Live on a farm? Great! Save food scraps for the animals. Live in town? Unfortunately, it's not good practice to magically make your corn shucks disappear down the disposal. Few people realize that ideally, you should only dispose of things you can chew at the disposal. So what can't go down the garbage disposal?
There are actually some things that you should never put in the disposal:
Things such as a liquid plumber, bleach, or other harsh chemicals will deteriorate the inside parts, such as the seals or grinding chamber.
Oils and grease will likely get clogged in your pipes if not the disposal itself - yes, even if you run hot water down afterward.
Pasta, Starchy or Stringy Foods
Corn husks, onion skins, and celery can get all tangled in the blades.
Starches like potato peels, rice and spaghetti swell and can cause a soupy mess or bigger problems down the road.
Paperclips, appendages, plastic...do we need to specify? In fact, dishrags are so hard to retrieve that it ends up being cheaper to replace the disposal in a significant amount of cases - so be very careful that you know where they are in a sink full of soapy water!
Bones or Peach Pits
Can you slice it with a knife? Can you chew it? (i.e. see bullet above) If the answer is no, it's too hard for the poor disposal to chop as well.
So, what can you put in the disposal?
Cooked meat scraps, fruit scraps, and most vegetables (besides the fibrous or starchy ones) are safe to put down. Small amounts of coffee grounds are usually okay, although they can pile up into a sludgy mess if overdone.
The best thing you can do is create a 'water sandwich' around anything going down. Turn on the water for ten seconds and then the disposal. After it's off keep the water running for another ten seconds. This will ensure the 'line carry' of the waste gets out to the main line where other fixtures being used will further help the waste to get to the city main.
"Shoot - I have been putting in the wrong items! No wonder my disposal isn't efficient."
No problem! We have the right parts to fix or replace your disposal and can effectively assess your situation.