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What Not to Put Down the Garbage Disposal or Drain

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Even though I am careful with my disposal, I have thrown a couple of these "forbidden" items down the drain in the past.

Garbage disposal

Garbage disposal

I am not a plumber—so keep that in mind—but according to my experience and research, there are certain things you should never put in a garbage disposal. You'll find a full list of these things below. Even though I am careful with my disposal, I have thrown a couple of these "forbidden" items down the drain in the past, although not in large amounts.

What Not to Put Down the Garbage Disposal

  • Your hand! If you must, unplug unit or turn off corresponding circuit breaker (don't just turn the switch off, because there will still be power to the unit), and wear safety gloves to protect your hands from the sharp blades.
  • Metal objects, such as utensils. But even small pieces of metal, such as bottle lids or tabs are discouraged. They are too solid for the blades to break down, and disposing of them could result in wearing down of the blades, or (in the case of the larger items) a clog in the pipes due to the large obstruction.
  • Paper products, such as paper towels, coffee filters or tea bags.
  • Some vegetables and fruits, especially fibrous (stringy) ones: Celery, rhubarb, asparagus, corn husks, chard, kale, lettuce, broccoli stalks, banana peels, carrot shavings, or onion skins. Why not? Because the fibers can wrap around the blade (choking it), clog it, or get stuck in the drain.
  • Starchy Vegetables, such as potato peels. Why not? As the starch gets ground up, it turns into glue, clogging the drain.
  • Pasta or rice. Why not? Because they expand once they come into contact with water, and they are sticky, making it hard to go down the drain.
  • Grease or fat, including butter or margarine spreads, cooking oils, animal grease, or shortening. Why not? Because once it cools, it solidifies, and clogs the drain. Also, it can leave a residue on the blade, decreasing its effectiveness.
  • Fruit pits or seeds. Why not? They are often too hard for the machine to properly chop, and will ultimately damage the disposal.
  • Bones or shellfish (except for dainty fish bones. Some people also say that weak or small bones are okay to put in there, but I wouldn't push it). Why not? Because they are often hard to grind, and many times they are too big to go down the drain easily. Too much strain could break the blades, or even burn out the motor.
  • Egg shells. Why not? The thin membrane inside of the shell can wrap itself around the blades, and the shell itself can be ground to the consistency of sand, clogging the pipes.
  • Coffee grounds. Why not? Because they can get stuck in the trap of your disposal.
  • Anything combustible. Why not? Hmm, I don't know, maybe it will combust?!
  • Miscellaneous list of things that some people evidently try to drop down the drain: Twist ties, pull tabs, rubber bands, glass, plastic, fabric, string, rags, sponges, plants or flowers (many are fibrous or too big), kid's toys, or hair. Many of these would wrap around the blade, are too large to break up and go down the drain, or would be too hard for the machine to handle.
  • Meat. This was not mentioned in many of my searches around the internet, but one girl told an awful story about what happened when she dumped a small portion of meat in her disposal. It involved rot and flies, I'll give you that much information. If you decide you'll take the risk, at least let the water drain it down as best as you can. But I don't think you want to have Pest Control have to take care of that!

Some of the above items have conflicted opinions. There are many powerful garbage disposals that really can handle a lot. Use your best judgement. They say that if you do put some of the smaller sized prohibited items in, make sure you do it slowly, and have the water on full blast until a few moments after the disposal has stopped, once it has been ground and has gone down the drain.

Be careful what you throw down the drain

Be careful what you throw down the drain

How to Properly Use Your Garbage Disposal

  • When you grind food waste, use a strong flow of cold water, so that if there's any grease, it'll solidify and be easier for the blade to chop up before it gets to the trap, and rinse it down the drain.
  • Don't put a large amount of food down at a time. It can only handle so much.
  • Don't turn the water off until the grinding is complete. Have the water running the entire time, and even a few seconds after you have the disposal on, to allow the waste to be completely rinsed down the drain.
  • Remember that even if you think the blades are strong enough to handle the task, you need to take into account whether the food will choke it, make it work too hard, or clog the pipes.

