What Can Go in a Garbage Disposal?

The garbage disposal is arguably one of your most important tools in the kitchen. Garbage disposal helps you get rid of garbage so that you can have a clean and sparkling kitchen. As the name suggests, the garbage disposal is a tool for throwing garbage; however, not all kinds of waste should go through this mechanism. So, what can you put down a garbage disposal?


How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?

Before we dive into the type of garbage you should throw in the garbage disposal, it is important to understand how this kitchen tool works.

A garbage disposal works by shredding the debris and food particles into small pieces so that they can continue down the drain without blocking and damaging the plumbing system.

Therefore, if you put items unsuited for the garbage disposal, you either reduce the lifetime of the disposal or cause plumbing problems.


What Can Go in the Garbage Disposal?

what you can put down a garbage disposal

  • Fruits

Most fruits can go into the garbage disposal without causing any clog or damage. Some of the fruit scraps you can put in the garbage disposal include the grapes, apples, oranges, and berries. What makes these fruits scraps suitable is because they are easy to grind into small pieces, and they are not super fibrous.

However, remember, all fruits are not made the same. This means there are some fruits you should avoid tossing in the garbage disposal because they may be extremely starchy and fibrous, and, therefore, prone to damaging your plumbing system. One of the fruits to avoid is banana peels because they have a lot of fiber that makes them wrap around the shredder, causing it to jam.

Also, you should avoid putting fruit pits on the garbage disposal because they are hard like tiny rocks, therefore, difficult to crush. We recommend tossing banana peels and fruit pits in your compost or garbage trash.


  • Vegetables

Like fruits, most vegetable scraps can go through the garbage disposal without the challenge or risk of damaging your garbage disposal grinding teeth or clogging your drainage system. However, this does not mean that you should just let anything go through.

There are a few vegetable scraps that are too fibrous, thus making them jam and clog your disposal. Some of the veggies you should avoid putting in your disposal include kale, lettuce, onion skins, and potato peelings. These types of veggies should not go into the garbage disposal because they easily entangle in the blades, thus causing it to jam.


  • Eggshells

There is no debate that eggshells can go in a garbage disposal. However, there is a controversy as to whether it is good to do so.

When it comes to eggshells, there are two competing schools of thought and, therefore, no clear-cut answer as to whether you can toss them in the garbage disposal. On the one hand, some parties claim that the shells can go through the garbage disposal, and they are great because they help clean and sharpen the disposal’s blades.

On the other hand, some disagree and claim that the egg shell’s membrane – the thin inner lining – can stick to the edge of the disposal and cause problems.

While eggshell can be ground and flushed down the drain, we recommend tossing them in the compost pile or the trash if possible. However, there is no significant damage they can do to your garbage disposal.


  • Coffee Grounds

We all love coffee, but where do you dispose of the coffee ground after you’re done brewing? Well, you can put coffee grounds at your disposal with no harm. However, a caveat is crucial here.

A large amount of coffee ground can create backup and clogs because of traces of oil found in the coffee ground. You should, therefore, put small amounts down the drain to avoid damage.


  • Meat Scraps

Might you be asking? Is it fine to put leftover meat scraps after dinner? The answer is that meat scraps can go in the garbage disposal without a problem. However, you shouldn’t put huge chunks of meat and a large number of meat scraps at once because they might clog the drainage.

Besides, some meat scraps, for instance, fish, can make your garbage disposal rot and stink. To avoid this, you can dispose of such meat scraps in the trash.


  • Small Bones

When it comes to bones, it is important to categorize into small and large ones. Most disposals can handle small bones without causing any problems to the unit. The jury is still out there on how small the bones should be, but according to most people, garbage disposals are capable of grinding small bones without any challenge.

While there is no consensus on whether small bones can go into a garbage disposal, almost everyone agrees that you should not put large bones at the disposal. They are generally hard, and big bones are even harder – this makes it difficult for the grinder to cut it into small pieces that can go down the drain.

Another reason why you should keep off large bones is that they make your disposal unit wear out fast. This not only adds to the cost of replacing a new one but also robs you the peace of mind because you are never sure when it will break down completely.


  • Orange and Citrus Rinds

Orange and citrus are great for your garbage disposal because they leave it smelling fresh and clean. The rinds of oranges and citrus are easy to grind and drain through the system. So, next time you have some lemon in the house, make sure you shred them down the disposal.


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Wrapping Up

Knowing what can go through the disposal can save you plumbing repair costs, and the agony of having clogged pipes. To avoid this trouble, you should pay attention to the type of items you put on the garbage disposal to have a healthy, clean, and fresh sink and drainage system. By knowing what to toss at your disposal and what to avoid, your disposal unit will benefit from a long life without breakdown.