What Not to Put in Garbage Disposal?

Every household produces a lot of garbage. The more people there are within one, the higher the volume of trash that we have to get rid of. Often, this will be reduced to taking out bags of trash, but there are other ways to deal with it. Namely, garbage disposal allows us to take care of accumulating garbage without necessarily going outside. Below, we will be covering what not to put in the garbage disposal as this can turn a convenient item into a maintenance hell.

What not to put in garbage disposal with septic tank


As with any other household installation or device, we need to learn what we shouldn’t insert into the garbage disposal at all. Not following the advice laid out below can easily lead to clogs and other issues, which can hike up our repair bills exponentially or put the item out of business when we need it most. [1]

  • Rubber bands

Seems pretty self-explanatory. It’s rubbery, hard to cut, and can potentially clog up the system. Rubber bands are bad news around garbage disposal systems and should be kept away. It’s well-known that rubber products like these last quite a long time and aren’t that biodegradable, leading to them accumulating in our septic tank.

  • Wipes and sponges

Wet wipes and sponges are even more likely to find around our garbage disposal system and no easier to get rid of. These two items are frequently used for cleaning purposes. Either we clean the kitchen with them or use them to clean the items and accessories residing inside.

While cleaning dishes with a sponge isn’t going away anytime soon, it pays to be careful not to get the sponge in the garbage disposal. Wet wipes are easier to keep away, yet preventing their disposal through these systems is easy.

  • Cigarette butts

Sometimes there is no ashtray on hand. It can be tempting to just get rid of the entire cigarette butt in the nearest place possible in these situations. Of course, this is hardly a smart choice as cigarette butts are resilient and awkward enough to cut.

That can make them very difficult to cut up through garbage disposal. Additionally, these items can be a problem to flush too, due to their tendency to accumulate in our pipes.

What not to put in garbage disposal?


Any item that cannot be flushed shouldn’t be put in garbage disposal either. As we’ve seen above, items that can easily clog or break garbage disposal aren’t necessarily too far away from our drain. Other items that we should never flush include bread ties, pull tabs, caps, and so much more.

Basically, we should avoid any type of material that can easily wrap around the garbage disposal or have problems degrading once in the septic tank. This also includes some foods that we’ll take a look into next. [2]

What food not to put into garbage disposal


While most of the above materials and items are common sense when it comes to their incompatibility with the garbage disposal, some foods may surprise you. After all, the most frequent garbage we dispose of would be leftovers and trash produced during food prep.

  • Bones

Our first item on the list is nothing other than bones. Bones are a frequent problem food, or rather problem food waste, in many circumstances we can find ourselves in. The reason bones are so frequently found on these types of lists is that a lot of systems aren’t designed to handle them.

Cutting up and grinding down smaller foods or lighter foods is no problem for an average garbage disposal system. However, bones require far more power and strength to effectively get rid of.

Usually, any type of bone will present a challenge to the disposal system itself. Getting stuck in the mechanism or the pipes is a frequent problem but not the only one.

Even if bones manage to get through your disposal system and the pipes without any problem, they will eventually find themselves in the septic tank. Septic tank isn’t capable of degrading bones by itself. So no matter their size, it’s likelier that bones will simply sink into the sludge at the bottom of the tank. There, they will most likely remain and clutter up the entire tank.

  • Grease

An eternal enemy of pipes, grease shouldn’t be flushed unless absolutely necessary. The standard appearance of grease may confuse people. It looks like a liquid and can slip down the pipes easily. However, the truth is a bit trickier.

Grease has a tendency to stick in the pipes, usually not reaching the septic tank itself. There, it will start to harden. Hardened grease easily clogs up pipes and cannot be washed out by the incoming water. Grease is also resistant to a lot of removal options, although there are ways to combat it.

While pouring it down once or twice may not be the end of the world, it still pays to abstain from flushing grease as often as possible. Once grease makes it into the septic tank, things don’t get any nicer.

Grease will float on top of the septic tank, frequently getting other materials that arrive caught in grease itself. This results in a layer of grease and waste materials forming at the top of our septic tank.

This layer can have many downsides. The simplest one being the clogs that layers of grease can cause to the septic tank and its associated systems.

The same thing applies to oils and fats, and they can all easily lead to the same problem. These clogs can be exceptionally stubborn, which is why we recommend preventing them rather than fixing them after the fact.

Food with starch


Rice, beans, pasta, and potato peels are frequent examples of food with a lot of starch. These foods are known for expanding during cooking as well as after it. All they need is some water to bloat heavily.

Let’s take rice as an example. Each grain of rice can grow over twice its size when provided with enough water, causing the overall weight and surface of rice to expand exponentially.

