To Grind or Not to Grind: A Guide to Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts

Despite their name, garbage disposals are not intended to be used for everything. They are an essential component of your kitchen’s plumbing, but if utilized incorrectly, they may result in leaks or serious blockages that necessitate drain cleaning. Although we are sure you are not disposing of plastic, glass, and metal, it is essential to be aware of items you can put inside your appliance.

When you know the things that can go down the garbage disposal, you can avoid calling a plumber frequently. Even though your disposal appears robust, it cannot handle all types of kitchen waste. Do you know what can go in the garbage disposal, or do you just toss anything from the kitchen there? We’ve put together a list of items that can go inside your garbage disposal and how to maintain your equipment.

How a Garbage Disposal Works

A garbage disposal is an electrically driven device fitted beneath a kitchen sink and lies between the drain and the drain trap. When food and other debris enter the garbage disposal, they travel through a shredder (some people refer to the shredder’s teeth as blades), which grinds the food up into small enough bits to proceed down the drain via the house’s plumbing system.

Most trash disposals have a lifespan of 10 years, depending on how well they are maintained and, more importantly, what is placed into them. You will not only get less lifetime usage out of your garbage disposal if you regularly put things down into it that you shouldn’t, but you also run the risk of causing some plumbing problems.

Since you now understand how a garbage disposal works, it is simpler to comprehend why some objects are better suited for the garbage disposal while others are not.

Items You Can Throw in the Garbage Disposal

Citrus rinds

You can throw orange and other citrus fruit rinds into the garbage disposal for good reasons, which may surprise you. They not only assist in cleaning your disposal organically, but they also leave it smelling beautiful and new.

Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds

There are a variety of opinions on this subject, but we don’t mind if you flush a modest quantity of coffee grounds down the drain. Just be careful not to add too much since it might build up in the lines and produce a blockage or backlog. This is due to the oil present in coffee grinds.

Cooked Meat Scraps

When cleaning dinner dishes, you can dump any leftover meat scraps in the garbage disposal. Again, no enormous quantities or large pieces.

Most Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and Veggies

Almost all fruits and vegetables are safe to throw in the garbage disposal. A few exceptions to this rule are discussed below.

Little Bones

We suggest you dispose of the bones instead of running them through the garbage disposal because they might be difficult for the machine. Having said that, if a bit of bone accidentally goes into the garbage disposal, it’s not a huge concern and should ground up without any issues.

Wet (canned) Cat and Dog Food

Wet Cat Food

If your dog or cat leaves leftover canned food in the bowl, it’s entirely OK to drop it down the disposal.

General Tips for Garbage Disposal Maintenance

These maintenance guidelines will help you in running your disposal so that you may avoid blockages and other typical problems such as corrosion.

Run the garbage disposal regularly

Running the garbage disposal at least once a day is one of the excellent ways to maintain it in good operating order. Even if you don’t have food scraps to grind, run the disposal with cold water to keep the blades from rusting due to inactivity. Using this opportunity is also a smart idea to run some ice cubes through the waste disposal. The blades will cut up the tough cubes and use them to scrape out any debris that may still be clinging to the drainpipe or the appliance’s sidewalls.

Keep Size and Quantity in Mind

Because a garbage disposal is not a little black hole that can accept everything, you must pay attention to the quantity of food waste you are attempting to dispose of and the size of the food waste. Large objects should be split into smaller bits and fed into the garbage disposal gradually. Always add more food waste gradually to prevent blocking the drain or jamming the blades.

Make use of plenty of cold water.

Run cold water through the trash disposal as you operate it to help in moving food scraps into the blades and through the drainpipes. Use cold water instead of hot since the heat will cause the fat to melt and adhere to the disposal’s blades. Keep running cold water down the drain for another 10 to 20 seconds after you have fed food waste down the disposal. The constant stream of cold water effectively flushes the pipes and forces any leftover food particles into the drain.

Clean out the garbage disposal every two weeks, 

To keep the trash disposal running smoothly and minimize clogs, clean it once every two weeks, depending on how frequently you use the device. Fill the garbage disposal with a cup of rock salt and ice cubes to eliminate any physical debris, such as stuck-on food waste. Run the garbage disposal for approximately a minute to allow these naturally abrasive substances to remove any food waste.


Is pasta safe to throw in the garbage disposal?

Putting cooked rice and pasta down the garbage disposal might result in unpleasant issues. The thick paste produced when the rice and pasta are ground up in the garbage disposal might prohibit it from operating or clog the drain, preventing water from passing down the disposal.

Is it safe to put baking soda and vinegar down the garbage disposal?

A simple mixture of vinegar and baking soda is an effective garbage disposal cleaner. Add roughly a half-cup of baking soda and a cup of apple cider or white vinegar to the garbage disposal. After allowing the combination to bubble for five to ten minutes, switch on the disposal and run cold water through the unit to spread the mixture and flush it through.

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