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What Can You Put Down A Garbage Disposal?

By January 20, 2023February 13th, 2023Home Maintenance
Brand New Garbage Disposal.

Owning a home can come with many perks and amenities. One of those perks or amenities could be a garbage disposal. Not every home has one and not every homeowner values them. So, if you have a garbage disposal it is important to understand how they work and what you can put into them. What can you put down a garbage disposal? Typically, fruits, and vegetables without their peel, ice, and other soft foods are good.

Let’s take a look below at what is good for disposal and why and what is not good for disposal.

What Is A Garbage Disposal?

Not all homes have garbage disposals attached to their kitchen sink. However, if you have a garbage disposal connected to your kitchen sink, you have the luxury of shredding up your leftover food and sometimes vegetable peels. The purpose of garbage disposal is to turn solid foods into smaller particles so that they can be easily flushed through the P-trap of the drain line.

What Items Are Safe To Put Down A Garbage Disposal?

Owning a garbage disposal does not come without its warnings. There are certain food items that you can and cannot flush into your garbage disposal. Let’s take a look at what is safe for your disposal.

  • Citrus fruits – Placing an orange, lemon, or other citrus-type peel down your garbage disposal is actually a great idea. These peels will help freshen up your disposal and keep it from smelling so badly. Be sure to cut the peels into smaller pieces so that the disposal doesn’t work so hard to grind them down.
  • Soft or liquid food – Foods that are the same consistency as baby food are ok to flush down your garbage disposal. Solid foods such as vegetables without peel or fruits are good for garbage disposal. Remember to keep them as small as you can to reduce the strain on the disposal unit.
  • Ice cubes – Occasionally throw some ice down the disposal. The ice will get ground up and help loosen any food residue that is stuck to the blades of the disposal.
Be sure to put the right food in the garbage disposal.

Are There Items That Should Never Go In A Garbage Disposal?

Now that you know what is good for the disposal, you might want to eliminate a list of items that should never go into the garbage disposal. Let’s take a look below at what those items are.

  • Banana peels, Potato peels, and Onion skins – Stringy fibers that make-up fruit and vegetable peels are bad for the blades in the disposal. The stringy peels can often clog the disposal.
  • Lack of water – It is imperative that if you are flushing food and grinding it up in the garbage disposal you are using water to rinse as the disposal is running.
  • Egg shells or coffee grounds – Due to the tinyness of these two food items, you should never put them down the disposal. They can get stuck in the blades and cause a major malfunction of the garbage disposal. Additionally, the tiny particles could get stuck to other foods attached to the disposal walls or even the drain pipe and end up causing a clog.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you are aware of what you can put into a garbage disposal, you might want to know how long your garbage disposal should last. Putting the correct foods down the disposal and not abusing your disposal will ensure that it lasts the typical 10 to 15 years.

Next, as you use your disposal and begin to notice some clogging, it is possible that food is just stuck in the P-trap. Understanding how to loosen a tight P-trap is important before you begin the project of unclogging the drain line. Make sure you read up on this topic so that you have the right tools and knowledge of how easy this project could be.

Lastly, if you are looking for other solutions to clean your garbage disposal be sure to read up on if you can put drain cleaner down your disposal. In some cases, this is ok to do. You must read the manufacturer’s recommendations here and not choose a chemical that is corrosive or damaging.

Coffee grounds should never be put down the garbage disposal.

When Do I Call A Professional?

If you begin to notice that your disposal is making a lot of noise, smells bad, or even clogs too much, it could be time for a replacement. In some cases, pouring baking soda and vinegar down the disposal will clean the disposal and keep it lasting longer. Also, rinse hot water down the disposal to help loosen food particles. Consequently, if there are constant clogs, reach out to a local reputable master plumber for help. If you don’t know who to call, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect your plumbing and disposal as well as refer a reputable master plumber.


When it comes to garbage disposals, knowing what you can and cannot flush down the disposal is key. If you want to prevent clogs from happening and keep your disposal running for a long time, you want to adhere to the recommended lists of what you can and cannot dispose of in your disposal. Keep in mind the manufacturer of your particular disposal will have a recommended list for you. Also, if you still aren’t sure what to do with your disposal call on your local home inspection team. They can troubleshoot any issues as well as recommend a master plumber. Reach out to Waypoint Inspection to conduct a plumbing inspection during a full home inspection in your home in Tampa and Central Florida.