A garbage disposal can function perfectly for years, grinding up leftover food meal after meal. While these garbage-eating gadgets certainly make life easier, even the most powerful disposal has limits to what it can handle. From coffee grounds to celery, here are things you shouldn’t put down a garbage disposal to prolong its productive lifespan.

Kitchen Cleanup 101: Things You Shouldn’t Put Down a Garbage Disposal

While having a garbage disposal can mean the utmost in cleanup convenience, it can result in big headaches if used incorrectly. Our list of things you shouldn’t put down a garbage disposal includes no-brainers, as well as some surprises. We’ll also include helpful maintenance tips to keep your disposal clean and fresh.


Grease and oil top our list of what not to put in a garbage disposal. Hot water will make these fats congeal and stick to disposal blades. Plus, even if grease makes it out of the disposal, it can still coagulate in drain pipes and cause a troublesome clog. Instead, pour these fats into a resealable jar and allow them to solidify before tossing in the garbage.

list of what not to put in a garbage disposal

Pasta and Rice

Starchy foods like pasta, rice, and oatmeal are all things you shouldn’t put down a garbage disposal. Unfortunately, they tend to swell and expand when soaked with water. Once this happens, clogs in the disposal and drain are just a matter of time. 

Coffee Grounds

Believe it or not, coffee grounds are an example of what shouldn’t go in a garbage disposal. As small as they are, these granules can accumulate in the disposal and turn into a thick sludge that causes drain clogs. Save yourself some trouble and always throw coffee grounds in the garbage. Or, better yet, add them to your compost to enrich garden soil.

what shouldn't go in a garbage disposal

Fruit Pits

It should come as no surprise that large pits are things you shouldn’t put down a garbage disposal. If a knife can’t cut through peach, plum and avocado pits with ease, disposal blades won’t be able to either. What can you put in your garbage disposal? The fleshy parts of these fruits, as well as their peels, can be shredded with ease.


Celery, banana peels, and corn husks are fibrous foods with thin strands that can easily wind around disposal blades, causing tangles. The more the blades spin, the worse the tangles can become. To play it safe, throw these remnants in the trash or compost pile. Wondering what foods can you put down the disposal? Celery leaves and the fruit of the banana are perfectly fine. 

things you shouldn't put down a garbage disposal


Little-known garbage disposal tips include keeping nuts far away from those rotating blades. Nuts will release their natural oils when they’re rapidly ground. While this can make for tasty nut butter, oils that are released in the garbage disposal can have the same effect as grease. Eventually, they’ll coagulate and cause clogs. For this reason, always throw leftover nuts, and nut butter, in the trash.

Disposal Maintenance Tips

The do’s and don’ts of disposals are about more than just the right and wrong foods.

The following garbage disposal maintenance tips are also essential to keep it running smoothly:

  • Use cold water when running your disposal. Hot water can cause fats to congeal more easily. 
  • Be sure to run the water for at least 15 seconds after turning off the disposal. This will ensure that food particles are flushed down the drain.
  • Clean the disposal every 2 weeks by processing a small amount of ice. The blades will cleanse themselves by slicing through the hard ice before it melts away.
  • Banish odor by tossing citrus peels down the disposal. A fresh scent will be released as the peels are processed and the peel’s natural acid will inhibit bacterial growth.


Did a stray pit or banana peel slip through the cracks and do some damage? Call Moore Appliance Service for a quick and professional garbage disposal repair.