How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

  • Maintenance is important if you want to avoid an expensive replacement or hiring a plumber.
  • Regularly pour a little bit of dish soap down the drain and let cold water rinse it down.
  • Run the garbage disposal regularly to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Don't use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners, as they can damage blades and pipes.
  • Borax is a natural sink cleaner that works to clean and sanitize. Pour about 2 tablespoons down the drain, let it set for a while, and rinse with cold water.
  • Lemon or lime works as a natural deoderizer, too. Cut it in pieces (a whole fruit is a bit too big for most machines to handle), and put down the drain. Turn the disposal on while you have the cold water on full blast. It smells so good, and overpowers most nasty smells.
  • Another way to freshen it up is to use white vinegar and baking soda in equal parts, dump down the drain, and let it set for a while before rinsing it out.
  • Vinegar alone also works to freshen it up, but it may not be quite as effective as the above combination.
  • To sharpen your blades (without damaging them) and break up grease deposits, put a few ice cubes down the drain, and turn the garbage disposal on for a few moments.
  • Another clever tip I found is to freeze vinegar in ice cube trays, and run a few in the disposal. It works to freshen it up and sharpen the blades and break up grease deposits.
  • On the same note as the above tip, I think freezing lemon (small pieces, or the peel) in water and using the same technique would also serve the same purpose (although I have never tried it).

What about you?

Garbage Disposal Myths

  1. Garbage disposals can handle anything (that is a definite myth, although I have read that some of the more expensive ones really can handle most anything. Some people would swear on it).
  2. Egg shells or bones help sharpen the blades. I have seen this advice in some forums, but most of the advice is against this practice, and says that they are damaging to the disposal.
  3. Lemons should never be put in a disposal. On the contrary, they freshen it up. Just cut it up before you throw it in, or else just use the peel.

De-Greasing a Clogged Garbage Disposal

  1. Remove food particles.
  2. Pour 16 oz of liquid de-greasing dish soap into the drain.
  3. Leave it in for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat up 1 gallon of water to a rapid boil.
  5. Keeping the pan far from your body (so as to avoid burning yourself), slowly pour the water down the drain. Continue until there are no more soap bubbles in the sink's drain.
  6. Repeat once per week for a few weeks, and about once a month afterward, to maintain it.

What Not to Put Down the Drain

If you don't have a garbage disposal, there are a lot of things that you can't put down the drain. And if you do have one, most of these apply, as well.

  • Fats, oils and greases: As aforementioned, they harden and clog drains. But in addition to that, they are terrible for the sewage systems, and can even cause sewage overflow. That is a threat to the environment.
  • Sauces or dairy products, for the same reason as fats.
  • Food scraps, or chunks of garbage: If you dn't have a disposal, food scraps are a bad thing to throw down the drain.
  • Baking goods
  • Coffee grounds: They will stick to the drains, causing them to clog.
  • Egg shells
  • Produce stickers, paper towels, rags (Paper or plastic)
  • Prescription and OTC medications
  • Toxic chemicals, such as motor oil, transmission fluids, and anti-freeze
  • Corrosive substances that are either acidic or caustic
  • Flammable or explosive substances
  • Flushable cat litter
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Condoms

How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on September 01, 2020:

You're welcome! Same here. I think some disposals could handle it to an extent, but I also don't like to risk mine if I can help it!

Louise89 on September 19, 2019:

Thank you so much for the info! Apparently I've been abusing my garbage disposal for years lol.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on April 08, 2018:

Thank you very much, that is a very useful thing to point out. I know it is bad to put too much in at once, but I hadn't thought to point out the consequences, and I didn't actually know the details. I have fortunately never overloaded it like this.

I appreciate your input, and hope you have a wonderful weekend.

rickdees on March 21, 2018:

Interesting and informative. However, one thing I did not see mentioned is that disposers use an electric motor to spin the blades. Overloading the disposer or putting something in that cannot be ground can cause disposer to stop, and will then after a short (really short) period, motor will overheat. This will cause a circuit breaker within the unit to trip. You will not be able, then, to turn it back on until the unit cools sufficiently, and you reset the circuit breaker (a small button usually red, on bottom of unit). Always, always, be SURE power is off to unit before attempting any procedure involving circuit breaker and/or clearing the blades!!! After the block is cleared, and breaker is reset, there are instances when the unit still will not spin. Again, be sure the unit's power is OFF. At the bottom center of unit is the end of the shaft of the motor. This end is machined with an Allen type fitting, a six sided shallow opening. This opening will allow you to move the shaft manually back and forth with an Allen wrench to free up the disposer. Every disposer comes with an Allen key wrench that should be left by the installer under the sink near the disposer. Knowing the workings of a disposer, its blades, the circuit breaker location, and the procedure for using the Allen wrench will save you a lot of time and money. And, in the event that a new disposer is really needed, these are relatively easy to install, with advances in the manufacturing process.

