Ask Pete: What can I put in my garbage disposal?

We’ve all had that moment where we pause and even panic a little after depositing some item down the drain. Uh oh, can that go down the disposal? We don’t need to worry anymore because Pete has all the answers to “What can I put in my garbage disposal”

Pete reminds us that the purpose of the garbage disposal is to grind down food scraps into tiny bits so that they don’t clog the drain. 

Pete, What Cannot Be Put In A Garbage Disposal?

Well, the short answer is that you can’t put stringy things, extremely hard things, greasy things, or grainy things. I’ll give some examples of these to help explain.

Extremely hard things like bones and fruit pits can’t go down the drain. Shrimp peels fall into this category, too. Your disposal blades are not capable of breaking down very hard things and they can get damaged. If you can’t break it down with your hands or teeth, the garbage disposal probably can’t either.

Stringy things are a little harder to explain but think of those things that are really fibrous. Fruit and veggie peels are the primary problem. Things like asparagus, carrot peels, and banana peels can get caught up around the base of the blades and cause problems. The blades can’t get to them to cut them apart and send them down the drain.

Just a side note here, citrus peels aren’t stringy and can actually be helpful. You just have to break ‘em down into smaller pieces before putting them down the drain.

What’s next? Ah, yes, greasy and grainy things. First of all, you should never put grease or fat down any drain because of what it does to the pipes, but grainy is a little harder to explain. Grainy things such as eggshells and coffee grounds can accumulate in the drain and cause problems. 

Things that expand in water, like pasta and rice, could cause a problem, but not with your disposal. It’s just that they shouldn’t go down the drain because they can expand. A small amount of any of that will be absolutely fine, but don’t dump a whole pot of pasta down the drain. 

I hope it goes without saying that chemicals and non-biodegradable things should never go into the disposal or down any drain. 

What Can I Put in My Disposal to Make it Smell Better?

My favorite choice for this is just citrus peels. After using a lemon or an orange you can take some of the peel, tear it into smaller pieces, and place it in the disposal while running water like usual. If you do that every couple of months or when you notice it doesn’t smell great, that should take care of it. You can also run ice cubes to keep it humming.

Can Banana Peels Go in the Disposal?

A very specific question with an easy answer! No, banana peels are stringy and will give your disposal a problem. You don’t need that trouble so just toss them in the compost or the trash.

Hope that answers all your questions! I do want to mention that you don’t want to overfill the disposal. Even all the stuff that can go into the disposal should only be put in there in small amounts at a time. And you need to run the water the whole time you are running the disposal and for about 10-15 seconds after you finish grinding.

Taking good care of your disposal with maintenance and careful usage means it will last as long as possible.

If your disposal is giving you any trouble give us a call to get an estimate for a replacement or repair. We are here to help! You can reach us at 480-388-6093 or see our main page here.