An image of a child grabbing a strawberry near the kitchen sink.

Let’s be honest, we love our garbage disposals. It’s a quick and sanitary way to dispose of food waste, keeping your trash cans cleaner and lighter — and it helps keep your food waste out of the landfill! Garbage disposals can get overworked between all the food we throw down them, and even the newer models have a simplistic construction that can get overrun. While we all know that you shouldn’t put grease or oil down our drains, there are certain foods that aren’t great for your disposal. These types of foods can cause clogs and overwork the disposal, causing you to have to replace them, which is time consuming and an expense you won’t want to cover if you can avoid it. So, let’s take a look at some things you should avoid putting down your garbage disposal.


Coffee Grounds

For a long time there has been a common misconception that putting coffee grounds down your disposal is a great way to help dispose of any odors that might be arising from your sink. However, while the scent of coffee can help mask certain food odors, coffee grounds can actually cause you more harm than help. When coffee grounds are taken out of the filter and thrown down the drain they can turn into a thick, dense paste-like substance that can build up over time and eventually lead to a clogged drain. Instead of throwing coffee grounds down to clear out smells, try thinly sliced citrus rinds.



It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that pasta expands when it’s soaked in water. And with that thought, it’s best that you don’t put pasta down the garbage disposal. You may think that if it’s being ground up, what’s the issue? Well, even when its ground up, these pieces of pasta will still expand when they’re around water, meaning they can expand over time and take over your disposal. A few noodles won’t hurt anything, but we don’t recommend throwing that entire pasta casserole down your disposal.

Onion Skins

If you’re cooking with onions, the actual vegetable can be put down the drain, but we recommend that you save the skins for the trash can. The problem with onion skins is that they can get stuck on the blades and then act like a net and catch and hold on to other food particles. Not only does this lead to a smelly sink, but it also creates a barrier between the blades, causing them to get jammed up. Save yourself the time and money by just taking a few extra steps to the trash can; it’s a few seconds of effort that can save hours of work or an expensive visit from a plumber.



Peaches, avocados, and cherries are all some of our favorite foods, but they have extremely hard pits that can dull and break the blades of your disposal. A good rule of thumb is: if you can’t cut it with a knife, you shouldn’t put it down the drain. Don’t panic if you accidentally drop a small pit down the drain, but you won’t want to make it a routine habit.



If you’re a big crafter you’re going to want to pay attention to this one. Paint that is poured down the drain can stick to the sides of your disposal or end up sitting in the pipes, where it can begin to harden and eventually clog your sink. If you’re just washing your brushes that should be okay, but that paint should be heavily diluted. Its best that you use an appropriate container to clean them and then dispose of that neatly.


At Hubbard Plumbing, we’re here for all your plumbing needs no matter what you’ve thrown down the garbage disposal. From drain clogs to ruptured pipes, our experienced plumbers have seen and done it all! Call us today with any plumbing or service questions!