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What You Should And Should Not Put In Your Garbage Disposal

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What things should not go into your garbage disposal? There are a lot of different answers to this question so we thought we should give you our thoughts on the discussion. Please keep in mind that this is our advice based on our experiences and we will not be responsible if your experiences are different. We also recommend that you follow manufacturer's instructions. If the manufacturer of your garbage disposal tells you to do something different than what we say, follow your manufacturer's instructions.

We have put together a list of items that you should put in your garbage disposal:

If you find that something is not on our list and you think it should be, please let us know. Just send us a note in our Ask Eli form.

  • Water

Make sure you run water down the garbage disposal during use. Turn the water on before you turn the garbage disposal on and then turn it off after you turn the garbage disposal off. Water should be running the whole time the garbage disposal is on. Then it is a good idea to run it for a few seconds after the garbage disposal is finished running to flush things out of the P-trap and down the drain pipes. Cold water is best because it solidifies grease and fatty foods helping them move down the drain pipes.

You should give things a good flushing on occasion. To do this you put the drain plug in the sink drain, fill the sink about half way full of water, pull the drain plug, and turn on the garbage disposal until all the water is gone. This will flush out anything hanging out in the P-trap and send it on it's way down the pipes.

  • Small bits of food left on your plate after a meal.

This is the main thing that you should be using your garbage disposal for. If there is a lot left on the plate then take it to the garbage can or compost bin. If there are just a few scraps, wash them down the garbage disposal.

  • Breads

Bread items usually break up easily and disolve quickly in water. Make sure you run plenty of water or it will turn into a paste.

  • Cooked vegetables

Cooked vegetables are softer and can easily be run down the garbage disposal.

  • Cooked meats

Cooked meats are fine to run down the garbage disposal. Make sure it is in small pieces though and avoid putting bones in.

  • Egg shells

Egg shells are a controversial subject. Some people say definitely don't and some people say definitely do. We are on the do side. They break up easily and are not heavy so they won't sit in your drains and build up. Make sure you run the garbage disposal before putting them in and then run plenty of water after. They will actually clean your garbage disposal with their sharp edges. For more on this subject, check out our Ask Eli answer to the question, "Can I put eggshells in the garbage disposal?"

  • Ice

Ice sounds terrible in the garbage disposal but won't hurt it. Some people think it cleans the inside of the garbage disposal but we don't think it does much by itself. You can, however, add some things to it to help clean your disposal. If you add eggshells or rock salt the ice beats them around the surface on the inside while the sharp edges on the eggshells or rocksalt scrape stuff off. Here are some more ideas for cleaning your garbage disposal. There are people who say ice sharpens the blades in the garbage disposal. The parts in the garbage disposal can't be sharpened by putting something in it. Cleaning the garbage disposal will help it run more efficiently but putting things in it will not sharpen it.

So, if these things are all safe to put in your garbage disposal, then what things should NOT go in your garbage disposal? Click to find out.

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