Items That Are ‘OK’ To Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposal sink

A few weeks ago we wrote a blog about food items you really shouldn’t put down your garbage disposal, which left a few people wondering, “well what can I put down my garbage disposal?” First, we want to preface that we completely understand that some items on the ‘no’ list are going to sneak past you and get washed down the drain. So please don’t stress if they do. We understand that it’s impossible to keep tabs on everything that gets washed down your kitchen sink. Especially if you have multiple people helping to do dishes on a regular basis. If a larger bone or item gets washed down, just make sure to have an adult safely remove the item. But if some rice, potatoes or coffee grinds find their way down the drain it’s not the end of the world. We just suggest not making a regular habit of flushing these items down the drain. Small bones and pieces of meat are a good example of this — if they slip past, no big deal, but it’s not a good idea to shovel them down after every meal. Even if your garbage disposal can take it, these items can cause unpleasant odors in your sink.

Most of the newer garbage disposal models can grind bits and pieces that come their way fairly efficiently to prevent any major plumbing hiccups. This brings up a quick note that if you do have an older model, it might be a good idea to have it checked for efficiency.

But we digress. Our post today is about what foods are on the ‘ok’ list to put down the garbage disposal. And here they are:

Citrus Rinds

Lemon, lime, and orange rinds can be a benefit to your disposal as they can help to clean your disposal, and help freshen it up by releasing the essential oils that naturally reside in the skin of the fruit. We recommend cutting the pieces up into smaller bits, if you can.

Fruit and Veggie

Apples, pears, oranges, berries, and grapes can safely go down your disposal drain. These items break down and biodegrade pretty easily.

Most veggie scraps are ‘ok’ to put down your garbage disposal. Leafy greens and collards grind up fairly easily, for example. But remember that some fruits and veggies are much too fibrous to be put down the disposal drain. For example, while the soft edible portion of a banana is garbage disposal friendly, the peel is a big time no-no! The same goes for onions, the edible portion of an onion is no problem, but the skin of the onion ‘not so much.’

Bread Products

Breads tend turn to mush rather quickly when wet, and will grind up easily and wash down your disposal without issue.

Dairy products

Cheeses and dairy products will also go down the disposal pretty easily. For harder or more dense cheeses, run the disposal with cold water to help the bits solidify and prevent a fatty residue from coating your sink drain, disposal, and plumbing.

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes can help to clean and sharpen the blades of your disposal. We don’t recommend overloading your disposal with a pitcher of ice cubes, however. Either let most of the ice melt, or press smaller amounts through the drain at a time.

For a complete list of items you shouldn’t put down your garbage disposal, and the reasons why, please check out our blog, “8 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal.”

North County Plumbing has been in the service business since 1970 providing quality plumbing services including leak detection and drain service in northern San Diego County. Our qualified technicians are available 24 hours a day to help with emergency plumbing repair services… with no overtime charges!

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