By Adriana Notton

Since its invention in 1927, the garburator, or waste disposal unit, has been used by homeowners to dispose of their household waste. One problem many homeowners with a garburator find themselves facing is damage caused by putting the wrong items in the device. This is often due to the belief that anything can be put into a garburator. However, there are a number of items that should not be put in the garburator because not everything can be ground up and carried away through the plumbing system. Putting the incorrect items in the garburator can clog plumbing pipes and even ruin the device. To ensure that your garburator stays functioning properly, below is a list of items that should not be put in the device:

Non-Food Items: Garburators are designed for soft food items. Items such as glass, metal, and plastics will damage the device. As well, these items should not be added to the wastewater.

Oil, Fats, and Grease: Although oil such as cooking oil, fats, and grease, can be easily poured down the garburator, it does not all flow through the plumbing system. It will congeal, solidify, and accumulate in the plumbing pipes, eventually creating a blockage in the system.

Fibrous and Stringy Food Substances: Fibrous substances such as cornhusks and celery can clog up the garburator and should not be put in the device. Any kind of stringy or hard-peeled vegetable in large amounts can harm the system. This includes: asparagus, potato peels and lettuce. Only small amounts of the items should be put in the garburator at one time.


Hard Food Items: Fruit pits and bones are examples of hard food items that should not be put in the garburator.

Food Shells: Once eggshells are ground up, they will often accumulate in the plumbing pipes and clog the pipe. Shrimp shells should also not be put in the garburator as they will start to emit a foul odour if they do not pass through the plumbing system.

Contaminated Food: It is important to avoid putting contaminated food in the garburator to prevent an outbreak of a food borne illness.

Paper: Once paper gets wet, it will become lodged in the garburator and create a blockage.

Animal Waste: Cat litter and dog poop should not be put in the garburator.

Diapers: Although it would appear to be a no-brainer, every year, thousands of garburators become clogged with dirty diapers.

Coffee Grounds: Putting coffee grounds in the device will eventually cause an accumulation and clog.

Rice and Pasta: It is very difficult to break up rice and pasta into small enough pieces to ensure the food travels through the plumbing system. They will also expand when mixed with water which can collect in the trap.

Although garburators are designed for the disposal of waste, there are items that should not be disposed of using the device as they can cause damage. For instance, clogged or damaged equipment can cause the plumbing to become damaged which can result in flooding of the kitchen. It is important for every homeowner to be aware of what can and can’t be put in the garburator. It will ensure the device stays working properly for a long time.

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