Ryan Rogen on April 08, 2017:

Plastic, glass and metal are hard materials that cannot be grinded by the disposal’s blades. Putting such items will definitely destroy the unit. Remember, such breakdown will require a plumber to install a new disposal. Paper material is also prohibited in the disposal, since paper tends to stick when wet. If wet papers accumulate within the grinding chamber, you will call a plumber to unscramble at a fee.

Anything greasy is dangerous to the unit because it will cause clog within the pipes as well. Apart from candle wax, avoid grinding any combustible material since the machine utilizes electricity in its operation. Any spark may lead to a fire.

Some people think that cigarette butts can be disposed of through a disposal, but that is not true. These butts can jam the unit because they cannot be chopped appropriately. Basically, many of them will be left inside the grinding chamber. Continuous accumulation may lead to jamming issues. In case they pass into the pipes, they may cause serious clogging, which in turn may lead to plumbing costs.

As said earlier, grease is harmful to the disposal. Fat stuff tends to accumulate gradually, and eventually, obstruct the ability to grind waste. Also, the accumulated fats, oils, or grease may clog the drains causing stern plumbing issues.

Use cold water NOT hot water when grinding waste

Cold water is recommended especially when grinding food waste that contains oils or fat. It makes the oils solidify and get chopped up easily, before entering the drains. Hot water is not ideal because it liquefies the oils, causing them to accumulate and clog the systems.

Fibrous materials such as celery stalks, corn husks, artichokes, and onion skins can entangle around the blades and cause jams. These materials should be cut into smaller pieces in order to reduce the stringy nature, and therefore avoid causing jams within the blades. Such materials can also cause a clog in the pipes.

The motor should be left running until grinding is completed. Once it is over, allow the water to run for about 20 seconds after switching off the disposal. This helps flush out any remaining particles, instead of leaving them within the grinding chamber.

Putting huge chunks of potato peels into the unit may cause the blades to jam. Potatoes produce thick paste when grinded, and too much of it may stick on the blades. Ensure you cut them into smaller pieces, and then put a little amount at a time. I found detailed and informational reviews on http://www.disposalmag.com/

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on January 12, 2017:

I am glad you find it helpful. Thanks for the link. I will check it out!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on August 31, 2016:

Aleta,

Yes, some of the garbage disposals can handle it. It greatly varies from model to model. Thanks for your comment and the useful links, and have a wonderful day.

~ Kathryn

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on September 12, 2014:

Prairieprincess,

Oh, I feel for you! The reason I put in so much work researching this subject was because I was renting an apartment with a garbage disposal, and I was afraid of messing it up. They can be expensive to fix, but hopefully the problem with yours isn't too bad, and it will be dealt with sooner than later.

Thanks very much for the compliment, and for taking the time to read and comment.

Have a wonderful day.

~ Kathryn

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on September 11, 2014:

Our new-to-us has a garbage disposal and I read your article too late! I think I put almost everything you mentioned down that drain, and now we are paying with a garbage disposal that is broken. I don't which one of the wrong items finally broke it, but it's on my "honey-do" list and will eventually get fixed. I had a funny feeling when I was putting stuff down there that I should research what is allowed down there! Great article!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on June 15, 2014:

Sandy H, thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. Experience is the best teacher, and it is great to hear input from someone about this subject. I have noticed that some of the things on the "do not put in" lists can often be put down the drain in moderation. And some disposals can handle almost everything, so I think it varies.

Oh, yes, I always start running the water before I put things down it. Makes things go down much easier!

Have a wonderful weekend.

~ Kathryn

Sandy H on June 11, 2014:

I have always had a garbage disposal and never got one clogged. I don't put egg shells,coffee grinds, potato peels,oil or grease, and bones. But I have always put pasta and rice. Not in large amounts. these items are already swollen if they are cooked. I also start the garbage disposal and run water before I start putting the food down. By the way I am 63 years old.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on May 24, 2013:

Flour! I guess that makes sense, but I don't think I would have thought of that! Sometimes you got have to learn the hard way!

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my hub, and have a terrific weekend!

Nicole S Hanson from Minnesota on May 24, 2013:

I once clogged our garbage disposal by putting excess flour down it. This also turned to a glue-like consistency and it was not good. Oye!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on April 19, 2013:

Linda, I'm sure everyone has been guilty of doing one of the "do not do" things on the list. I'm sure most of the time it is okay to put certain things down the drain, as long as it is not in excess, and as long as you have the water on long enough.

