Five Things Not to Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Serving South Jersey Since 1979

April 16, 2020

Your garbage disposal is a fast and easy way to get rid of food waste. When throwing food waste in the regular garbage leads to foul odors, critter invasions, and other problems, tossing it down the drain and flipping a switch is an immensely easier option. However, while garbage disposals may seem powerful and capable of handling just about any mess, the truth is they’re not designed for anything and everything you throw at them. In fact, putting something down the drain that your disposal can’t handle can lead to broken disposals, frustrating repairs, or clogs that are a huge pain to get rid of.

Here are five things you should not put down your garbage disposal under any circumstances.

Stringy Foods

One of the number-one culprits for pesky and obnoxious drain clogs is stringy foods that shred apart and create a webbing net that catches debris and builds into a blockage. Stringy foods tend to be things that are high in fiber, as well as a number of different vegetables like asparagus, celery, and broccoli. You should also avoid putting corn husks down the garbage disposal. It may seem like an easy way to do away with them when having corn on the cob or making tamales, but they’ll block up your lines incredibly quickly and make quite the mess that’s difficult to get rid of.

Starchy Foods

Starchy foods have one characteristic in common: they become sticky and expand when they get wet. Things like bread scraps, flour, baking powder, and cornstarch are your most common culprits, but this can also include potato skins, mashed potatoes, grilled potatoes, or really any type of potato-based food. While these foods may shred easily they stick to the walls of your plumbing line or any building clogs inside, expand, and quickly create a blockage that’s extremely difficult to get rid of.


There’s a popular urban myth that floats around on occasion that says you can sharpen the blades on your garbage disposal by throwing eggshells down the drain and flipping the switch. This is exactly as we said: a myth. First, your garbage disposal doesn’t actually have blades, but instead has rotating discs that have grinding teeth on them. These two discs rotating in opposite directions at a high speed in close proximity to each other is what grinds up your food waste. Second, eggshells may be ground up small enough to break through the disposal, but they quickly contribute to any clogs forming behind it. Because shells are solid, they make a great support material for clogs of any type, and they’re extremely difficult to get rid of. Do yourself a favor and throw your eggshells in the regular trash, along with shrimp shells, crab shells, nutshells, and any other type of shell you encounter.

Fatty Foods

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t put bacon grease down the drain, however many people seem to tell themselves that it’s okay to do so long as you run the hot water as fast as you can. We’re here to tell you that this is false: do not put bacon grease, along with any other pork grease, vegetable grease, or any other type of liquified fat down the drain. Fats tend to coagulate and solidify at cooler temperatures, and those are frequently found in your drains or sewer lines. The fat travels a little way down the drain, finds that the heat has disappeared, and quickly forms a sticky blockage that grabs all types of other debris along the way. Does hot water prevent this? Maybe for a few additional feet. However, the hot water also loses heat inside your drain line, eventually rendering running it completely moot.


Disposing of a carcass can seem like a real hassle, particularly if it’s something small like a duck, quail, Cornish game hen, or chicken. Why not just throw those bones down the garbage disposal and let it take care of them? Simple: your disposal may not have the power needed to actually grind them up. The bone may get caught between the gears in your disposal and prevent them from turning, causing power to backfeed into the motor and resulting in damage to your disposal. This can cause motor blowouts, speed controller blowouts, and other types of damage that can’t be repaired.

Got a drain problem? Backed up garbage disposal? Broken system? Call EnviroSafe Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Water Treatment at (856) 208-5108 now or contact us online to schedule a repair appointment.

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