Can You Put Eggshells in a Garbage Disposal? Expert Advice Revealed

Anthony Barnes

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Garbage disposals are a convenient addition to many kitchens, making it easy to get rid of food waste by grinding it up and sending it through the plumbing system. However, not all food waste is suitable for disposal in this manner, and it’s essential to recognize suitable items. A common question homeowners have is whether eggshells can be safely placed in a garbage disposal, and the answer isn’t as simple as it sounds.

On one hand, some sources suggest that eggshells may help in sharpening the blades of the garbage disposal, making their inclusion a beneficial aspect of waste management. However, this practice is not universally advised, as other experts warn against putting eggshells in a garbage disposal due to their potential for clogging pipes and creating buildup within the appliance.


When it comes to the debate about eggshells and garbage disposals, it’s best to approach the subject with caution. When disposing of eggshells, consider alternative methods, such as adding them to compost or using them in your garden, to avoid risking potential plumbing issues.

Garbage Disposal Basics

In this section, we will take a closer look at the essential aspects of garbage disposals, including the components that make them function efficiently and how to care for them properly.

Components of Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is a useful kitchen appliance that simplifies the process of getting rid of food waste. It consists of several essential components:

  • Grinding Chamber: The grinding chamber houses the shredding impellers that grind and break down food waste into tiny particles.
  • Motor: A powerful motor drives the impellers, typically ranging from 1/3 to 1 horsepower.
  • Sink Flange: This component creates a watertight seal between the sink’s drain hole and the garbage disposal unit.
  • Baffle: The baffle helps keep water and food debris inside the grinding chamber while the unit is in operation.
  • Drainpipe: The drainpipe allows the ground-up food particles and water to exit the disposal and enter your home’s plumbing system.

Care for Your Garbage Disposal

Proper maintenance of your garbage disposal is crucial for its longevity and optimal performance. Follow these simple tips to care for your disposal effectively:

  1. Run Cold Water: Always run cold water while operating your garbage disposal. Cold water solidifies fats and oils, making them easier to break down and preventing clogs.
  2. Avoid Hard or Fibrous Materials: Keep items like bones, eggshells, and fibrous vegetables (e.g., celery, corn husks) out of the disposal, as they can cause jams and damage the impellers.
  3. Clean Regularly: Clean your disposal at least once a week by running cold water and a handful of ice cubes through it. The ice helps dislodge any buildup and sharpens the impellers.
  4. Use Citrus Peels: Occasionally grinding citrus peels in the disposal can help eliminate unpleasant odors.

By understanding the components that make up a garbage disposal and taking adequate care to maintain it, you can ensure your disposal works efficiently and lasts for years to come.

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What Can and Cannot Go in a Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are helpful for managing food waste but not all items are safe for disposal. In this section, we’ll explore the different items that can be safely put in a garbage disposal as well as those that can be hazardous to its proper functioning.

Safe Items

  • Fruit Scraps: Small fruit scraps can be safely put into the garbage disposal as they won’t cause any damage to the blades or pipes.
  • Vegetable Scraps: Like fruit scraps, small vegetable pieces can be processed by the garbage disposal without issues.
  • Cooked Meat: Small portions of cooked meat are safe for garbage disposal as they can be easily ground up.
  • Ice: Ice is actually beneficial for your garbage disposal as it helps clean the blades without causing damage.

Hazardous Items

  • Eggshells: Though it is possible to put small amounts of eggshells in your garbage disposal, it’s best to avoid doing so. Eggshell membranes can bind to the spaces between grinding components, resulting in jams and damage over time (source).
  • Fruit Pits: Large fruit pits, such as those from peaches or avocados, can cause damage to the blades and should not be put in the garbage disposal.
  • Grease and Oil: Fats like grease and oil can solidify and create clogs in your pipes, making them unsuitable for garbage disposal.
  • Corn Cobs: Corn cobs can damage the blades of your garbage disposal and cause clogs in the pipes, so it’s best to avoid putting them inside.
  • Bones: Small bones may be processed by the garbage disposal, but larger bones can damage the blades and should be kept out.

Remember to use your garbage disposal for the safe items listed above to ensure proper functioning and avoid any damage or clogs in your blades and pipes.


The Eggshell Debate

Arguments for Putting Eggshells in Garbage Disposal

Some people believe that putting eggshells in the garbage disposal is acceptable. One reason for this belief is that the calcium in eggshells could potentially help to sharpen the disposal’s blades, thereby enhancing its grinding capabilities.

Arguments Against Putting Eggshells in Garbage Disposal

However, there are strong arguments against putting eggshells in garbage disposals. Firstly, the membrane found inside the eggshells can be a problematic element as it may wrap around the disposal’s blades. This can lead to potential clogs and reduce the appliance’s efficiency. In addition, over time, these membranes could also result in damage to the disposal unit.

Another concern about eggshells in garbage disposals is the shell fragments. These tiny particles can settle and cling to the sides of the disposal, contributing to eventual clogs or performance issues. As mentioned in this article, the main purpose of a disposal is to chop up food waste in order to keep it in suspension, but eggshells may disrupt this process.

