What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal

A pile of fruit and vegetable peels and eggshells

After a big meal or a party, getting rid of leftover food can be a hassle. Whatever isn’t packed away and saved for later will most likely be thrown out, but where exactly are you going to put it? Despite what you might think, you can’t throw anything and everything down your garbage disposal. There are some foods that will wreck the disposal and leave you with a mess!

7 Foods That Will Wreck Your Garbage Disposals


Celery is one that people forget about since many vegetables and vegetable peels can go down a disposal. This healthy vegetable, which pairs nicely with some peanut butter, is more dangerous than you’d think. Well, more dangerous for your disposal at least! Its stringy fibers can get caught in the disposal’s blades and ruin the machinery (the same goes for asparagus and corn husks!).

Coffee Grounds

They may seem tiny and easily disposable, but it’s all a ruse! The more you put down the disposal, the more they build up over time. They mix with the water and become a slimy, condensed material that clogs your drain. When it’s time for your morning coffee, make sure coffee grounds stay far, far away from your disposal


Lasagna, spaghetti, rigatoni, tortellini, or linguini — enjoy whichever you like, but don’t throw it down the drain! Any type of pasta can cause a problem. Even after fully cooked, when exposed to water, pasta keeps expanding. It can keep building up and fill your disposal completely. Keep this in mind next time you are getting rid of pasta and throw it out in the regular garbage.

Egg Shells

While it’s not necessarily food, it still counts under this list! The shells’ membrane can get stuck to the sides of the drainage or wrap the blades on the disposal. Some argue that eggshells actually aren’t bad for your garbage disposal because they can sharpen the machinery. However, it’s best not to take any chances.

Fruit Pits

Most fruits come with pits that are extremely durable and tough. If you’re not careful, they can break your garbage disposal so easily! The hard surface of the pit fighting the blades at your disposal is a scary battle you don’t want to see.

Chicken Wing Bones

Bones are strong — stronger than disposal blades, in most cases. This means they’ll keep spinning along with the blades for a while. If they do make it past the blades, it’s unlikely they’ll fit through your pipes.


If there’s one food group that dominates the 4th of July cookouts, it’s greasy food. With burgers, hotdogs, and ribs likely taking up most of the space on your barbecue, it’s important to:

  1. Clean the grease trap of your barbecue entirely, to keep everyone safe.
  2. Dispose of grease the right way. The best way to get rid of grease is to let it cool, then throw it out in a trash can.

More Tips to Keep Your Disposal Safe

  • Don’t mention to guests that you have one. People who don’t know how to use one may think it acts like regular garbage.
  • Let cold water run whenever you’re throwing (acceptable) foods down the garbage disposal.
  • Have a trash can close to the sink so anyone throwing away leftovers can just dump them into the trash rather than pour anything down the garbage disposal.

There are some foods that will wreck the disposal and leave you with a mess!

Stan Pomichter, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Francisco
About the Author: Stan Pomichter, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Francisco

Stan has been a trusted Mr. Rooter owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Francisco since 2016. With years of experience to back him, Stan has experience with a wide range of plumbing-related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in sewer system repair, drain cleaning, gas line repair, and more.