Proper Garbage Disposal Etiquette: What NOT to Put Down Your Disposal

Denver Property Management, Landlord Essentials

Garbage disposals are a must in today’s world and both tenants and homeowners rely on them heavily. They’re a quick and sanitary way to dispose of food products and waste without filling up your garbage can. With just a flick of a switch, they’ll grind away at nearly everything you feed it. However, they’re not indestructible and there are a few items that can choke them up, back-up your plumbing, or break the appliance completely. So here’s a list of a few items NOT to put down your garbage disposal!


Animal bones are a big no-no when it comes to your garbage disposal. They’re too tough for the blades to grind down properly and often get stuck, jamming it and causing problems. More often than not, the bones just spin around with the blades, and if they do manage to make it down the pipes, you’re bound to deal with a clog and other serious damages down the road. So chuck those bones in the trash can, not the sink!

Fibrous Veggies

Celery, pumpkins, rhubarb and any other stringy veggie can actually tangle around your garbage disposal’s blades, causing costly damage and requiring repair. While small pieces are ok, avoid sticking long, stringy stalks down the disposal.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds may smell heavenly and help eliminate odors in your disposal in the short term, but they’re also on the “Don’t Do” list for good reason. Coffee grounds can actually back-up your system and clog up your drains. Remember how they look in the filter after brewing your morning pot? Now imagine that black wad of gunk collecting in your drains and you’ll get the picture. Throw coffee grounds in the trash or put them in your garden to help keep critters away!

Peels and Skins

Both vegetable and fruit peels and skins are another thing to avoid sticking down your disposal. These can stick to the blades and walls of the disposal, jamming and clogging it, as well as your pipes. This goes for lemons and limes, potato peels, onion skins, etc.

Egg Shells

There’s a lot of debate around whether or not egg shells should go down a disposal, but most experts recommend not to. Egg shells can actually stick to the inside of your disposal, causing big problems. Err on the side of caution and throw those shells in your trash can instead.


Grease and oils are a big no-no when it comes to your garbage disposal. While they don’t damage the disposal itself, they’ll clog your pipes, wreaking all sorts of havoc later down the road. We’re talking back-ups. Chasing them with hot water and dish detergent won’t stop it from gunking up you pipes, either, so stick with the trash can for these.

Pasta, Rice, Oatmeal, Etc.

These grains are best left for the trash, too. Sticking them down the disposal can create an expanding, gunky mess in your disposal trap and in your pipes, leading to big problems. Keep them out of your disposal and save yourself the headache!

Garbage disposals are the workhorse of your kitchen. Be sure to maintain them properly and refrain from sticking these items down into it.