A garbage disposal is a simple convenience and one most people use often. It’s a quick way to get rid of the scraps on your plate without tossing them into the garbage, where they’re likely to develop an odor. From fruit scraps to fatty rinds from meats, it all ends up in the garbage disposal, out of sight and out of mind. At The Luxe, a garbage disposal is a standard kitchen amenity.

But not everything is suitable for your disposal. In fact, there’s a whole list of items you should actively avoid sending down the drain. Here’s a look at some of the most common culprits and what you shouldn’t put down your garbage disposal.

  • Coffee grounds. The problem with coffee grounds is that they break down into fine granules that cling to the sides of plumbing, causing buildups over time. Ignore those DIY sites that tell you to use grounds to get rid of disposal aromas. While they do cover up disposal odors, they do it at the cost of your plumbing.
  • Bones and pits. Bones and fruit pits are a disaster for your disposal. They’ll rattle around and splinter into smaller pieces that quickly cause damage to the disposal itself. Most times, the disposal can’t break them down, leading to ongoing damage every time you turn it on.
  • Grains and nuts. Like coffee grounds, grains are a mess for your plumbing and are prone to causing blockages as they build up in plumbing. Nuts have the same effect as pits, rattling around to cause frustrating noises and damage until they eventually work themselves out or break down.
  • Peels and skins. Peels and skins have a tendency to get caught on disposal blades, which can clog up the disposal and cause the motor to burn out due to excess wear and tear. Small scraps are usually okay; save the whole banana peel or onion skins for the garbage.
  • Grease and oil. Fats, oils and greases (FOG) are a menace to your plumbing, which means they should never go down your disposal. The last thing you want to pay for is the cost of new plumbing or drain cleaning because FOG materials clogged up your kitchen sink.
  • Pasta and rice. Pasta expands and gets gummy when it’s wet. What do you think happens when you dump a cup of pasta into your garbage disposal and let it saturate? Eventually, you get the recipe for drain blockage and disposal damage. Put the pasta in the garbage—the same goes for rice.

No one wants to deal with a clogged disposal. To avoid the headache and keep this simple kitchen convenience working properly, make sure you’re putting these foods in the garbage instead of down your drain.

It’s also a smart idea to clean your disposal regularly. Check the installation manual to learn how to clean your specific model. It’s a simple way to keep enjoying a kitchen amenity you rely on each and every day.