17 Items You Should Never Put Down a Garbage Disposal

To keep your disposal running smoothly, only put soft, biodegradable food scraps down the drain. Run cold water while grinding and for 30 seconds after, and never use hot water. Avoid overloading the disposal, and under no circumstances should these 17 items be put down the drain.


Photo Credit: LN team/Shutterstock.

Dupree Plumbing advises, “The membrane lining [of] the shell can wrap around the disposal blades, leading to clogs. Additionally, the shells can break into small pieces that are difficult to flush out.” Eggshells don’t decompose quickly and can accumulate, causing clogs in your pipes. They are also quite oily, leading to buildup and blockages over time.


Photo Credit: Andreea Photographer/Shutterstock.

Like eggshells, shellfish don’t break down easily in a disposal. Their hard shells can damage the blades, and their oily nature contributes to drain clogs.


Photo Credit: nerudol/Shutterstock.

Pasta is soft, which makes it tempting to put a leftover plate of spaghetti down the disposal, but it expands when soaked in water. Putting lots of pasta down the disposal allows it to soak up water in the pipes, expanding and causing blockages.

Coffee Grounds 

Photo Credit: melei5/Shutterstock.

Spent coffee grounds may seem to have been ground enough to go down the drain quickly. They can even temporarily reduce odors; however, coffee grounds are dense and pasty, promoting blockages in the drain lines. Homes & Gardens says to consider using coffee grounds for plants as a high-nitrogen fertilizer or a deterrent to slugs and snails in a vegetable garden.


Photo Credit: Esin Deniz/Shutterstock.

Garbage disposals aren’t designed to grind extremely hard items like bones. While the occasional small bone from a fish is okay, avoid putting large amounts or big bones in the disposal.


Photo Credit: baibaz/Shutterstock.

Uncooked oats can slip through the disposal and collect in the pipes, expanding and causing clogs. Cooked oatmeal is also thick and sticky.


Photo Credit: Melica/Shutterstock.

Grinding up nuts in the disposal is similar to making nut butter—the result is a thick, sticky paste that can line the disposal and clog drains. 

Onion Skins

Photo Credit: Tatiana_Pink/Shutterstock.

Avoid putting onion skins down the drain. The thin membrane under the outer layer of onion skin can pass through the disposal and get stuck in pipes, contributing to buildup.

Potato Peels

Photo Credit: VITALII BORKOVSKYI/Shutterstock.

The starches in potato peels can become a thick, sticky paste similar to mashed potatoes when ground up. This gummy substance coats the disposal blades and clogs drains.

Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG)

Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Never pour grease, cooking oils, or animal fats down the disposal. When cooled, they congeal and stick to pipes, quickly causing blockages. Pour them into a sealable container and dispose of them in the trash instead. “Creamy foods like peanut butter or dairy products fall into the FOGs category. So butter, heavy cream, and ice cream are also out of the question,” according to Consumer Reports.

Fibrous Vegetables 

Photo Credit: ArtCookStudio/Shutterstock.

Particularly stringy or fibrous foods such as asparagus, rhubarb, and celery can be hard for our teeth to pull apart and are just as tricky for a garbage disposal to take care of, too. The long fibers of these vegetables usually end up tangled around the waste disposal components and are almost impossible to remove when cleaning a garbage disposal. 

Fruit Pits

Photo Credit: mama_mia/Shutterstock.

The hard stones in fruits like peaches, plums, avocados, and cherries are too tough for the disposal to grind and can seriously damage the blades and motor. For this reason, it’s best not to put fruit pits in a garbage disposal.

Expandable Foods

Photo Credit: forstbreath/Shutterstock.

Rice, pasta, bread, and other foods that expand in water should be put in the trash, not the disposal. They’ll continue absorbing water and swelling in the pipes. “With garbage disposals, the best way to think of them is that they’re really designed for the stuff that comes off when you’re actually cleaning your dishes,” Adam Hauf, Prime Plumbing’s operations manager, told TODAY.


Photo Credit: RightFramePhotoVideo/Shutterstock.

Never pour paint down the disposal. It can cling to the sides and harden, causing an obstinate clog. Brushes and rollers should be cleaned with care, and excess paint should be disposed of properly.

Harsh Drain Cleaners

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Drain cleaning chemicals are hard on disposal blades and can damage the unit. Use disposal-safe cleaners or natural alternatives like baking soda and citrus peels.


Photo Credit: Nataly Studio/Shutterstock.

Don’t dispose of unused medication down the drain and disposal. It can contaminate water supplies, and Pfizer admits that “pharmaceuticals have been detected in surface water around the world.” Check with your pharmacy or city about proper disposal programs.


Photo Credit: LightField Studios/Shutterstock.

Putting bleach down the disposal can slowly erode the blades and gaskets. Use natural cleaners and avoid pouring straight bleach into the unit.

Read More: 17 Things That Are Sadly Disappearing From Everyday Life

Photo Credit: Creative House/Shutterstock.

Life in modern times seems to evolve at an unprecedented pace. Certain things we couldn’t live without a few years ago are rapidly becoming redundant. Let’s take a peek at 17 such victims of modernization and why they’re slowly but surely disappearing.

17 Things That Are Sadly Disappearing From Everyday Life

15 Ways To Tell If Someone Is Not a Good Person

Photo Credit: Pheelings media/Shutterstock.

While it’s important to avoid quick judgments, certain behaviors can be strong indicators of a person’s character. Here are 15 ways to discern if someone might be a bad influence or possess harmful traits.

15 Ways To Tell If Someone Is Not a Good Person

19 Untrue American Stereotypes That Are Widely Believed Internationally

Photo Credit: frantic00/Shutterstock.

Stereotypes and misconceptions can be misleading and frustrating, especially when they pertain to nationalities. Let’s explore and debunk some common myths about America, as shared by internet users.

19 Untrue American Stereotypes That Are Widely Believed Internationally

18 Everyday Items That Have Now Become Too Expensive For the Average American

Photo Credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.

There are some items that we have to pay for every single day. But for the average American, these mundane things are becoming too expensive. In this article, we will show you 18 of these pricey day-to-day items.

18 Everyday Items That Have Now Become Too Expensive For the Average American

18 Hard Truths to Accept in Life, According to Boomers

Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

The older we become, the more we learn about life, and with that come the truths that we need to accept. Boomers have had their fair share of truths as they’ve grown through the years. Here are 18 hard truths that every boomer wants us to know.

18 Hard Truths to Accept in Life, According to Boomers