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16 things you should never put in the garbage disposal

Avoid clogged pipes and repairs by keeping these items out of the disposal.

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What not to grind

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

Super Mario soup
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I'm going to assume you wouldn't put utensils into your disposal on purpose, but sometimes they make their way down there anyway. Before using your disposal, make sure that it's clear of obstructions, like spoons, forks or miscellaneous items your kids tossed in the sink.

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Certain vegetables

Many vegetables can wreak havoc on your garbage disposal. You shouldn't put fibrous vegetables in the disposal as they'll bind up around the blade. Watch out for rhubarb, asparagus, celery, chard, artichokes, kale and lettuce.

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It's okay 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.

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Corn husks

Like certain vegetables, corn husks can wrap around and bind up a disposal.   

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Hard stems, like those found on bell peppers can also cause problems.

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Rinds -- like those found on melons and pumpkins -- are a no-no, since they're too hard to chop up easily. Send them to the compost heap.

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Grease and oils

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.   

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Grease disposal

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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Save it

You can also pour your grease in a muffin tin and save it for frying. Just cover it with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

water going down a sink
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Hot water

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.

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Pits and seeds

You may have the biggest, baddest disposal on the block, but it wasn't made to chop up fruit pits and seeds. 

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Why not pits?

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.

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Just like 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.

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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.

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​Pasta and rice

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.

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Certain bread dough -- particularly those with a high gluten content -- can clog up your disposal. If you must put leftover dough in the disposal, soak it in hot water to dissolve it.

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Marshmallows can gum up your disposal, too.

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Slime was once the DIY rage, but don't throw your old slime in the garbage disposal now that the hype is cooling off. 

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