all through holes in the chamber wall.

Contrary to popular belief, disposals do not have sharp blades, but instead have two blunt metal “teeth”, called impellers. Because of its design, not all food bits and liquids are meant to be poured into your garbage disposal as they can cause it to clog.

Remember that if you have any performance issues, be sure to call our appliance repair specialists and we can fix your garbage disposal.

Do Not Put In:

Coffee Grounds

You may have heard the folk remedy that coffee grounds can help treat the odor of your garbage disposal. While coffee grounds have a deodorizing effect in the short term, they more often lead to a clogged drain.

Yes, they are finely milled, but are also very tightly packed and act like a thick paste. Think about what they look like in your coffee filter and ask yourself if you want that sediment down your drain.


It is time to debunk another commonly believed myth. Eggshells do not help sharpen the blades or grinding mechanisms of your disposal. That is because there are no blades, just blunt impellers. Impellers grind food waste down, not chop it up.

Aside from their shells, eggs also have sticky membranes that can wrap around the grinder and create other unwanted problems. In short, eggshells do not help your disposal in any way and sadly, they will not sharpen your kitchen knives.

Grease, Oil, or Fat

Grease, oil, and fat all look like liquid, right? While they may seem free flowing when you pour them down the drain, they do not remain in a liquid state. With time, grease, oil, and fat congeal which can lead to a significant blockage in your drain.

Instead of gravitating toward the garbage disposal, try letting these substances reach room temperature and put them in the trash.


When pieces of pasta encounter water, they absorb and expand. This is what happens when you cook them in a pot and what occurs if they are put down the kitchen drain. Pasta expansion commonly equates to an annoying clog that you need cleared out.

It is important to remember that a few noodles falling into the disposal are not an issue. It becomes a problem when pasta is washed down the drain on a regular basis.

Potato Peels

A lot of people like to peel potatoes over the sink. There is nothing inherently wrong with that practice, but an issue can arise when the peels are sent down the disposal.

Two scenarios are possible when this happens. The peels can move past the disposal itself due to their thinness and catch in the drain which is not ideal. On the other hand, if the disposal grinds them up, you now have a thick, starchy paste down there. If the paste finds its way into the pipes, it can result in a future blockage.

Animal Bones

Most of the aforementioned food items will clog your drain. Animal bones, if large enough, have the power to break your disposal and require the assistance of our repair technicians. Your garbage disposal is not an indestructible appliance and bones are hard objects.

If you are not careful, discarded drumsticks or wings down the drain can shorten the lifespan of your disposal. Anything larger than a small fish or chicken bone will only spin around in the disposal and cause damage.

Garbage Disposal Repair is a Call Away

Having a garbage disposal in your kitchen is great. What is not great is pushing it past its limits and damaging its inner grinding mechanisms. Fortunately, our appliance repair specialists in Grand Rapids, MI, can return your disposal to working order. Call Apex Appliance today at (616) 363-9894 or contact us online.

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