Maintaining a problem-free garbage disposal

Part 2: Preventing Garbage Disposal Clogs and Jams

Garbage disposals are one of those household tools we use often, but also take for granted—until it becomes clogged or stop working altogether. A big part of maintaining your disposal properly is knowing what you should absolutely not put into it. Not everything can be safely put in the garbage disposal.  Here is a list of items you shouldn’t put in your disposal:

  1. Hard shells from shrimp, crabs and other shellfish
  2. Unpopped popcorn kernels
  3. Bones of any type
  4. Banana peels—Fibers from this fruit and the next four items on the list can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains .
  5. Celery
  6. Corn husk or corn cobs
  7. Artichokes
  8. Potato peelings— The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.
  9. Coffee grounds (in quantity) or coffee filters—now a little bit of coffee grounds is not a problem, but don’t dump the whole filter-full. Put that in the garbage, or in your garden.
  10. Fruit pits and hard seeds from things like avocados or peaches
  11. Onion skins— unless you completely remove the thin membranes of each which can wrap around the shredder ring
  12. Trash, including twist ties, pull tabs, rubber bands, glass, screws, nails, utensils, cigarette butts or bottle caps, paper, plastic, or other trash, fabric, string, rags, or sponges, plant or flower clippings, children’s toys, hair. Remember the garbage disposal is for food items only.
  13. Grease or oil of any kind. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
  14. Rice or Pasta – No matter how much water you run or how long you run the disposal, you can never break rice or pasta down small enough.  Both items swell when they are in contact with water, so the small pieces will eventually gather in the trap and swell until it’s closed.
  15. Boiling water—Most kitchens these days have two sinks, one in which the garbage disposal resides. When draining things like pasta or potatoes in boiling water, use the non-disposal side. Garbage disposals have some plastic parts that can get warped or partially melted by boiling water.


Following theses tips can keep your disposal clean and fully functional. If you do run into problems with your garbage disposal, turn the power off at the circuit breaker before attempting to remove a clog or jam, and call West Coast Plumbing and Water Treatment to handle the repairs for you.


Related posts