Sneaky Foods That Can Clog Your Garbage Disposal (and How to Avoid Them)

November 23, 2022

The disposal under your kitchen sink may look like just another appliance, but it plays a key role in keeping your home and sanitary smelling fresh. It helps you throw away food scraps more efficiently and hygienically. But most homeowners take it casually. They keep on dumping eggshells, pasta, or rice down the drain, until they find their disposal has clogged or is not functioning anymore. Subsequently they started searching online for the top foods that can clog your garbage disposal or ways to deal with a clogged garbage disposal.

The average household spends some bucks each year to repair or replace their garbage disposal, and over time, you can end up spending a lot of money if you don’t take care of it properly. So, it’s best to maintain your garbage disposal proactively and avoid throwing large chunks of greasy food inside.

Below, we’ll take a look at five of the most common foods that can clog up your garbage disposal unit and how to avoid them so your kitchen stays clean and efficient.

Also read: 5 Plumbing Maintenance Steps to Perform Before Holiday Season Kicks In

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are one of the most common foods that can clog your garbage disposal. A lot of homeowners are deceived of the looks of the fine powder as it easily washes into the drain. But once this powder gets wet overtime they can build up and create a thick and clumpy paste called coffee sludge that can be difficult to remove from the drain. In fact, it can wreak havoc on your plumbing. So, it’s best that either dispose of coffee grounds in the compost pile or the trash.


Eggshells are also a culprit of clogging up your garbage disposal. The big problem with eggshells is that they’re not fully broken down and will create a lumpy, gooey paste in your drain pipes. Moreover the membrane inside the egg can wrap around the blades and wreak havoc.

To avoid this, be sure to cut off any excess egg white before tossing them in the trashcan or compost heap. You can also crush the shells with a rolling pin before putting them into an airtight container in the fridge for use as an ingredient in baking or custard-making later on. This way, you’ll get two tasks done at once!

Also read: Top Ten Plumbing Fixes You Can Do Yourself

Potato peels

Potatoes are an easy and healthy side dish for dinner, but when you peel them and toss the peels in your garbage disposal, they can clog it up. The best way to avoid this is to put your peels in the compost or trash. If you want a more environmentally friendly option, try roasting your potato peels with some oil and salt. You’ll still get that crunchy texture of a potato chip without any of the added fat from deep frying.


Grease is one of the most common causes of clogged garbage disposals, and there are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening. For example, if you have a large amount of grease in your disposal or it’s been running a long time, turn off the disposal. Add ice cubes or cold water before turning it back on again.

Also read: Essential Tools for your every DIY Plumbing Job


If you cook often, you might have a lot of bones in your kitchen but that doesn’t mean you can toss them into the garbage disposal. Bones are shells are hard and can easily break your garbage disposals blade. With bones inside, you’d be thwarting the blades from functioning properly and as a result the motor will become exhausted. Even if your disposal can pulverize small and medium-sized chunks of bones, it can still clod your drainage system and your home’s pipes might not be able to handle such large chunks.


Pasta is one of the most popular foods around, with all of its different shapes and sauces. But it can be a pain for your garbage disposal if you’re not careful. Thick greasy foods like pasta and rice can stick to the pipes and blades of garbage disposal and can even clog the sink. But if you’re left with no other option; here’s what you can do: Don’t put in too many pieces at once. Only put in cooked pasta. Add salt or oil so the pasta doesn’t stick. Fold it into smaller pieces before putting it down the drain.


Oatmeal is one of the worst foods for clogging your garbage disposal because it’s so sticky and gluey. Be sure to give your oatmeal a good rinse before you pour it down the sink. Make sure there’s no residue left on the plate or in the bowl, since that can also clog your pipes. For a quick fix, you can also put some uncooked rice down your drain before you pour in the oatmeal—the rice will absorb some of that stickiness.


Nuts are a delicious and healthy snack, but they can be a problem for your garbage disposal. The problem stems from the oil content in nuts, which can mix with water and create clogs. You should avoid putting large quantities of nuts down your garbage disposal at once, or even placing them in a container near the sink. Small amounts of almond milk or nut butter will still have their benefits without creating clogs.


Trash is not a food, but it can still clog your garbage disposal. You might be tempted to use any old bag of trash as a liner for the kitchen trash can, but this could lead to trouble. Plastic grocery bags are notorious for getting stuck in the disposal and continuing to wrap around the blades as they can get tangled up in there too. To avoid these issues, keep separate liners for each type of waste – paper towels for bathroom waste and plastics for kitchen waste.

David Otanga

David is a homeowner DIY and a lifestyle expert and writer specializing in writing about different construction trades. His work has appeared in top-notch trade blogs. David also worked for, where he managed an international team of writers and experts.

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