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5 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

This useful kitchen tool wasn't designed to discard just anything.

Having a garbage disposal in your kitchen can certainly make for easy clean-up after a big dinner. But your disposal is not a one-size-fits-all tool—even if many of us try to treat it that way. If you find that you're constantly dealing with a clogged drain, it could be because you're putting the wrong things down your disposal. Over time, this could stop it from working completely. To avoid this fate, read on to find out the five things experts say you should never put down your garbage disposal.

READ THIS NEXT: 13 Things You Should Never Pour Down the Drain.

Potato peels

Color image of a young woman peeling potatoes in the kitchen of her home.

Many of us peel potatoes over a strainer in their kitchen sink to avoid making a mess. But if a piece of skin falls into the sink, don't just let it go down the garbage disposal.

"You cannot put potato skins in there," warns Constantin Geambasu, an expert plumber with over 25 years of experience and owner of Water Rehab in Phoenix. "Potato peels are acidic and destroy the coating in the bottom of the garbage disposal."

Hot water

Shallow depth of field view of a kitchen sink with the water running

You might want to watch out when it comes the temperature of the water you let go into your garbage disposal as well. If you want it to keep working efficiently, Geambasu advises against using really hot water when running your disposal.

"Hot water dulls the blades," he says.

Instead, Geambasu recommends running ice cubes through your disposal at least once a week. "Ice cubes will sharpen the blades," he shares.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Items You Should Never Store in Your Pantry, According to Experts.


chicken bone on black plate

If you have pets, you might be wary of putting things like chicken bones in your trash can, just in case your furry friend is feeling adventurous. But don't expect your garbage disposal to do the job of getting rid of them instead.

The disposal is designed to grind up soft food scraps, not harder things like bones, says Angela Lee, a cleaning expert working with the Canada-based cleaning company Hellamaid.

"Putting bones down the garbage disposal can dull or break the blades, leading to costly repairs," Lee warns.

Coffee grounds

Dark Coffee Grounds
Nor Gal/Shutterstock

Cleaners will sometimes recommend people put coffee grounds down their garbage disposal to remove odors, Alex Varela, a cleaning expert and the general manager of Dallas Maids, tells Best Life. But according to Varela, this can quickly go awry if you use more than you should.

"Too much can clog it up," he notes. "If your garbage disposal is clogged, it's going to work less efficiently, and it might even break."

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Closeup macro of pasture raised farm fresh dozen brown eggs store bought from farmer in carton box container with speckled eggshells texture

Some people also suggest putting eggshells down the garbage disposal as a way to help sharpen the blades, according to Alessandro Gazzo, a cleaning expert working with Emily's Maids in North Dallas. But that's nothing but a "common myth," he says.

In fact, Lily Cameron, a cleaning supervisor for Fantastic Services, says eggshells can actually cause significant harm to your garbage disposal.

"The thin membrane on the inside of the shell can wrap around the blades and cause clogs and damage," she explains. "So dispose of eggshells in the regular trash or compost them."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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