Garbage disposals can be a wonderful addition to your kitchen. They are great at breaking up small amounts of organic matter and sending it safely through your plumbing system for disposal.

However, it’s not uncommon for some items to be placed in a garbage disposal that shouldn’t be. While this handy tool can take care of a wide range of different items, there are many that should be avoided.

Carrot and Potato Peels

Most vegetable peels, including potato and carrot peels, are a big no-no for putting down the garbage disposal. While extremely small amounts might be fine, it’s normally suggested that you throw these peels in the trash or a compost bin instead.

Many vegetable peels might make it past the garbage disposal perfectly fine, but will cause latent issues later on. Carrots and potatoes especially will become a slimy and sticky consistency once they start breaking down. This sticky coating can cause a problem for the blades of the garbage disposal as well as the inner walls of the pipes.

Other Foods to Avoid

In addition to carrot and potato peels, other food and organic items can cause problems when placed down the garbage disposal in large enough amounts.

Fibrous Peels

These can be from a wide variety of vegetables including corn husks, artichoke petals, asparagus, onion skins, celery stalks, and more.

High-Starch Foods

This can include pasta, beans, or rice. All of these food items will take on a very thick and sticky paste-like consistency that can seriously clog pipes and gum up working mechanisms in your garbage disposal.

Oils and Grease

This one may seem misleading since, when it is hot, grease is a smooth and free flowing liquid. However, once it cools it becomes a very thick and hard blob that can completely clog even large pipes.


These can quickly dull the blades on your garbage disposal, while also potentially getting wrapped around the moving mechanisms due to the inner membrane of the eggshell.

Hard Items

This can include bones from meat, as well as fruit or vegetable pits. These materials are just too large and too hard for a garbage disposal to break up properly so should instead be disposed of in the trash.

Safe Foods for a Garbage Disposal

While the list of foods to avoid seems long and daunting, there are several foods you can place down a garbage disposal safely without having to worry about clogs becoming an issue. This can include:

  • Unfinished ice cream
  • Popsicles, minus the stick
  • Milks or clotted creams
  • Dips, pasta sauces, and some salsa
  • Applesauce or other food purees
  • Soggy unfinished cereal

Regardless of how much food you might be placing down the drain, always be sure you run plenty of water down the drain as well. This helps break up the food particles and prevent them from getting caught along the pipe walls or in bends as it leads into your main septic system.