Garbage disposers are a great invention to keep your kitchen clean and tidy. Using them has tons of benefits. But like every gadget they too have some do’s and don’ts. Below is a list of items you shouldn’t put into a garbage disposal.

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1. Grease & oil

Grease and oil are no friendly neighbors of garbage disposals. They don’t need grinding so you may wonder why they can’t be just flushed down the disposals, and it may even work for a few times. But over time the grease and oil will fill the gaps in the grinding ring reducing its grinding efficiency. They also solidify in the drain causing clogs, not to mention the decaying smell.

2. Rice, Pasta, anything that swells

The problem with disposing food items like rice and pasta is that they swell when in contact with water. Not only that, they will also make a sticky, slimy thing. Just like grease and oils these can stick to the grinding chamber walls or the drain pipe causing clogs and other damages. Removing them from the disposal can be a nasty business.

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3. Egg shells

It is not exactly the egg shells that cause the problem here, it is that tiny, teeny egg membrane. These thin membranes while grinding can stick to the grinding components and cause problems. Actually, garbage disposals can handle these food items and they don’t pose any problems but the number of the egg shells you put into them matters here. It is ok to grind 2-3 shells at a time but not 50.

4. Non-edible food items

Are there non-edible food items? Well, fruit pits and seeds can be considered so. Do you know how hard it is to cut a peach pit? Almost impossible, then why think it is any easier for garbage disposals. While you may succeed in grinding a fruit pit once in a while it can damage the grinding components of the disposer. Throwing them into a trash can is a much easier and economical solution.

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5. Harsh chemicals

Do not mistake your kitchen sink for a chemistry laboratory. The grinding components of most garbage disposals are made of galvanized steel which can corrode when contacted with strong chemicals like bleaching powder and such cleaning agents.

6. Animal bones

Bones are hard to grind, no doubt. While putting bones into a disposal is a bad idea I know people who grind small chicken and fish bones and they never had any problems. But again those disposals are high powered, like ¾ or 1 HP and the bones are not added in bulk. Apply the same egg shells’ rule here too.

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7. Fibrous vegetables

Vegetables like celery, asparagus etc shouldn’t be added to a garbage disposal. Their very fibrous nature makes it really hard for the machine to break them. These food items will undoubtedly cause damages and clogs

8. Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds seem harmless and easy to grind. After all, they are ground to make coffee, can’t a 1HP disposer do the same? Coffee grounds do not cause any damage to the disposal, actually, they are a good material to grind to sharpen and clean the grinding components, but they can cause really bad clogs in the pipeline, which is why coffee grounds are not advised to be thrown down a disposal. What else, coffee grounds have other better uses - https://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/5-reasons-why-you-should-never-throw-out-used-coffee-grounds-0162461/

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9. Onion skins and potato peels

How can a teeny onion skin or a potato peel damage a big disposer? The answer is they don’t, but undoubtedly they are very good at causing clogs down the pipeline.

10. Spoons and Utensils

This is a no-brainer. Spoons and Utensils are not food wastes, and I never heard of anyone disposing of them by grinding. When operating a disposer keep these items away from the sink. A steel fork accidentally falling into a running disposal can cost you hundreds of dollars.

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11. Your hands and fingers

Common sense is not very common, that’s why people still stick their hands into disposers and get hurt. If you doubt me just do a google search to see those artistically cut fingers. While mature people are fully aware of the dangers but do it anyway, kids are another matter. They don’t know how dangerous this can be, so take care to keep them away from your sink while operating a disposal.

And here's a video I made on this topic 🙂