5 Thanksgiving Foods that will Destroy Your Garbage Disposal

Thanksgiving is this Thursday! We’re really excited for the chance to spend time with loved ones and for the great food we’re gonna eat. If you’re the one cooking or hosting this Thanksgiving, though, be careful about what’s going in the garbage disposal!

Contrary to popular belief, even the most high-end garbage disposals can’t grind up anything.In fact, Thanksgiving and the day after are two of the busiest days of the year for plumbers. Most of the calls we get on those days are about broken or jammed garbage disposals and clogged sinks. Don’t let that be you this year! Here’s a list of some Thanksgiving foods you should never put down the disposal:

Turkey Bones, Grease, and Fat

Turkey bones are too hard for a garbage disposal to grind up. At best, they will just bounce around in there and jam the disposal, and at worst they can fly out and injure someone or break the disposal entirely. Throw those bones in the trash.
As a general rule, grease and fat should never go down any drain. Grease hardens as it cools, building up into a clog in the pipes and even causing problems and backups in the main sewers. Instead, pour that grease in a glass jar and throw it in the trash after it cools.

Fibrous Vegetables

This includes green beans, celery, onions, potato peels, and more. The stringy fibers in these veggies wrap around the garbage disposal’s blades and can cause it to jam.

Pumpkin Pulp and Seeds

Pumpkin pulp can gum up the garbage disposal and then solidify as it dries, rendering the disposal unusable and creating a nasty clog in the pipes that even chemical drain cleaners can’t get through. If you’re not cooking with them, throw those pumpkin guts in the trash.

Starchy Foods

Yes, this includes potatoes, pasta, and rice! Starchy foods turn into a paste in the disposal, and then that paste solidifies and can clog the trap.


Some people say that eggshells sharpen garbage disposal blades, but this isn’t true. The hard outer layer of the shell is ground into a sand-like consistency that sticks to pipe walls and contributes to clogs, and the shell’s stringy membrane layer wraps around the disposal’s shredder ring.

If you have doubts about whether or not you should put something down the disposal, just throw it in the trash to be safe. Taking an extra moment to properly dispose of something is well worth the money you will save by avoiding emergency service plumbing costs!

Let’s face it, things can go wrong even when you’re careful, so Universal Plumbing will be on call this Thanksgiving to come to the rescue if you need us. Call us at 586-459-0040 anytime, and keep our number handy in case of an emergency! We’re always here to help you.