13 Items That You May Not Want to Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Of all the inventions in our kitchen, there’s perhaps none more underappreciated the the humble garbage disposal. While you probably don’t give it much thought while you’re washing dinner’s remnants down the drain, anybody’s who’s lived without one can tell you those food-shredding wonders deserve more attention.

And the best way to give that appliance more attention? By NOT putting certain things into it! While it’s tempting to believe otherwise, our garbage disposals aren’t magic, and there are some things they just can’t handle, no matter how organic or natural they might be.

So what exactly’s on that list of don’ts? We’ve got a handy list for you right here, PLUS a video from 41 Action News highlighting 7 more things your garbage disposal doesn’t want to eat. Just keep reading.

  1. Bones

    I can feel some of you readers out there rolling your eyes already, but guys? Not everybody knows this one! Seriously. I had a roommate once who seriously believed our garbage disposal had magic powers, and I caught her once dropping chicken bones down the drain. It was truly one of the most harrowing experiences of my life.

    But even if you did know this info, do you know why bones are a problem? It’s because bones will never fully become “chopped-up”, but your disposal will keep trying, spinning its blades until it wears itself out. Plus, those failed-to-chop bones will eventually clog up your pipes, defeating the whole purpose entirely.

  2. Shells

    After a big seafood dinner, we can see how it would be tempting to throw those shells down the disposal, but don’t do it! They have a damaging effect to your garbage disposal similar to the one inflicted by bones. Even shrimp shells are too tough— and, frankly, very smelly.

  3. Raw meat

    Sure, cooked scraps are totally fine for your disposal, but raw meat can be dangerous. Why? Because it could have bones in it, of course. So if you have some raw meat that went bad, make sure it’s boneless before you try to put it in the disposal— or just drop it in the trash to be super safe.

  4. Fruit Pits

    Whether they come from a peach, plum, apricot or cherry, fruit pits are WAY too tough to go down your garbage disposal. Just imagine the feeling you get when your knife hits an avocado seed, and you’ll get a sense of the reaction your disposal blade would have to contact with a fruit pit. Even apple cores are strong enough to damage your disposal.

  5. Nuts

    In the same vein of fruit pits, a lot of nuts are just too touch to crack, and therefore too tough for our disposals. And as for the ones that aren’t too tough? Well, just imagine how peanut butter is made. That’s right— by grinding peanuts. So now imagine your garbage disposal going to town on the nuts you just dumped down the drain. Do you see the sticky, damaging place we’re going with this . . .?

  6. Celery

    Sure, celery has a satisfying crunch, but it’s not exactly tough on our teeth. So why is it bad for disposals? Because it’s a fibrous veggie, that’s why. You know those little strings that get stuck in your teeth? They can get wrapped around your disposal’s blades and cause some major tangled problems. In fact . . .

  7. Asparagus

    . . . ANY fibrous or stringy vegetable is a problem for your disposal. Asparagus is a popular culprit, but you should also watch out for artichokes, chard, and . . .

  8. Corn Husks

    . . . husks! While the kernels themselves are generally fine, the husks and their fibrous “silk” pose a wrapping danger and make your disposal work way too hard.

  9. Beans

    It’s easy to fill up on beans, and it can be tricky to get every last one of your plate. But if you find yourself with leftovers you don’t want to save, put them in the trash, NOT your disposal. The high starch factor of the beans means that they’ll simply turn into a sticky, icky mess once they’re down the drain, clogging the pipes and blocking your disposal’s blades from doing their job properly.

  10. Rice

    Another starchy food to keep away from your disposal? Rice! Just like it expands in your stomach, rice can expand in your drain and cause clogs that back the whole garbage disposal up.

  11. Glass

    Sure, if you knock over and break a glass in your sink while doing the dishes, it can be tempting to turn on the faucet and wash the littlest bits down the drain. Resist temptation and seriously do not do so. Not only can those pieces clog and damage your disposal, the spinning blades can also send pieces flying, and there’s also a remote-but-real danger of inhaling the ground glass, too. Not safe in any way.

  12. Cigarette Butts

    Listen, we had no idea that people were doing this, but apparently there are some individuals out there who think it’s perfectly fine to throw a cigarette down the drain. NOT TRUE! The bits will absolutely stick in your drain and start clogs, and shredding those toxic chemical ingredients is not great or safe for your home— or anywhere.

  13. Non-Food Items

    In fact, it’s best to just be safe-and-not-sorry and say that food, and ONLY food, should be going down your disposal drain. If it’s not made of organic material, throw it in the trash!

There are even more restricted items than these unlucky 13. Watch the video below from 41 Action News to learn SEVEN more things you should never, ever put in your garbage disposal.

Were you surprised by any of these items? Are there any disposal no-nos that we missed? Have you ever accidentally put anything on this list down the drain?