What Can I Put Down The Garbage Disposal?

Let’s talk about what can and cannot be put into a garbage disposal. Your garbage disposal can grind up mostly anything as long as it is not in large amounts. See our list for what you can safely be put down the disposal. Note: See here if you need to reset your garbage disposal.

What Can I Put Down The Garbage DisposalWhat Can I Put Down The Garbage Disposal?

The horsepower of your garbage disposal indicates how much it can handle. Most homes have a 1/2 HP model under the kitchen sink. A 1/2 HP garbage disposal will do the job for most applications such as lemon peels and apple cores. If you happen to have a 3/4 or a 1 HP model, the disposal will have an easier time grinding up bigger and more bulky items such as banana peels and thicker grapefruit peels. If you are choosing a new garbage disposal, consider getting a larger HP model (3/4 HP or 1 HP) as they have more power, are quieter, and are more effective at grinding up larger food items.

Downstream from your disposal, food items in your pipes can build up over time, so the existing home plumbing is an important factor too. Keeping the pipes free of clogs is important. It is best to add only small amounts of food debris into the disposal at a time and run the water to keep the pipes flowing. Do not add large bulky items into the disposal at one time as this can cause a clog downstream.

Keep your garbage disposal running clean and free of clogs:

  • Do not add large portions of food into the disposal at one time.
  • Always allow water to flow when running the garbage disposal.
  • Do not put a non-food item in your garbage disposal.
  • Add a lemon peel into the disposal to avoid harsh smells.
  • Check your disposal owner’s manual if you have other issues.

List of items that can and cannot be put into the garbage disposal:

Apple Cores

YES
Put only one apple core into the disposal at a time while letting the water run. Most disposals 1/2 HP and above will dispose of it.

Avocado Pits

NO
Hard pits will bounce around and be noisy. Simply dispose of an Avocado pit in the garbage can.

Banana Peels

YES
But, banana peels can clog your pipes in larger amounts. Remove the small stickers and do not put too much in at once.

Bones

NO
Bones can wreak havoc on the plumbing and even damage the disposal. Bits of bone can clog the pipes in your plumbing so it best to just throw bones away in the trash.

Celery

YES
Add only small chunks of celery into the disposal at a time while letting the water run. Most disposals 1/2 HP and above will dispose of it.

Cherry Pits

NO
Hard food items are loud when in the disposal and creates wear and tear on the unit. Dispose in the trash can instead.

Coffee Grounds

NO
Coffee grounds can clog your plumbing. Avoid adding to the disposal and throw in trash instead.

Corn Husks

NO
Do not put corn husks into the disposal as the string in the corn husks can wrap around the gears. The stringy husks can also cause a clog in the pipes if the disposal did not grind them enough.

Drain Cleaner

NO
As per the owner’s manual for most disposals, do not use a caustic drain cleaner in any disposal. These chemicals have a corrosive effect and can damage your disposal.

Egg Shells

NO
For the sake of clogging the plumbing, it is not recommended to dispose of egg shells. Shells can build up into smaller pieces and clog a pipe.

Food Grease

NO
Grease can become a solid in the pipes and cause a large clog. Avoid adding grease into any garbage disposal.

Food Oils

NO
Cooking oil can become a clog in the pipes over time. Dispose of food oils in a proper container.

Fruit Peels

YES
Most fruit peels can be ground up with no issues. Remember to only put small amounts of citrus peel into the disposal at once as clogs could occur.

Grapefruit Peels

YES
A grapefruit peel is thicker than most fruit peels, so add smaller pieces to the disposal at a time. A GF peel can help the disposal smell fresh from the grapefruit oils.

Lemon Peels

YES
In small amounts lemon peels can be added into the disposal and can help it smelling fresh from the lemon oils. Adding lemon peels to the disposal regularly will reduce the odors that come from within the disposal.

Pasta

YES
However do not dispose of pasta in big amounts as the pasta can expand in your pipes and cause clogs. Add a small amount of pasta to the disposal at a time and run water.

Pineapple Skins

NO
The hard pineapple skin will make the disposal work overtime and cause a large amount of noise. This can reduce the life of your disposal and should be avoided. It is best to dispose of the pineapple skin in the trash.

Potato Peels

NO
Potato peels can get sticky and cling to the blades of the disposal. They can also stick inside the plumbing and cause a blockage. It is best to throw them away in the trash.

Rice

YES
However, rice expands and expanding rice can cause a clog in your plumbing. Avoid adding large amounts of rice at one time and run the water thoroughly.

Watermelon Rinds

NO
Watermelon rinds can take a long time to grind as they are very dense. Avoid putting large chunks of rind in the disposal and throw in the trash instead.

Remember, some of the items above CAN be put into the garbage disposal but is NOT recommended by the disposal manufacturer.

Garbage disposal listGarbage Disposal List
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Need help with what food items you can put down your garbage disposal? Please let us know if you are wondering what you can put down the disposal by leaving your comment below.

ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant
Allen is a Home Maintenance/Appliance Tech and the author/creator of this website. He has 33 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of appliances. Contact here

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