Skip to Content

Here’s What You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Garbage Disposal


If you have a kitchen equipped with a garbage disposal, you probably would find it difficult to imagine living without it. A working disposal makes it much easier to clean up in the kitchen after meals, and it helps to protect your drainage system by grinding down food waste so it flows easily down the pipes. (There’s also an environmental benefit, which is that garbage disposals keep organic waste out of the landfills by moving it to the sewage treatment plant.)

You can help keep your garbage disposal working without repair issues for many years by taking good care of it and keeping certain items out of it. Here’s a list of things that you shouldn’t put down your disposal:

  • Ice cubes: You may have heard that you can sharpen the blades of a disposal by placing ice down the unit and running it. However, there aren’t any blades in the disposal, only blunt impellers that send food waste against a grind ring. Not only do ice cubes do no good, but they’re also hard enough to damage the disposal’s components.
  • FOG: “Fats, oils, and grease.” These cooking substances look harmless when in hot, liquid form. But as they cool down, they change into waxy solids that can jam up the disposal. It’s best to pour FOG into a separate receptacle and remove it to the trash.
  • Food waste you can’t chew: This includes things such as meat bones and unpopped popcorn kernels. If your teeth can’t handle it, your garbage disposal can’t either.
  • Fibrous foods: Onion skins, celery, and other food with stringy fibers risks getting tangled around the mechanical parts of a disposal and damaging it.
  • Actual garbage: Don’t let the name “garbage disposal” mislead you into thinking that non-organic garbage can go into it. Paper, plastic, cigarettes, etc. belong in the trash can, not the kitchen disposal.

If you need repairs for your kitchen garbage disposal, call Mallick Plumbing & Heating in Silver Spring, MD.