The main purpose of a garbage disposal is to get rid of some of the waste generated from the preparation of food since these tend to deteriorate very quickly. This is not to say that it is every food waste that can go into the garbage disposal. This appliance, which comes in very handy, can quickly turn into a huge inconvenience when the wrong material is sent down, but fortunately, many things are safe. So what is safe to put down a garbage disposal?
The scrapings off plates are safe to flush down the garbage disposal, provided they do not contain hard bones. While soft bones will not affect your garbage disposal, hard bones are definitely not good because they are simply too tough to be completely ground into fine particles. They should go into the trash can. Small bones--like poultry bone can safely go into the disposal--as long as they are no bigger than two inches.
Vegetables and Bread
Soft vegetables, like the leafy part, can easily be ground up and so can safely be put into the garbage disposal--so far as they do not contain any fibrous material which tend to wrap around the rotating blades and damage the rotor. The stems of just about every vegetable contain fibrous material, just as do asparagus and the peelings from carrots. Onion and potato peels are also bad for the disposal. Bread can safely go into a garbage disposal, provided it is flushed with a lot of water because bread disintegrates very quickly. This is not to say that it is necessary to try to force a whole loaf of bread into the disposal! As always, less is better in this situation, if it is big enough, throw it into the trash.
Fruits can generally be put into a garbage disposal, but not every kind of fruit and definitely not the peelings off some. Soft fruits like strawberries, avocado (not the pit!) and apples are examples of safe fruits to put into the garbage disposal. On the other hand, banana peels, avocado skins and fruit pit, are some of the parts in a fruit which can cause some damage to a garbage disposal.
The rind from citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruit, lemon and lime contain a citric acid which is a natural cleaning agent. Not only do they cleanse the garbage disposal, they also release a pleasant smell. The important thing is to cut the peels into small pieces so that they can go down easily.
Ice is very beneficial to the garbage disposal because it will knock off any sharp-edge debris. Every other week, toss some ice cubes down the disposal and let the cold water run simultaneously. Some people believe that this will sharpen the shredder but all it really does is to remove accumulated debris.