Never Put These Things Down Your Restaurant's Garbage Disposal

Never Put These Items Down Your Restaurant’s Garbage Disposal

Are you getting blockages or foul smells from your commercial garbage disposal? Many employees assume they can place just about anything down the disposal chute. However, a number of items can cause major problems, and to avoid restaurant disposal repairs, you need to know what to avoid.

Some of the items to avoid are more obvious, and some you may not expect at all. But these are all things you should not put down a commercial garbage disposal to prevent serious plumbing problems.


If you operate an Italian restaurant, this one can present a real challenge, but any food that expands when exposed to water should be kept out of your restaurant’s garbage disposal. While there are other foods like rice that also expand in water, the worst of these is pasta. Small parts of leftovers are fine, but in large quantities, it can cause major problems for your restaurant’s garbage grinder.

This expansion can cause major clogging. The problem with pasta is that even when cooked, it can still take in extra water and continue expanding. Because of its starchy makeup, it will stick as well as clog.

If you do place small amounts down the commercial garbage disposal, then make sure it fully vacates the chute. You can do this by running a stream of very cold water down the disposal.


While commercial garbage disposals are designed to grind up your restaurant’s waste, not every item can be destroyed in this way. Hard items will put wear on the system, resulting in commercial disposal unit issues. One of these harder items you should avoid putting down your disposal is bones.

Smaller bones, such as chicken and fish bones, should not result in problems. However, larger items like shin bones and ribs can damage the blades and result in your system needing repair quite quickly.


Grease is one of the most common substances that can cause restaurant garbage disposal problems. It is thick, sticky, and does not dilute when it comes into contact with water. In fact, cold grease is even more vicious, so adding cold water makes the situation much worse.

The real problems occur when this sticky substance comes into contact with other items in the disposal. Once food and soap combine with it, you will have a disgusting smell as well as a blockage to contend with. To remove grease, you will need to use harsh drain cleaning products that can cause health as well as environmental damage.

Egg Shells

It is a myth that eggshells in a commercial disposal unit actually help sharpen the blades. The truth is that eggshells are far too brittle to sharpen any sort of blade. In addition, they simply crack into extremely fine pieces, which can impede the flow of other items down the disposal.

The fine particles can collect in traps, blocking the flow of other objects. The fine membrane on the inside of the egg can also work its way free, acting as a thin net to collect other items. Dispose of eggs in the trash can.


Anyone who makes baked goods from scratch can understand the restaurant garbage disposal issues that flour can cause. When it’s dry, it’s not as much of an issue, but once it becomes wet, it becomes extremely thick and gloopy. This can block other items from traveling down the garbage disposal chute.

Flour can be broken down with enough water. But if it comes into contact with other items before that, such as food and fat, it will become even harder to destroy. Instead, dispose of it in the trashcan or water it down to a fluid liquid beforehand.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are almost a sand-like substance, and you would not want that in your commercial garbage grinder. This dense, thick paste also rots quickly, so you can be dealing with quite a pungent odor, and not one that smells of fresh coffee. In addition, coffee ground can clog pipes and begin to dry out, making them even harder to remove.


While employees may imagine that nuts just grind up and do not cause problems, consider how peanut butter is made. Grinding the nuts releases the natural oils, which turn it into a thick spread. Placing nuts into your restaurant’s garbage disposal is doing just the same, except the peanut butter is gathering in your plumbing and not a food processor.

Peanut butter does not break down easily with water. This means you will have a serious problem that requires cleaning fluids or professional assistance fixing your restaurant’s plumbing problems.


Not all commercial garbage grinder problems that occur are related to food. In fact, when remodeling is taking place it can be tempting to simply dispose of your paint using the commercial garbage disposal. Only very thin, diluted water-based paints are acceptable.

If you place water-based paints that are not diluted down your drain, they will stick to the edge of the pipes. When it dries, this adds an extra layer to the pipe, making it a smaller passage for food waste to travel down. If food and other objects get stuck in the paint as it dries, then the problems are worse.

Oil-based paints should be avoided being put down your commercial garbage disposal at all costs. They will cause the same problems as water-based paints, but be much harder to remove and create thicker layers on your pipes.

Remember that anything you put down your commercial kitchen’s garbage disposal eventually goes into our drinking water so you should avoid putting anything with lots of chemicals down your drains.

Cooking Oil

Cooking oil has a similar makeup to grease. Once you have cooked with it, it becomes even worse as it thickens. In fact, you can have blockages from cooking oil without deliberately putting any down the commercial garbage disposal.

This occurs when oil goes down the sink from dishes and pans when washing. The best way to deal with this is to have used oil containers. You can fill them up, let them set, then dispose of them in the correct manner.

Get Help To Avoid Plumbing Problems

When plumbing problems occur in a busy restaurant, they always seem to happen in the middle of a busy dinner rush. If a plumber or appliance repairman take a long time to arrive, this can cost your commercial kitchen money. It is best to prevent these types of issues altogether.

The Drain Strainer™ can help you avoid issues with what gets put down your drains. No matter how much you focus on employee training, short cuts are always going to be taken and items are going to be put down your restaurant’s garbage grinder that can harm it.

If you want to avoid issues with commercial garbage disposals that are leaking or have burned out motors, The Drain Strainer™ is an effective and affordable commercial disposal alternative.

Invented by a former restaurant owner, The Drain Strainer™ can eliminate issues with mangled silverware or dangers from employees putting their hands down the commercial garbage disposal trying to clear out a clog.

Click here to find out more about how our product can keep your restaurant running smoothly.

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