Too many homeowners take the garbage disposal’s name literally and attempt to dispose of any and all food debris only to end up with a big mess and a malfunctioning appliance. The garbage disposal is an unfortunate misnomer because there are many things that it simply won’t dispose of. Your garbage disposal has its limits. Here are some items you shouldn’t put down your garbage disposal:


This seems obvious but some people really try to put bones down their disposal. Stop. Now.

Stringy Fibrous Vegetables

How many of us have been stuck with a mess after putting that Halloween pumpkin pulp down the disposal? The same holds true for any stringy veggie.

Coffee Grounds

When wet, coffee grounds can create a pasty dense lump. If you want to keep your coffee grounds out of the landfill, compost them or put them in the garden.


You know what spaghetti looks like after it’s been sitting awhile. It is a clumped mass of gumminess. Now imagine that down your garbage disposal. Not good.


And speaking of gumminess, what is gummier than congealed oatmeal? Oatmeal down the disposal is a huge clog just waiting to happen.

Potato Peels

If you haven’t had a disaster of a potato peel backup at Thanksgiving, trust us on this one.

Egg Shells

You know that membrane you struggle with when you are peeling hard-boiled eggs? It is also your disposal’s nemesis.

Onion Skins

Onion skins clog in much the same way as egg shells. There is also a thin membrane right under the skin of the onion and it can get trapped in the blades of your disposal in the same way as the egg’s membrane.


What happens when you chop and grind nuts up? Think peanut butter.

Fruit Pits

The rule of thumb is simple. If you can’t chew it up, neither can your disposal.


Good news and bad news here. Good news: the grease may easily bypass your disposal. Bad news: it can then clog your drain and create a plumbing disaster.

Harsh Chemicals

Drain cleaners and industrial grade chemicals are bad for the environment and equally bad for your disposal.


Another obvious one but you wouldn’t believe how many homeowner see no problem with putting dried paint down their disposal.


Yes, we know it’s called a garbage disposal. No, it doesn’t mean trash. That means wrappers, plastic bags, paper towels, and food packaging have no place in the disposal. Ever.

If you have read this too late and you now have a disposal mess on your hands, call the Ajax appliance repair experts at ES Appliance Repair. We can be out in a jiffy and get that garbage disposal unclogged or repaired. After we give you a little Garbage Disposal 101 talk, that is.