Five Foods You Shouldn’t Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal is a great appliance for keeping your kitchen clean and sanitary. Not only is it a super-convenient way of disposing of food waste, but it also helps keeps pests like insects and rodents out of your home. You may be tempted to think your garbage disposal is an easy solution to just about anything in terms of food waste, but the truth is you need to be fairly selective of what you put down the drain. If you’re not careful, you could toss something down the drain that could damage your disposal, or worse, create a pesky clog that backs up your entire drain line.

Here are five foods to avoid putting down the drain and what they can do to wreak havoc on your garbage disposal.


There’s a popular urban myth saying that putting eggshells down the drain sharpens the blades on your garbage disposal. This is false for two reasons: your garbage disposal doesn’t have blades, and the eggshells aren’t nearly strong enough to cause any long-term impact to the rotors. Instead, all that happens is the eggshells are ground up into fine particles which stick to just about anything in your drain line and quickly contribute to a forming clog. Avoid putting any type of shell down your drain as well, such as shrimp shells or nut shells.


Asparagus is an example of another type of food you should avoid putting down the drain: stringy foods. While they may be high in fiber, stringy foods can not only become entangled in the rotors of your garbage disposal, where they can rot and contribute to foul smells, but they also are a huge contributor to clogs. It doesn’t take much for a fiber to stick to the sides of your drain line, and they can catch many other types of debris, resulting in an obnoxious clog. Other stringy foods to avoid putting down your drain include celery and corn husks.

Bacon Grease

Many people think it’s safe to put bacon grease down the drain so long as they run the hot water. It’s not. When bacon grease cools, it solidifies into a sticky mess that can clog even large drain lines. While hot water may keep it liquid some way down your drain line, it will eventually cool, and when it does the bacon grease itself will solidify. This can lead to nasty clogs not just in your kitchen sink drain line, but in your main drain lines and even your sewer line. You should also avoid other heavy fats, such as beef fat, butter, or margarine as well.


Bread is an example of a starchy food which grows and becomes sticky when it absorbs water. This makes it an ideal base for forming a clog: it quickly sticks to just about anything in your drain, and it grows and swells as it absorbs water and other liquid waste going down the drain. Before long, you’ve got a nasty clog that’s difficult to get rid of. Avoid other starchy foods like potato peels or raw flour, as they have similar qualities.


It may seem absurd to think you can shove an entire ribeye bone down the drain, but other, softer bones can actually be ground up by your rotors. Softer chicken bones like the wishbone or fish bones can quickly and easily be ground up into fine particles. However, they act a lot like eggshells when they do: sticking to things and contributing to clogs. Likewise, they’re extremely difficult to filter out from the sewer system, which makes them pretty big polluters. It’s best to avoid them however possible.

Got a pesky drain clog behind your garbage disposal? Let our team of skilled drain specialists handle it! Call Carter Quality Plumbing at (803) 998-2270 today.