A pile of food scraps beside the words "Garbage Disposals"

After you’ve finished eating, you face the worst part of cooking: cleaning the kitchen. As you go to rinse off your dishes, it can be tempting to dump your left-overs and scraps in the sink and trust that the garbage disposal will take care of them. This temptation gets even stronger when the food materials are ones that get smelly in your trash really quickly. After all, when you dump these scraps in your trash can, you’re faced with two unpleasant options – let them stink up your kitchen or let them leak their smell into your outdoor trash bin as you wait for trash day.

While neither of these options may be ideal, they’re a lot better than breaking your garbage disposal or clogging up your pipes. Here are 10 items that you should never put down your garbage disposal if you want it to remain intact:

1. Pasta

Right after you cook pasta, it doesn’t have too much of a smell. However, after pasta gets old, it develops quite an unpleasant scent. It’s especially bad when you pull a container of month-old pasta out as you’re cleaning the fridge. You may want to dump that pasta into the garbage disposal to get rid of that smell as quickly as possible. However, even after it’s cooked, pasta can keep expanding when it gets wet. This continually expanding pasta will very likely end up clogging your drain.

2. Oatmeal

Ever gotten too much oatmeal for breakfast that you just can’t finish? You may want to dump it into the garbage disposal, but you shouldn’t for the same reason that you shouldn’t dump in pasta – it will keep expanding and clog up your drain.

3. Eggshells

Eggshells are very commonly dumped into the garbage disposal. Most people don’t realize that it’s not a great idea – in fact, there’s even a myth that eggshells help to sharpen a garbage disposal’s blades.

Eggshells have a thin membrane just inside the shell. This membrane can clog up your drain pipes or the impeller (rotor) of your garbage disposal.

4. Potato Peels

After peeling potatoes for dinner, many people merely slide those peels into the sink and run them through the disposal. However, just like eggshells, potato peels can clog up your drains and your disposal’s impeller.

5. Asparagus

Some people think that asparagus smells even right after it’s been cooked. When it spends a week in the trash can, asparagus can really start to reek. After you chop off the ends of the asparagus or as you clean off your picky kid’s plate, you will likely be tempted to brush the asparagus scraps into the trash.

The problem with asparagus is that it’s very fibrous. As it spins around your garbage disposal, those fibrous strings may tangle themselves around your disposal blades instead of breaking apart and going down the drain.

6. Celery

Another extremely fibrous vegetable, celery can get tangled around your garbage disposal’s blades just like asparagus can.

7. Bones

Bones are way too tough to be broken up by your garbage disposal. If you toss bones into your garbage disposal, the bones will likely just destroy the disposal.

8. Coffee Grounds

When cleaning a coffee maker – especially when you have a reusable coffee filter – many people are tempted to dump the grounds in the sink. Each ground is fairly small, so the garbage disposal shouldn’t have too much trouble taking care of them, right?

While it’s true that dry grounds are small and loose, their quality changes when they get wet. You see that thick paste that the coffee grounds form after you make coffee? That paste will clog up your pipes, so you don’t want to pour those grounds into your sink. And a bonus is that instead of stinking up your trash can like many of the above items can, coffee grounds will likely mask the smell of your garbage can.

9. Onion Skins

Onion skins are very thin, so many people don’t think that they’d be a problem for garbage disposals. However, just like eggshells, onion skins have a membrane that can clog up your drain or impeller.

10. Seafood Shells

Oysters, clams, and other seafood smell incredibly unpleasant when they get spoiled. Even after shucking an oyster or eating a lobster tail, the shells will likely have a bit of meat left on them. That meat may begin to stink up your garbage bin in a single day.

Shells, unfortunately, are way too hard for a garbage disposal to grind up and will just end up breaking your garbage disposal.

As mentioned before, many of these items get tossed into the garbage disposal so that they won’t stink up your trash bin. However, a stinky trash isn’t a problem when you have GLEAM wash your trash bins for you. From one-time trash can cleanings to weekly cleanings, they’ll clean your trash bins on a schedule that works well for you. To learn more about their trash bin cleaning services, call them today at 866-471-4450.