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A garbage disposal is the unsung hero of the kitchen, tirelessly grinding away food waste. Yet, it’s important to remember that while it’s a powerful ally, it’s not a catch-all trash can. To keep your garbage disposal humming smoothly, there are certain items you should steer clear of.

Here are 12 food items that should never find their way down your garbage disposal.

Stringy Fruits and Vegetables

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Fibrous vegetables and fruits such as celery, banana peels, pumpkin guts, asparagus, artichokes, and corn husks should be avoided down the drain. The long, stringy fibers can wrap around the disposal blades, leading to drain clogs and potentially damaging the motor. If small amounts end up in the garbage disposal, there usually no need to worry.

Pits and Seeds of a Fruit

peach fruit pit
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Hard pits and seeds found in fruits like peaches, avocados, cherries, and mangoes should be avoided in the garbage disposal. The pits are difficult for the garbage disposal to grind up effectively. This can lead to damage and dullness of the disposal’s blades or blockages in the pipes.

Pasta and Rice

pasta and bread
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Starchy foods such as pasta, bread, and rice should be avoided in the drain. When pasta and rice come into contact with lots of water, they will expand. This expansion can occur within the disposal and lead to serious clogs. In addition, the sticky consistency of pasta and rice can also cause them to cling to the blades, reducing their effectiveness.

Used Coffee Grounds

coffee grounds and beans on table
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While it may be tempting to dispose of coffee grounds in the garbage disposal, it’s one of the items you should avoid placing down the garbage disposal. Coffee grounds don’t break down easily and can accumulate in the garbage disposal, leading to clogged drain pipes.

So, for all the coffee lovers who have been disposing of their leftover coffee grounds in the sink, it’s time to stop. Instead, you can dispose of coffee grounds in the trash, place it in a compost pile, or repurpose it.

12 Unexpected Ways to Reuse Old Coffee Grounds


steak bones
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Bones are tough and dense, making them difficult to grind. Placing them down the drain will force the garbage disposal to work overtime, as the blades were not designed to handle this level of grinding. This can ultimately damage the blades and cause the garbage disposal to jam up.

Uncooked Meats

uncooked meats
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Placing uncooked meats in the garbage disposal can have major consequences. Uncooked, raw meat can easily get lodged in the sides of your garbage disposal and pipes. Not only can this start a clog, but it can also lead to a foul odor.

The best practice is to avoid placing large clumps of raw meat down the disposal and instead wrap your meat in a plastic bag to limit odors and discard it in the trash can.

Cooking Oils and Grease

cooking oils
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Placing grease down the garbage disposal can cause the grease to build up over a period of time in your pipes and cause severe bottlenecks. Grease down the garbage disposal will gradually gather around the blades, impairing its grinding power. This buildup will diminish the disposal’s capacity to perform.

If it becomes a habit, the grease will clog the pipes, causing inconvenience and potential plumbing problems.

Egg Shells

egg shells in basket
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Placing eggshells in your garbage can actually wreak havoc on the device. The thin membrane lining the inside of the eggshell will stick around the blades and shredder ring of the garbage disposal, potentially causing malfunction to the device. And if the egg membrane remains in the sink for an extended time, it will begin to smell.

Ways to Get Rid of Smells in Garbage Disposal

Seafood Shells

seafood shells
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The hard shells of seafood, particularly mussels, lobster, crab, and oysters, are extremely difficult to grind up in a garbage disposal. Their tough exterior should be kept away from the garbage disposal.

Potato Peels

potato peels
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It may be tempting to throw the potato peels down the drain, but it’s best to avoid it. The potato skins can go through disposal without getting minced because of the skin’s thinness. This can lead to an immediate clog.


assortment of nuts
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Imagine your garbage disposal being lined with peanut butter. Then imagine how inefficient it would be at chopping things up if peanut butter was around it. Well, that would happen if you placed nuts in the garbage disposal.

When nuts are smashed, they become a sticky, thick paste. Therefore, it is best to refrain from tossing any form of nuts into the garbage disposal.

Non-Food Items

paper towel
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You should always avoid placing any nonfood items down the kitchen sink drain. This includes but not limited to plastic, paper towels, metal, and glass items. The garbage disposal was not intended to grind up or minch anything other than food in its disposal.

12 Surprising Items in Your Kitchen that Need to Hit the Trash Immediately

updated kitchen
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The kitchen holds a special place in our homes, serving as a hub for cooking, meals, and gatherings. However, even though it’s the center of our daily lives, it’s easy for clutter, disarray, and items that have outstayed their welcome to accumulate in this space. Check out the 12 items in your kitchen that should be thrown away immediately.

12 Surprising Items in Your Kitchen that Need to Hit the Trash Immediately

10 Things That Should Never Go Inside of a Dishwasher

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Dishwashers are indeed great for quick and efficient kitchen cleanup. However, there’s a common misconception that dishwashers can handle any type of kitchenware. Here’s a list of 10 items that you should avoid putting in the dishwasher.

10 Things That Should Never Go Inside of a Dishwasher

The Ultimate Kitchen Essentials List

kitchen with stove
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A well-stocked kitchen is essential for any home. Equipping your kitchen with the necessary items can change how you cook and experience your cooking space. Whether you’re building up from scratch or simply looking for kitchen necessities for a new apartment, this checklist has you covered.

The Ultimate Kitchen Essentials List

12 Shocking Things You Should Never Put in the Trash

trash garbage bin
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While we know to separate recyclables, we often group everything else without a second thought, neglecting the items that require special handling. Some of these items can be harmful to people, pets, and the environment, so it’s important to dispose of them correctly. Here are 12 items you should never place in the trash – and what you can do with them instead.

12 Shocking Things You Should Never Put in the Trash

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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