Thanks for reading and commenting, I'm glad you like my article.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 19, 2013:

I'm guilty of putting my hand in the disposal when something fell in that shouldn't have been in there. Luckily I haven't lost any body parts yet! Woot! I usually out rice and pasta in there also. Didn't even think about them swelling. Maybe I shouldn't own a garbage disposal!?! Nooo way, I like my disposal too much. Great hub!! :)

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 15, 2013:

Torrilynn, Oops! I don't think I realized what could and couldn't go down the drain when I was a kid, either. I just saw people put things down it, so I could have easily done the same thing. I would imagine after that your mother would realize you had no idea!

Thanks for reading ans commenting, and have a happy St Pat's Day weekend!

torrilynn on March 15, 2013:

Kathryn,

nice hub on what not to put down the drain

I remember being young and thinking anything could go down the drain

I was sadly mistaken when the spoon ended up broken in half

my mother didn't like that at all

Voted up

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 15, 2013:

Thanks for reading and commenting, KenWu, despite not owning one. I didn't used to have one. It has been an adjustment for me.

KenWu from Malaysia on March 15, 2013:

This is a great piece of information but I don't own a garbage disposal. However, voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 11, 2013:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Peggy! It's always nice to hear from you.

That is a good thing to do with grease. When I was younger, I had no clue what to do with grease! I remember my mom storing it in a big coffee can, but it didn't occur to me for years that there was a good reason she didn't put it down the drain. Some people learn the hard way!

I can't wait until I live in a house with a yard, because I really want to compost! I am happy that our building has a good recycling plan, butI still feel like there's too much waste going to the landfill.

Thanks again, and have a wonderful week!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2013:

We compost most of our vegetable scraps along with our coffee and tea grounds and eggshells. If we have grease or oil I put them in used plastic containers with tight lids like those that hold cottage cheese or something similar and when full, discard in the garbage. I do sometimes put ice cubes down the garbage disposal to sharpen the blades and occasionally...instead of composting it...put citrus peels down the disposal for the freshening effect. It does smell good! Thanks for this informative hub and reminder of what NOT to put down a garbage disposal. Some of this information was new to me. Up, useful and interesting votes.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 05, 2013:

Jaye, Thank you for reading and providing feedback. I appreciate it.

Fortunately I have had no mishaps with the disposal, but several years ago I learned the hard way what not to put in a washing machine. I suppose it should have been obvious, but sometimes it is easy to just throw things in the machine without putting much thought into it. I had a blanket I put in the corner of a big cage I had for my ferret, and it had wood chips on it. I didn't realize how much of the chips were on it, but partway through, my machine's pipes were blocked. It affected not only my washing machine pipes, but those that went to my kitchen and bathroom sinks, as they were all within the same pipe system. I learned the hard way. I think my landlord had to call a plumber for that one. Looking back, I have no idea why I thought it would be okay to wash it, anyway. But when we're young, sometimes it doesn't occur to us!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 05, 2013:

I would love to compost, but I live in the city. I don't have a yard. I plan on researching the subject, so that when the time comes that I have space for a compost pile, I will have one. My cousin's husband was a landscaper, and he had a really rich compost pile. I think it is a good idea for those who can do it.

Thank you for your input, Jim, and for providing food for thought.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 05, 2013:

Thank you, Mary. I have not had a garbage disposal at many of my apartments, but when I do I make use of it.

If I lived out in the country, or had a yard, I would consider composting. I plan on putting some research into it, so that when the time comes that I can compost, I'll have an idea of how to do it.

Thank you for reading, commenting and providing feedback. I appreciate it!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 05, 2013:

Moonlake,

It is tragic that your disposal once ate your favorite watch! It is so easy to drop something in accidentally.

Home appliances are certainly convenient to have. My favorite is the washer (I don't have one personally, but there are many on the first floor of my building), with the dishwasher next in line. I like time-savers. But the garbage disposal is a nice luxury when I have it. I don't use it for a lot of things, but it is nice not to have to empty the little pieces of food into the trash.

It is nice that you feed scraps to the animals. In warmer weather I feed bread scraps to the birds.

I like the idea about the vinegar ice cubes, too. I haven't tried it yet, but I just got a big jug of vinegar recently, and I have more ice cube trays than I need for regular ice, so I may fill a tray today while I'm thinking of it.

Thank you for reading and commenting, Moonlake.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 05, 2013:

Thank you, Gail, I'm glad you like it. Learning the hard way can be tough, but at least it's memorable! Thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 05, 2013:

Brett, It is amazing at how countries deal with waste in different ways. Although even in the US, things are not always the same. Each area has their own recycling and garbage programs, and some people compost. I think recycling is good when it can be done.

