Preparing food can be a time consuming and messy endeavour for many people. You have vegetable peels, egg shells, pieces of fat that you trim from your meat, and other food waste. Using a garbage disposal can help reduce your clean up time, and minimize the amount of garbage that you put out at the end of the week.

Hopefully, you have already had a chance to read through our review of the best garbage disposals to buy in 2018. We selected some of the top options on the market, but you should also be aware of proper use guidelines before you get started with your garbage disposal. Not everything can be put inside of a garbage disposal.

Before operating, you should read through our list of Do’s and Don’ts, so that you can learn more about how to properly run and maintain your garbage disposal unit. Let’s start off with our list of what is safe and non-damaging for your garbage disposal unit

Waste Disposal Do’s

Citrus Fruits: citrus fruits will run through your machine smoothly and with ease. Plus, they act as a natural deodorizer for your garbage disposal unit. The rind carries lots of fragrance, so it will release its natural oils and produce a nice smell for your kitchen

Egg Shells: despite seeming quite sharp, egg shells are very compatible with your machine. But, try not to put too many shells in at a time

Meat Scraps: While bones can be a bit tricky for non-heavy duty machines, meat scraps are not a problem. Make sure to cut up your scraps into more manageable pieces, avoid large cuts or chunks

Vegetable Waste: Between peeling and chopping off unwanted bits, vegetables can generate a large amount of waste. Luckily, your garbage disposal can handle this type of waste with ease. There are a few exceptions of vegetable waste that should not pass through; we will mention those in the next section

Small Bones: Small fish bones and small meat bones are safe for most garbage disposal units. However, if you are unsure about whether your machine can handle it, we recommend not putting it in. Best not to take a risk!

Waste Disposal Don’ts

Non-Organic Waste: Sometimes non-biodegradable items such as spoons, knives and other utensils find their way into the waste disposal chamber. You should always do a double check, and make sure that your sink is free of dishes before grinding your waste

Lubricants: Most waste disposal chambers can process liquids. The exception, however, is lubricants such as grease which, under low temperatures can coagulate and clog up your drains. You should, therefore, be advised against letting oil and fats into your waste disposal chamber

Roughage Foods: Fibrous foods such as onion skins, chard, lettuces, asparagus, among others, need to stay out of your waste disposal chamber. They have been known to cause jams

Raw spaghetti and Rice: Raw rice and spaghetti swell when mixed with water. Just think of the mess they will create if you were to throw volumes of them into your waste disposal chamber— they will simply jam and clog up your unit

Coffee Grounds: Coffee waste or grounds are another hazard as they easily get trapped in the drains. If small amounts are put through it won’t cause a huge issue, but you shouldn’t dump large quantities into your unit

Seeds, Apple Cores and Fruit Seeds: should not go into your waste disposal chamber since they are way too solid for processing. Rather, throw them in your regular trash bin. Alternatively, you can add them to a food compost bin

Bones: With the exception of fish bones and other small bones, all other bones should be disposed of together with other trash since they are difficult to process, even while using heavy duty waste disposal chambers

Overall, a high-quality garbage disposal unit can have a really positive impact on your cooking and preparation time in the kitchen. Now that you have read through our Do’s and Don’ts, you will be more prepared to properly use and maintain your unit. Give yourself a break, and cut down on all of the cleaning and organizing in the kitchen with a garbage disposal unit. Once you start using one, you won’t ever want to cook in a kitchen without it!