Throwing food waste in the trash

In the Trash or Down the Drain? 10 Items Your Garbage Disposal Can’t Process

At the flip of a switch, your garbage disposal can get rid of anything, right? Well, it’s not that easy. We’re guessing that most homeowners haven’t taken garbage disposal 101, so they don’t know how to properly take care of theirs until it’s too late. By that time, they’re calling up the local plumber and having to sign a check for a costly repair. Rather than going down that route, our experts at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited are here to help you from making a messy mistake. Today, we’re taking a look at the items that you should never dump down the kitchen sink:

Oils, greases, and fats

It may seem like these substances can easily go down your drain, mainly because they’re liquids. Not quite— they harden once they’ve cooled down and will clog up your pipes.

Coffee grounds

When processed, coffee grounds reduce to a thick pasty substance that your garbage disposal has a difficult time getting rid of easily. You might hear that coffee grounds neutralize unwelcome odors, but it causes more problems than it solves.

Pasta and rice

Starchy foods like pasta, rice, quinoa, and bread all absorb water and expand. Safe to say, these items will swell up in your drain and obstruct other anything else from flowing down properly.

Animal bones

Animal bones are too big and tough to grind up, which means it can damage your garbage disposal’s impellers.


Similar to coffee grounds, when nuts go down the grinder, they become thick, pasty, and get stuck in your garbage disposal.


While some argue that eggshells help sharpen the blades in a disposal, others believe that the thin membrane on eggshells can get stuck in the drain. We like to err on the side of caution and toss them out in the trash.

Fibrous foods

Anything that has a long stringy consistency like celery, banana peels, corn husks, and onion peels tend to wrap around your disposal’s impellers and get stuck, causing the appliance to malfunction.

Fruit seeds and pits

If your garbage disposal can’t grind up bones, it won’t be able to break down a peach pit or avocado seed. A good rule to remember is if you can’t cut something up with a knife, it shouldn’t go down your kitchen sink.

Chemical drain cleaners

We recommend staying away from products with harsh chemicals in them. Prolonged use can break down your pipes and cause some serious damage.


Do not throw medication down any drain, including toilets and sinks. The ingredients can get into nearby water sources and pollute the area. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the best way to dispose of medicine is to drop it off at a drug take-back site. This link will show you the locations near you.

Contact HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited

By keeping these items out of your garbage disposal, you’ll be able to get the most out of this essential kitchen appliance. If you experience any problems with yours, such as clogs, grinding noises, or leaks, our professionals at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited can help you today!

Give us a call at (703) 454-5040 or fill out our online contact form.