Thank you for reading and commenting on my article.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on March 03, 2013:

Excellent hub. I learned the hard way about potato peels!

Voted Up++

Jaye

Jim Miller from Wichita Falls, Texas on March 03, 2013:

Somehow I am encouraged that 40% of poll respondents (so far) do not use a disposal. Then that begs the question: What are they doing with the garbage? Ours goes toward making compost, and I would hope that the others are doing the same.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 03, 2013:

I've never had a garbage disposal, but I found your article full of good advice for those who have one and like them. I have thought of buying one, but I have a compost pile and put most food scraps in that.

Voted UP, etc.

moonlake from America on March 03, 2013:

There are 3 things I love in my home besides my husband, dog and cats, I love my washer, dishwasher and garbage disposal. We have always had people say to us that we should not have a garbage disposal in the country but we have always had one. Most of our scrapes go to the deer, bread, cookies, cakes, potato peels, bananas, apple peels. Enjoyed your hub. The part about vinegar in ice cube trays great idea. My garbage disposal once ate my favorite watch. Voted up and shared.

Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on March 02, 2013:

I have learned some of these lessons the hard way, such as egg shells and dish clothes. lol This is a helpful hub, well-written hub. Voted up and useful.

Brett C from Asia on March 02, 2013:

In Korea we have separate bins for garbage, allowing food waste to be recycled and general waste to also be easier to recycle. However, for those with garbage disposal units, this is a very helpful hub.

Shared, up and useful

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on March 01, 2013:

Thank you, Homerevisor, for your kind words, and for taking the time to read my article.

Home Revisor from New Jersey on March 01, 2013:

Great article and super informative! Nice work!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 26, 2013:

Wrenfrost56, "drain angel"? That is a really cute term! I'm usually one, too. I am very careful what I put down there.

I can only imagine what nastiness some of those guys have to deal with.

Thank you for the compliment, and for reading and commenting.

wrenfrost56 from U.K. on February 26, 2013:

This is a really useful and well written hub, good job. :) I try really hard not to put anything but dirty water down the drain, as I watched a documentary on the sewage works a few years back and the awful things some of these poor guys had to deal with was simply nasty! So I am a drain angel.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 25, 2013:

Ellesvoice,

You're welcome. I put a lot of research into it, because it was something I was wondering. There are some things that are a little iffy, but I think my list of "nots" are pretty accurately explained.

I have heard a lot about using egg shells to sharpen the blade, but when I read a lot of comments and posts from plumbers who said it's a bad idea, I made up my mind what I believed!

It always funny to hear stories of other people's experiences. It's easier to learn from hearing of someone else's misfortune than to learn the hard way!

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Elizabeth Hanks from Queen Creek on February 25, 2013:

Thanks for the great advice! Until reading this, I was one of the masses that truly believed that eggshells helped to sharpen the garbage disposal blades! Due to a friend's unlucky experience with potato peels down the disposal, I DID know about that one... Super funny to hear about, not so funny to deal with!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 21, 2013:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Au Fait.

Yeah, I was amazed at how long the list of things not to put in it is, according to many sources. There's the possibility some of them may not be too bad, but I would be careful anyway.

I love the smell of lemon rinds in the disposal.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 21, 2013:

I've had many disposals over the years having lived in apartments most of my life. The list of things not to put down them is extensive, and I find they're mainly useful for scraps off plates when one is cleaning up -- although meat scraps don't do well in a disposal. For best results, most things must be disposed of the old-fashioned way.

I have used lemon rinds to freshen the disposal and they work great. Good advice here, especially for people who may be wondering why their disposal isn't working so well . . . ;)

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 16, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, Nuffsaid. Yes, that was the first thing that came into my mind, and the most important. It would be one thing to risk hurting your garbage disposal, but quite another thing to hurt your hand!

And it was the perfect opportunity to introduce the correct way to get in there if it turns out to be necessary.

nuffsaidstan on February 16, 2013:

I like how the first thing noted not to put down is your hand, as an accident-prone person myself it was the first thing that came into my head when i read the title of your hub! Great stuff.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 15, 2013:

I have accidentally dropped a utensil down before, and it makes a horrible sound! I turned it off almost right away, so no damage was made. But it was close! I actually have a sink strainer in my sink, which stops anything from falling down until I pull it out.

I have only had a garbage disposal a couple of times in my life. They're useful, but I used to just use containers or double-bags to dispose of garbage, too. It works!

