Many homeowners today have installed a garbage disposal to conveniently get rid of unwanted food items. It saves you from the hassle of throwing food waste away when you wash dishes or load your dishwasher. That, in turn, keeps your kitchen garbage can from overflowing and reduces the strain on landfills.

But not every kind of food waste is safe to put in your garbage disposal. And if you’re not careful, you can damage your garbage disposal and drainpipes. That’s why we here at Huft Home Services created this list of 10 things you should never put in your garbage disposal. By following your owner’s manual and avoiding putting harmful items down your garbage disposal, you can increase its lifespan and protect your drains.

1. Coffee Grounds

Although it seems harmless, putting coffee grounds down your garbage disposal is a bad idea. But the reason isn’t that it will damage your garbage disposal. Instead, the coffee grounds can turn into a kind of sludge that blocks up your drainpipes. Before you know it, that will lead to the drain backing up, which can impact the proper operation of your disposal unit.

2. Bones

Some homeowners marvel at their garbage disposal’s ability to grind up food waste and make the mistake of overestimating its power. Then they push their luck by dropping things like chicken or turkey bones into the disposal. It never goes well. Anything but the smallest of bones will wreak havoc on garbage disposals. In the worst case, they can destroy your disposal’s grind ring or even damage its motor. So, don’t take chances with putting bones into a garbage disposal. Just throw them into the trash instead.

3. Seafood Shells

Like bones, shells from things like crabs or lobsters may damage or destroy your garbage disposal. And even if they make it out of the disposal itself, they’re another kind of waste that can clog your drainpipes and cause secondary plumbing problems. So, in short, you should never put seafood shells into your garbage disposal.

4. Oats, Pasta, or Rice

By now, you may have noticed a pattern emerging in the items on our list. It’s that many of the items are hard things that a garbage disposal may struggle to break down. But there are plenty of soft items that you shouldn’t put into your garbage disposal either. Oats, pasts, and rice are all excellent examples of soft foods that should never be put into a garbage disposal. Although all three of these food items will pass through your disposal just fine, they all expand when they absorb water, which is the perfect recipe for a clogged drain.

5. Fibrous Vegetables

If you’re a fan of vegetables, you may think that they’re as good for your garbage disposal as they are for you. And while that’s true for most vegetables, there are some you should avoid putting into your garbage disposal. In general, fibrous vegetables like celery and rhubarb shouldn’t go into the disposal, nor should stringy and sticky vegetables like pumpkin. All three can and will clog up your disposal and pipes.

6. Pits

Even though fruits like peaches and avocados make for tasty treats, they contain large, hard pits that can impose havoc on your garbage disposal. While they probably won’t destroy your garbage disposal right away, they will blunt its blades. If you want to know why this happens, just try to cut a peach or avocado pit with a sharp knife. You’ll find that it’s close to impossible and dulls the blade. After you’ve dropped a pit into the disposal a few times, it won’t be able to handle even the items it’s built to break down from then on.

7. Corn Husks

Fresh corn is plentiful in the US, especially here in Sacramento, CA. Shucking fresh corn often results in a tangled, stringy mess of waste. Lots of people think that garbage disposal is a natural place to put corn husks. But much like celery and rhubarb, corn husks will cause all manner of problems in a garbage disposal. So, you should simply throw them away, or use them as compost in your garden.

8. Potato Peels

Another food waste item that you should never put into your garbage disposal is potato peels. As innocuous as they may seem, potato peels are pliable and may slip straight through your disposal. From there, they may stick to the inside of your pipes and cause a clogged drain. When they break down, they turn into a starchy, glue-like substance that you won’t have an easy time extracting from your drain.

9. Produce Stickers

These days, buying produce is simple, thanks in part to the ubiquitous price lookup code (PLU) stickers you find on your fruits and vegetables. The PLU system makes it simple for stores to sell price-fixed produce by entering a four or five-digit number into their register system. Removing the sticker is up to the customer, but quite a few of them end up in the garbage disposal. If you let PLU stickers go down into your garbage disposal, they can stick to the moving parts or pipes and damage your disposal or drain.

10. Grease, Oil, or Fat

Finally, you should never pour any oils, grease, or fats into your garbage disposal — or any other drain for that matter. These items don’t mix with water and will instead coat everything they touch. That means a greasy, oily residue on your disposal’s parts and drainpipes. When cool water is put into the garbage disposal, the oils, grease, or fats will harden. This can impede your garbage disposal’s ability to operate and eventually clog your drain. Furthermore, you could even end up clogging your home’s main sewer line.


Many people are tempted to pour paint or wash out their paintbrushes and paint trays in the sink after painting a room. However, this is never a good idea. Paint can harder over time and cause clogs, which may be difficult to remove.

Quality Plumbing Services in Sacramento

Hopefully, the preceding list will help you to keep your garbage disposal and drains in good working order. But there’s never a guarantee that you won’t experience problems. So, if you run into trouble with your garbage disposal, don’t hesitate to call on our skilled plumbers in Sacramento county.

At Huft Home Services, we’ve been tending to garbage disposal problems, clogged drains, and all kinds of other plumbing problems since 2004. We also offer a wide range of other services including air conditioning and heating repair, maintenance, and installation, as well as all your electrical and insulation needs.

When your garbage disposal begins to malfunction or if you have a plumbing or electrical problem, don’t hesitate and let the problem get worse. Contact Huft Home Services today. Our highly skilled professionals have the knowledge and tools to get things working correctly in no time!

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