Foods That Can Damage Your Garbage Disposal and Pipes

Mahon Plumbing Food Damage Garbage Disposal and Pipes

You might be surprised by which foods can cause damage to your garbage disposal and pipes, so be sure to use this tool wisely!

In the modern kitchen, the garbage disposal has become a silent hero, effortlessly devouring food scraps and keeping our sinks clean and clear. Yet, while it may seem like a magical device capable of handling anything we throw at it, there are certain foods that can wreak havoc on both our garbage disposals and the pipes connected to them. Ignoring the limitations of our garbage disposals can lead to costly repairs and frustrating clogs.

Grease and Oil

While liquid in form when hot, grease and oil quickly solidify as they cool down, creating a sticky, greasy mess in your pipes and disposal. Pouring grease or oil down the drain, even with running water or a disposal, is a recipe for disaster. Over time, these substances can coat the walls of your pipes, leading to blockages and nasty odors. Instead, collect grease and oil in a heat-resistant container and dispose of it in the trash once it solidifies.

Fibrous Vegetables

Fibrous vegetables like celery, asparagus, and corn husks might seem harmless, but their stringy fibers can easily get tangled in the disposal’s blades, causing them to jam. When this happens, it puts stress on the motor and can lead to damage. It’s best to toss fibrous scraps into the compost bin or trash rather than risking damage to your disposal.


Contrary to popular belief, eggshells do not sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal. In fact, the thin membrane inside the shell can wrap around the blades, contributing to clogs. While very small amounts of eggshell are unlikely to cause major issues, it’s better to dispose of them in the trash or add them to your compost pile.

Pasta and Rice

Foods that expand when they absorb water, such as pasta and rice, should never go down the garbage disposal. These starchy substances can swell in the pipes, causing blockages and potentially damaging your plumbing system. Instead, dispose of leftover pasta and rice in the trash or compost heap.

Coffee Grounds

While coffee grounds may seem innocuous, they can clump together and form a sludgy mess in your pipes. Over time, this buildup can impede water flow and lead to clogs. Consider composting your coffee grounds or drying them out and tossing them in the trash rather than washing them down the drain.

Fruit Pits and Seeds

Hard objects like fruit pits and seeds can damage the blades of a garbage disposal. Attempting to grind them up can dull the blades and potentially damage the motor. Dispose of pits and seeds in the trash or compost pile to avoid costly repairs or a full replacement of the unit.

Potato Peels

The starchy nature of potato peels can turn them into a gummy paste when ground up in a disposal, leading to clogs and potential pipe damage. Avoid sending potato peels down the drain, and opt for composting or trash disposal instead.


The idea of grinding up bones in a garbage disposal may seem convenient, but it’s a surefire way to damage the blades and motor. Garbage disposals are not equipped to handle hard objects like bones, so it’s best to discard them in the trash or use them for making broth.

Call Mahon Plumbing Today

If you still have more questions regarding your plumbing, we here at Mahon Plumbing are here to help. We have been serving the wider Baltimore area since 1994, so we have 25 years of experience to back up our fantastic service! Call us at our Baltimore location at 410-766-8566 or our Pasadena location at 410-636-7944. Be sure to keep up with us on social media by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2024 at 2:28 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.