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HolidayBuyer's Guide

What not to grind

Certain vegetables


Corn husks

Grease and oils

Hot water

Pits and seeds



​Pasta and rice


Think before you flip that disposal switch. Garbage disposals are for getting rid of food scraps, right? Yes, but not all food scraps. Some scraps are better off composted or thrown away. Here's what you should never put in your garbage disposal.

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The are many vegetables that can wreak havoc on your garbage disposal. You shouldn't put fibrous vegetables in the disposal as they'll bind up around the blade. Some of these vegetables are rhubarb, asparagus, celery, chard, artichokes, kale and lettuce.

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It's OK to dispose of potatoes and potato peels as long as you only put in a little at a time. Potatoes can break down in a disposal and create a sticky starch paste that can gum up the mechanics of the unit.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Like certain vegetables, corn husks can wrap around and bind up a disposal. Send them to the compost heap.

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Just because that blade is whirring doesn't mean that grease and oils won't clog your pipes. Just one batch of grease can have you calling a plumber. The best way to dispose of cooking oil without making a mess is to put it in a sealable container that you don't intend to recycle. Then just throw it in the trash.

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It would seem like turning on the hot water while using your disposal would help the disposal by softening up the food with heat, but it's not true. Horizon Services advises to only use cold water so that any oils or fats that are in the foods you're disposing of can solidify and be chopped up.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

You may have the biggest, baddest disposal on the block, but it wasn't made to chop up fruit pits and seeds. Pits are large enough to dent, bend and warp the blades. And they can even burn out the motor.

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Coffee grounds and beans make your disposal smell awesome, but they can clog the trap in your garbage disposal. Either compost them or throw them away. At least your trashcan will smell good.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Just as it can't handle fruit pits, your disposal can't handle bones -- even ones that have been cooked soft. Fish bones are the only exception.

Caption by / Photo by SEFSC Pascagoula Laboratory; Collection of Brandi Noble, NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC

Pasta and rice expand when they get wet. When you put them in a disposal, even after they're cooked, they keep expanding and can clog up the disposal trap.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford

Oyster, clam, lobster and crab shells are like bones and are usually too thick for a garbage disposal to chop up. Putting these in the disposal can lead to severe damage.

Caption by / Photo by MFoley528/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
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