Are Garbage Disposals Bad for Your Plumbing?

When discussing garbage disposals, we often have customers ask if they are bad for your home’s plumbing system. The answer is generally no, but they can be harmful if not used properly. One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is overloading their disposal with too much food waste. This can lead to clogs in your pipes or overflows which can be messy and costly to clean up. Another big mistake we see people make is putting food in their garbage disposal which can be damaging to the appliance. Continue reading for garbage disposal best practices.  

Garbage Disposal Dos and Don’ts 

It can be easy to treat your kitchen sink like a trash can, but this is a sure way to shorten the life of your garbage disposal. Most of your food waste should go in the trash can. Your garbage disposal is only supposed to be used for small amounts of food that may be left behind after you scrape dishes in the trash. If someone doesn’t finish a meal, or food has gone bad, it is best to put the waste in the trash, rather than down the kitchen sink. We also advise customers to always run water while the garbage disposal is operating. The water helps ground-up food particles move through the pipes, which can help prevent clogs. 

Foods That Should Never Go in Your Garbage Disposal 

Garbage disposals are a convenient way to dispose of small amounts of food scraps, but not all food can be handled by your disposal. In general, only soft foods in small amounts are safe for garbage disposals. Certain types of food can damage the appliance, cause clogs, or create unpleasant odors. Take a look at this list of top foods that should never go down your garbage disposal, even in small amounts:

Fibrous Foods

Foods like celery, corn husks, and asparagus are very fibrous, and the long strands can get wrapped up around the garbage disposal impellers. 


Whether it is fish bones or something larger like chicken bones, both are too hard and will likely damage the impellers within your garbage disposal. They can even get stuck and cause a jam in the appliance. Be careful to not even let small pieces of bone go in your disposal. 

Pasta and Rice

Foods like rice and pasta are sticky in nature and expand in water. They can stick to the inside of your disposal and pipes and also contribute to clogs as they expand. 

Grease and Oil

Even though substances like bacon grease and oil go down your pipes in a liquid state, they tend to solidify in your pipes. When these liquids solidify, they can cause serious blockages. 

Pits and Seeds

Pits and seeds are also too hard for your disposal and can damage the system, get lodged within the unit, or jammed between the impellers. 


Contrary to popular belief, eggshells do not sharpen disposal “blades”. This is a common misconception. What many people refer to as disposal “blades” are actually impellers that grind up the food. They are intended to be blunt, so there is no need to attempt to sharpen them. In addition, the membrane inside the eggshell can get wrapped up in the disposal and broken bits of eggshell are sharp and not great for pipes. 

When to Replace Your Garbage Disposal 

The lifespan of a garbage disposal greatly depends on the amount of usage and what types of food you put down your kitchen sink. Most manufacturers suggest a lifespan of 10 years. If you are using your garbage disposal properly, it is very likely that it will last the full 10 years, or even longer. If you start noticing strange noises, leaks, or frequent clogs, it could mean that the appliance needs to be replaced. You may even start to notice a burning smell if the motor is failing. As long as you stick to soft foods and only small amounts of food waste, this convenient kitchen appliance should work seamlessly for you. 

For Garbage Disposal Services in Austin, TX, Choose Stan’s!

Whether you are ready for a new garbage disposal or need service on an existing one, Stan’s plumbers are here to help you with all your garbage disposal needs. We can help you choose the perfect disposal for your home or business, and provide installation and maintenance services to ensure that it performs properly. Best of all, our technicians are experienced and knowledgeable and can provide fast and reliable service.

Schedule your garbage disposal repair or replacement in Austin today!

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