While this is fine when making the dish, it does make it harder to dispose of. Letting cooked or unprepared rice reach our pipes can easily result in clogged pipes or even clogs in the garbage disposal.

In addition, the ability starch foods have means they can easily find their way into a small crevice and expand, possibly dislodging important elements of the entire installation.

Even if they don’t clog us up there, starch foods still pose an issue for our septic tank. They will quickly grow and fill up a lot of the septic tank, leading to it becoming full faster.

It’s bound to result in a lot of headaches. Especially as time goes on and these starch foods keep accumulating in the septic tank itself. Emptying your septic tank may be the proper resolution, but it can be a cumbersome experience to go through. [3]

Reasons not to have a garbage disposal

Garbage disposal is considered a very useful addition to just about any home. They are convenient and efficient in dicing any simple foods or waste that may get flushed down our kitchen drain.

This can easily cut down the overall thrash we end up accumulating within our home and make the act of keeping our house clean easier to realize. However, as with everything, some downsides may lead us to rethink this seemingly convenient option.


The first and foremost reason why you may want to rethink the idea of a garbage disposal unit are clogs. The potency of which can vary but are nonetheless harmful.

Clogs can happen for many reasons. Even if we properly use and employ our garbage disposal, it is very likely to end up in a situation where it will get clogged.

Overuse of it is usually the easiest way to get into this problem. Another way of finding yourselves with clogs is throwing items that aren’t supposed to be used with the garbage disposal into it.

Even a simple flow of constant waste and food can simply end up as a problem for us. It will stick to the pipes and require you to unclog them to keep it operating.

It causes extra wastewater to treat

Among the reasons why we’d like to employ garbage disposal, we usually have to reduce waste and the cost of treating it. However, disposing of materials through garbage disposal can lead to an increase in overall waste water.

This wastewater will, in turn, need to be treated by our municipality. That will increase the costs of the overall treatment. This can come back to bite us, so those who do not need the

You may not need garbage disposal

Speaking of, sometimes there are no reasons to implement a new installation. For example, while garbage disposal is useful, we may not be producing enough garbage to warrant installing one of these systems. In these situations, we can conserve cash instead of installing a garbage disposal.

A foul odor may develop

The frequent complaint about accumulated garbage is the smell it produces. If you postpone throwing out the trash for even a day, it can really stink up the place.

The odor produced by the garbage can permeate the area even after we throw it out. It can sink into the furniture and walls, sticking around far longer than we’d prefer.

However, the garbage disposal may not clear up the issue of odor. If we frequently grind up items in the garbage disposal, it could lead to a lot of that smell and stench being stuck on the installation itself.

Creating that same stench, we aimed to take care of. If you aren’t ready to take extra care of the garbage disposal, don’t install it because this problem is guaranteed to crop up.

Wvhat to put in garbage disposal to get rid of smell

We can counteract the smell of our smelly garbage disposal simply by pouring down the right concoction. In this case, it would be baking soda and white vinegar.

These two combined can easily kill the bacteria that causes the smell in the drains. You’ll need just a quarter of a cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar to see the effects!

Of course, there are other ways about it but this is the easiest one to apply while still being a rather potent one.

Garbage disposal dos and donts

Let’s condense all the important information into the form of dos and donts. This should give you a good overview of the rules.

Things you should do with garbage disposal

  • Do make sure to pump out the septic tank more often than usual if you are consistently using the garbage disposal.
  • Do use the leftovers of items that the garbage disposal cannot crush as compost to keep garbage at a minimum still.
  • Do constantly maintain your garbage disposal to avoid it from malfunctioning.
  • To avoid having items that aren’t a part of a usual kitchen near the garbage disposal.

Things you shouldn’t do with garbage disposal

  • Don’t use it for just any trash, garbage disposal is not a trash can.
  • Don’t pour any types of oils or grease down it, ever
  • Don’t ignore the list of prohibited foods that shouldn’t go into it
  • Don’t get it if you won’t use it, sometimes it’s simply not necessary

The septic tank has to be taken care of in other ways as well. These concerns should also be taken care of, with different approaches.


The best way to ensure the longevity of our garbage disposal and cut down on any problems that may arise from it is to educate ourselves on the things we can and cannot do with it. Without taking these restrictions into account, we risk the health of multiple installations.

Following these restrictions is not that difficult, and while some may seem odd, there’s very much a good reason for them. Clogs, malfunctions, and unwanted filling of our septic tanks are all very real problems that can happen if we aren’t careful about the thing we put in the garbage disposal.

The long-term health of our household is important and, as such, should be adhered to as often as possible. Following the above details will help you keep it so.