Proper Maintenance Of Your Garbage Disposal


If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen, you know how your garbage disposal can be your best friend. However, that relationship can quickly turn sour when harmful materials are dumped down your drain


Because the blades in your garbage disposal are not angled, thy are not equipped to grind extremely hard items like bones. If these bones make it past your disposal, they certainly won’t make it down the drain pipes. As a result, you could be facing expensive plumbing repairs down the road.

Egg Shells

Although there has been some debate over this one, it made our list due to the sticky membrane lining of egg shells. While the actual shell can arguably sharpen your disposal blades, there is the risk of the membrane lining sticking to the sides of the disposal, wrapping around the shredder. Therefore, we recommend playing it safe and keeping egg shells away from your disposal.

Fruit Pits

Another major no-no is putting fruit pits down your garbage disposal. This includes the smallest cherry pits to the larger peach, avocado, or nectarine pits. Simply put, if you cannot cut these pits with your sharpest kitchen knife, you can assume your disposal blades certainly won’t be able to, either

Fats and Grease

Just like your shower or sink drains, your kitchen sink drain should be a grease-free zone. Because fats and greasy substances tend to adhere to your pipes and lead to clogs, you should keep them out of your disposal. If you do accidentally pour grease or fat down your disposal, try running hot water down the line.

Is your kitchen-sink disposal environmentally friendly?

If you’re trying to be more eco-friendly at home, should you use your kitchen garbage disposal? It depends. “Keep in mind that when food is added to the wastewater system, it must be further treated,” says

She suggests learning about your local water infrastructure first. For starters, the most eco-friendly option for food waste is to create less of it. For unavoidable food waste, consider donating it or composting. Beyond that, wastewater and environment experts agree that the environmental value of kitchen disposal systems depends on the wastewater system of a given locality. Disposals make sense if your wastewater system is set up to convert food waste into energy, as is the case in a growing number of big cities.

“Any food that is sent down the disposal will be filtered and captured at a wastewater treatment facility. The debris captured are typically sent off to a landfill, incinerator or to an anaerobic digestion facility (for conversion into energy) if one is close by,”

disposals are used in more than 50 percent of U.S. homes and in countless food-service operations. He argues that in addition to convenience, disposals are ecologically beneficial because they divert food waste from landfills.

environmental impact of food waste by sending the processed food particles — from meat, bones, even banana peels — through a home’s plumbing system to facilities equipped to handle them, rather than sitting in landfills and contributing to excess methane,” he says. “A growing number of wastewater facilities are installing equipment that allows them to turn food waste into renewable energy.

What Not to Put Down a Garbage Disposal

A clogged garbage disposal can jam up hours of your day.

The handy kitchen garbage disposal is useful for getting rid of a variety of food scraps and waste that might otherwise create unpleasant smells in the kitchen. However, many foods can actually damage your disposal or render it useless.

A common misunderstanding about garbage disposals is that the device includes “blades,” when in actuality it contains a ring of teeth-like shredders that grind the food and force it down the drain. While there’s no real way to sharpen these shredders (which are still often referred to as blades), keeping them clean is key to an efficient garbage disposal.

Fibrous foods

The strings of celery, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, corn husks, carrots, onion skins and potato peels can wrap around the grinding teeth, preventing proper operation of the motor. If you feel you must put fibrous foods into your disposal, do so in very small quantities, and run cold water before, during and after operating the unit.

Grease, fats and oils

Greasy foods will distribute a film over the shredding teeth, diminishing their effectiveness. Eventually, the grease will begin to decay, causing an unpleasant odor in the kitchen. Pouring grease into a garbage disposal can result in clogged drains when the grease solidifies (regardless of how much hot water you use).

Egg shells

Some people claim that egg shells sharpen the blades of the unit, but this is not true. The shells’ stringy membrane layers can wrap around the shredder ring, and the shell itself will be ground to a sand-like consistency capable of clogging pipes.

Things You Should Never Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are a handy convenience. We throw our food particles into the great abyss and flip a switch so that they disappear forever. But we become so accustomed to a working garbage disposal that we may forget its intended use.

Never Put Grease in the Garbage Disposal

I still have vivid memories of my mom yelling at us about dumping grease. Perhaps grease seems like an obvious “no-no”. But absent-minded moments can cause a random dump of a greasy frying pan down the garbage disposal.

The purpose of the disposal is to break down foods and liquid into small particles. The particles then travel down the drain and into the pipes. Grease cannot be broken down and quickly builds up. It can coat and clog your pipes.

Bones are a No-No in Disposal

Bone fragments should be dumped in the trash, or used in compost piles. Whether you dump chicken wings or turkey wishbones down your garbage disposal, they will not break down enough to flow through your pipes.

Coffee Grounds & Dirt

If you dump wet or dry coffee grounds down the garbage disposal, they will seemingly disappear. However, these pesky particles stick to the sides of the disposal unit and don’t make it to the pipes. Over time, the grounds will build up.

Things That Will Destroy Your Garbage Disposal

You may have a garbage disposal for kitchen waste. This doesn’t mean your garbage disposal is a catch-all for anything that fits. If you’ve ever spent time trying to plunge a garbage disposal full of potato peelings, then you understand what we are talking about. You can’t put just anything down your garbage disposal.

Grease and fats are no good for your garbage disposal because they can harden once they cool off. While the hot grease may go down your garbage disposal easily, it can collect in the disposal and build up

Fibrous foods, such as vegetable peelings, aren’t good for your garbage disposal either. The fiber can get caught up in the garbage disposal blades, causing the disposal to stop working. Do not reach your hand into the garbage disposal to remove vegetable peel fibers. You can do serious damage to your hand if the disposal suddenly starts running again.

Eggshells are also a problem for your garbage disposal. While you may have been told that the shells will actually clean your blades, the membrane within the egg can clog the disposal.

Other foods that will hurt your garbage disposal include:

celery because of the long fibers

pasta because it expands in water

coffee grounds because they sit at the bottom of the drains

If you are in doubt about an item, throw your food item in the trash instead. If you have bones and you are worried about the carcass of an animal smelling up your kitchen, put the remains in a tight plastic bag and throw them away instead. Save your garbage disposal from getting destroyed.