Right now I have it easy, because there is a trash room across my hall that has a chute down to the dumpster. So if I have leftover food, or chicken fat that I want to dispose of, I double-bag it and throw it right down the chute, so it doesn't smell up my apartment at all!

Thanks for reading and commenting, Dream On!

DREAM ON on February 15, 2013:

I don't have a garbage disposal but on the holidays I watch my aunt use hers.I have seen it jam up once I think a fork got stuck in it.I am use to throwing my garbage in an old cool whip container or doubled up in plastic bags.I loved your tips and now I can make sure no one clogs her garbage disposal.My mother use to use white vinegar to freshen her drains.It would make the drain smell nice.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 15, 2013:

Sgbrown, Being a clean freak is fine! It is much better than being a "dirty freak". Lol. I am in between, but the kitchen is probably the room I take the most care of. I am in it several times a day, so I tend to wipe the surfaces down frequently, deal with the dishes, and keep the sink fresh. I feel good when I have a clean kitchen.

I haven't thought of having lemon with my tea. That sounds tasty. I have lemons on hand once in a while. I have lemon juice quite often, and start my day with a hot cup of water with lemon and honey, and sometimes cinnamon. It perks me up for the day, and freshens my breath. I have my first cup of coffee AFTER the water, believe it or not.

I use bleach on occasion. I was amazed the first time I used it on a sink that was a little discolored. One pour of bleach down it, and it was shiny silver!

I have never tried cleaning it with vinegar, but I think I will next time. I just bought a big jug to use in concocting some natural cleaning products for regular use. I use regular cleaning products, as well, but I would like to try my hand at less harsh alternatives, since I am a little sensitive to chemicals.

Thanks for reading and responding, Sgbrown, I appreciate the input!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 15, 2013:

Unknown Spy, thanks for reading, and for the feedback.

I agree, we should always take note of what not to put our drains. It is nice when knowledge can help save money and time!

One thing I read from plumbers on various forums was that we should always read our manuals (for the disposal unit), but I live in an apartment, where they don't provide the manual. So researching it so that I knew what not to put in there was essential.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on February 14, 2013:

I have to admit I am, what my daughter calls, a clean freak. I am very careful as to what I put down my garbage disposal. Small food scraps is about all the sees the inside of my disposal. We drink a lot of tea with lemon and I always put the left over lemon slices down my disposal. It really helps freshen it. It sees bleach and vinegar quite often too! Very useful information, Voted up and more! :)

Life Under Construction from Neverland on February 14, 2013:

very useful hub. i think we always should take note of the things we should not put on our drains to prevent waste of money and time alter on.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 14, 2013:

Thank you for reading and commenting, Rajan.

I'm glad I researched this subject, because being confused of what to dispose of could have major consequences! I live in a rental, and it would be terrible to mess up the disposal here!

Years ago I had a blocked drain, and it was not pleasant! It smelled bad, and at the time I didn't know much about how to solve the problem.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 14, 2013:

Very useful information. Correctly disposing garbage is of paramount importance not to block one's drain.

Good job. Voted up, useful.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 13, 2013:

Thanks, Alecia, I appreciate your comment, and that you took time to read this.

I decided the deoderizer section would be a be a good thing to have in a hub that is predominantly about things that clog it up. I hate smelly drains!

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on February 13, 2013:

I really don't know much about garbage disposals so this is definitely helpful. I just don't want to make it stink or clog it. I love how you include deodorizer suggestions so you don't wonder how to keep your disposal smelling decently. Great hub!

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 13, 2013:

Bill, I was almost going to wait until morning to finish it, but I find the process of creating and tweaking a hub to be addictive! I was doing it instead of my regular forms of leisure activity! I wasn't sure if anyone would even read this overnight, so I was surprised to see two comments already.

Thanks, Bill, that is a very good review of the article, and I appreciate it! I probably could have made this into two hubs, but I think it'll work out ok.

Kathryn (author) from Windsor, Connecticut on February 13, 2013:

Victoria, thanks for reading and commenting.

Composting is a good idea. If I didn't live in a high-rise in the city, I would think about doing it.

I put a lot of research into this subject after I was wondering what couldn't go down the drain. Now I know very well!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2013:

You are up late, Kathryn! Nice job on this one; well-researched and it is visually appealing. How's that for a review? :)

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on February 12, 2013:

This is a great hub full of very useful advice. While I've usually been very careful, a reminder is always good. Fortunately, I compost much of my food excess, so I don't have too much I need to send down the drain. Voted up and several others! :-)