Garbage Disposals: What You Can and Can’t Put in Them

Despite the name, your garbage disposal is not meant for all types of trash. When used correctly, the garbage disposal can be the kitchen’s savior. The correct type of waste being fed to the disposal maximizes your kitchen’s efficiency and prevents excess food from going to a landfill. Unfortunately, old wives’ tales and misinformation often mean the appliance is used improperly. If fed the incorrect items, your garbage disposal can clog. This creates not only unsightly smells but unsanitary conditions in the kitchen. To avoid this happening, follow the Sin City Plumbing guide to what you can and can’t put in the garbage disposal.


Can: Ice Cubes

It’s a myth that ice cubes could break your garbage disposal. The blades found within your sink are sturdy enough to withstand some frozen water, and the ice could prove useful. Grinding up ice could act as a brush to the blades, removing stuck food pieces. In time, this will lead to a fresher smelling kitchen; if you’re in a hurry for some clean smells, try making an ice cube out of lemon or lime juice for a bright citrus scent.


Can’t: Coffee Grounds

They seem harmless, but coffee grounds can do damage to your plumbing! Someone started a rumor years ago that putting used coffee grounds down the sink can freshen up any foul odors, and this is technically true. The unfortunate side effect is coffee grounds tend to stick to one another, creating clogs in your plumbing. Toss the grounds to be on the safe side.


Can: Citrus Peels

Just like with the frozen lemon juice trick, grinding citrus peels is a perfectly safe way to freshen up your kitchen! Orange, lemon, or lime peels can go down the garbage disposal, as they’re easily broken up and completely biodegradable. The natural oils may even help clean the disposal blades, so they’re a win-win.


Can’t: Banana Peels

Don’t be fooled by how well citrus peels are received by the disposal: banana peels don’t get the same love. Banana peels are made of entirely different compositions and do not break down well when confronted with a whirling disposal blade. They’re fibrous, which means when hit with the disposal’s blade, they tear into thinner strands. These can become easily wrapped around the mechanism, causing jams or lasting damage.


Can: Liquids

Nearly any liquid can safely pass through your garbage disposal. There’s been evidence that running the faucet on cold for about 30 seconds before attempting to grind anything in the disposal can help keep the plumbing clean. Besides doing this, remember that if anything can smoothly pass through a strainer, it’s safe to go down the drain. Clear soup, broth, soda, and (of course) water are all perfectly safe to throw out down the disposal.


Can’t: Grease or Oil

Think about what happens when you leave the oil in the pan after making bacon. After a little while in the cooler temperatures, grease will harden and create a shell. You do not want this happening inside your garbage disposal, so make sure to keep any fats or oils out of the sink. Instead, toss them in an old pasta sauce jar and keep it in a dry place until it’s full. Throw it away for an eco-friendly move! Remember, even if you slip up, we’re at your disposal. Contact Sin City Plumbing for any Plumbing issues or questions you may have.

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