What Is Safe To Put Down The Garbage Disposal?

What Is Safe To Put Down The Garbage Disposal?

As the #1 residential garbage disposal installation plumber on Chicago’s Northwest Side, we’ve seen it all when it comes to things people think they can put down their disposal safely. It runs the gamut from the sensible to the outrageous and much of it can spell doom for your kitchen garbage disposal. See garbage disposals are not built to handle everything and drains aren’t designed to transport whatever you decide to toss in the sink. That’s a quick way to garbage disposal replacement so read up on what the top-rated plumbers in Chicagoland would put in our own garbage disposals.

One thing to remember – garbage disposals are almost impossible to repair for a cost lower than a new model so when you have problems you’re probably going to be looking at replacement, not repair. And that’s an expense you can completely avoid by following a few simple rules when using your garbage disposal every day. Of course if your garbage disposal is too far gone one call to Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer at (773) 633-6139 is all it takes to replace it at a great price!

Things You Can Safely Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

To get started, we thought it would be best to lay out all of the items we as plumbers know to be safe to put down your garbage disposal. While this is an exhaustive list, it’s by no means everything that is safe to dispose of down the drain but it will give you a firm footing of items that are deemed safe so you can use the knowledge to make informed decisions about other items. That’s the best way to play it safe when it comes to your garbage disposal.

We’ll start off with the things we think you’d most commonly find yourself choosing whether to throw out or to put down the garbage disposal – much of this being foodstuffs. So let’s dive right in to what our plumbers think is okay for your garbage disposal to handle:

  • Peels & Rinds: Yes, you can use your garbage disposal to dispose of peels and rinds from fruits and vegetables. It’s perfectly safe and can even come with an added benefit of deodorizing your garbage disposal if you use lemon, lime or orange peels. The juices work wonders on smells coming from the drain!
  • Raw & Cooked Fruits: Just like with the peels and rinds, you can use your garbage disposal to get rid of unwanted fruit leftovers or raw fruits – so long as they’re not overly fibrous. Things like coconut husks and pineapple rinds are probably best thrown in the trash or in your compost pile.
  • Raw & Cooked Vegetables: Along the same lines as fruits, vegetables are usually safe to be put down your disposal as it’s designed to tear apart items just like this – especially cooked ones. But just like with fruits, avoid putting anything fibrous down your garbage disposal as that puts significant strain on the motor and blades.
  • Meat Scraps & Small Bones: This is a bit tricky as there are so many different types of meats and meat preparations. The best advice to follow is to think small – if you have small meat scraps and small bones then your garbage disposal can handle them. But anything larger – especially in terms of bones – should be thrown away to protect your garbage disposal. Honestly, we would avoid bones altogether to be safe.
  • Coffee Grounds & Egg Shells: Everyone has heard a tale about the dangers of coffee grounds in the garbage disposal or that egg shells are bad news but those stories are completely false. Coffee grounds pose no danger in small amounts but you should never dump a large amount down the drain. It can gum up your pipes and lead to headaches you don’t want down the road. Egg shells are a great way to sharpen the blades in your garbage disposal and pose no threat whatsoever.

Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

Okay, so we’ve covered the things that are safe to put down the garbage disposal and they’re pretty straightforward. The biggest rule of thumb to remember is that fibrous foodstuffs are bad for your Northwest Side garbage disposal. But that’s not the only thing you should avoid putting down the system so let’s dive into exactly what you should steer clear of if you wish your garbage disposal to last as the manufacturer intended. These include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

  • Rice & Pasta: Because these two items expand tremendously when they absorb water it’s best to use the trash can or your compost pile for these. While they may not put your garbage disposal out of commission, they could go a long way toward gumming up your plumbing system’s pipes.
  • Fruit Pits & Banana Peels: We said that fruit would not damage your garbage disposal but we mentioned not all fruits were safe and peach pits and banana peels fall into that category. For one thing, pits are incredibly hard and can blunt or even break the blades in your garbage disposal. Banana peels are the epitome of fibrous so they should always be composted or thrown away.
  • Onion Skins & Corn Husks: Both of these vegetables have outer coatings that you should never put down your Northwest Side garbage disposal. Onion skins are fibrous which is a no-no and covered in oils that can harm pipes. Corn husks make onion skins look soft by comparison so never, ever put them down the garbage disposal.
  • Artichokes, Asparagus & Potatoes: These two plant products should be composted or thrown in the trash and never down the garbage disposal. Potatoes are pure starch and that’s extremely bad for your home’s pipes. Artichokes are tough as nails and can burn out a garbage disposal motor in no time flat – just like asparagus!
  • Large Seeds & Nuts: When you put these down a garbage disposal you’re basically making a sludge that’s akin to peanut butter and that’s not anything you want building up in your drain, your pipes or your garbage disposal. The smells will be too much to bear so avoid putting these down the garbage disposal like there’s no tomorrow.
  • No Grease, No Grease, No Grease: No matter what you cooked or what’s left in the pan, never put grease down your drain as it’s a recipe for disaster. For starters, the aromas this will introduce into your home are best avoided and the grease clogs that inevitably follow putting grease down the disposal are too pricey for any homeowner. Steer clear of grease down the garbage disposal and you’ll be okay!

What To Do If Your Northwest Side Garbage Disposal Isn’t Working?

When your Northwest Side residential garbage disposal is giving you fits, turn to the top-rated residential service plumber in all of Chicagoland – Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer. We have more than 500 five-star reviews online – many for kitchen garbage disposal installation – and a never-ending commitment to our customers, to a job done right and to honest pricing. No other local plumbing contractor can say the same so make the call to (773) 633-6139 or submit a contact form for the finest garbage disposal replacement and installation on Chicago’s Northwest Side!

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Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer is a local, family-owned plumbing company with decades of experience delivering the finest service to Chicago and its northern suburbs.

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Vanguard Plumbing

Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer
Phone: (773) 633-6139
Location: 4352 N. Kenneth Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60641


Business Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM–5:00 PM
Saturday: 7:00 AM–3:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

City & State Licensing:
Chicago Sewer: #2422
Illinois Contractor: #055-043043
Chicago Contractor: #SBC196464