As suggested by DisposalXT, it is generally best to avoid putting eggshells in a garbage disposal altogether, as even a small amount of these shells can cause issues over time.

In conclusion, although some people argue that the calcium in eggshells can sharpen garbage disposal blades, the risk of membrane clogging and damage to the disposal unit outweigh any potential benefits. It is advisable to err on the side of caution and avoid putting eggshells in your garbage disposal.

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Better Ways to Dispose of Eggshells

Eggshells can be put to better use than sending them down the garbage disposal. Let’s explore a couple of eco-friendly methods to dispose of eggshells, such as composting and gardening uses.


One of the most effective and environmentally friendly ways to dispose of eggshells is by composting them. Eggshells are an excellent addition to your compost pile, as they are rich in calcium and other minerals that help improve the quality of your soil.

To compost eggshells:

  1. Crush the eggshells into small pieces to speed up the decomposition process.
  2. Add them to your compost bin or pile.
  3. Turn the compost regularly to mix the eggshells into the organic material.

Over time, the eggshells will break down and enrich the compost, ultimately providing nutrients to plants and improving soil health.

Garden Uses

In addition to composting, there are various ways to use eggshells directly in your garden. Here are some common applications:

Fertilizer: Eggshells can be an excellent fertilizer for your garden, as they are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These elements can help support strong plant growth and prevent blossom-end rot, especially in tomatoes. Simply crush the eggshells and scatter them around the base of your plants.

Seedling Pots: You can use clean, halved eggshells as biodegradable seedling pots. Fill the empty shell halves with potting soil, and sow your seeds inside. Once the seedlings have sprouted and are ready for transplanting, you can plant the entire eggshell in your garden, as it will break down over time and provide nutrients to the surrounding soil.

Pest Control: Crushed eggshells can be used as a natural pest deterrent in your garden. Sprinkle them around your plants to create a sharp barrier that can help deter slugs, snails, and other pests from reaching your plants.

In conclusion, composting and garden uses for eggshells provide a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to putting them down the garbage disposal, which can lead to clogs and plumbing issues in the long run. These methods not only make use of a valuable resource, but also contribute to a healthier garden and environment.

Common Garbage Disposal Clog and Damage Causes

Garbage disposals are an essential part of modern kitchens, but improper use can lead to clogs and damage. In this section, we will go over some common causes of garbage disposal issues and inform readers on how to avoid them.

Grease, Oils, and Fats

One of the primary causes of garbage disposal clogs is the buildup of grease, oils, and fats. These substances tend to solidify when cooled, causing blockages in the disposal and pipes. To prevent this, never pour these substances down the drain, even when using the garbage disposal. Instead, collect them in a container and dispose of them in the trash.

Starchy and Fibrous Foods

Starchy and fibrous foods, such as potato peels, rice, pasta, and celery, can also contribute to clogs and damage in your garbage disposal. These food items tend to expand when mixed with water and can form a thick paste, making it difficult for the disposal to break them down. Additionally, fibrous foods like celery and onion skins can wrap around the blades, causing the motor to overheat and increasing the risk of damage. To avoid these problems, dispose of these foods in the trash or compost bin instead of using the garbage disposal.

Hard or Abrasive Items

Hard or abrasive items, such as coffee grounds, fruit pits, seafood shells, and bones, can cause damage to your garbage disposal and lead to clogs in the pipes. Coffee grounds, although small, can accumulate over time and create blockages in your plumbing system. Fruits pits, seafood shells, and bones are too hard for the garbage disposal to break down and can damage the blades or motor. To prevent damage and clogs, dispose of these items in the trash rather than using your garbage disposal.

By staying mindful of what goes into your garbage disposal and avoiding these common culprits, you can help maintain the longevity and function of this essential kitchen appliance.

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Fixing and Preventing Garbage Disposal Clogs

Garbage disposal clogs can be a nuisance, but with the right approach, you can fix and prevent them. In this section, we will discuss do-it-yourself solutions and when to seek professional help.

Do-It-Yourself Solutions

If you suspect a clog in your garbage disposal, start by turning off the power and unplugging it. To clear standing water in the sink, you can use a flat plunger or scoop it out with a bucket1. Next, inspect for any visible debris and remove it carefully.

To prevent future clogs, avoid overloading the garbage disposal. One key rule is to be selective about what goes down the drain. For instance, it is not recommended to put eggshells in the disposal2. Always refer to the user manual for your specific model’s guidelines on what to avoid disposing of. Also, run cold water while using the garbage disposal to help flush out any small debris.

Professional Help

Sometimes, DIY solutions might not be enough, especially if the clog has reached the pipes or is too severe to handle. In such cases, it’s best to call a professional plumber to unclog and repair your garbage disposal. This is particularly important if you have an old home with a sensitive plumbing system3.

Following these tips and being mindful of what goes down the drain will help you maintain a functional and hassle-free garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal Myths Debunked

Eggshells Sharpening Blades

A common myth surrounding garbage disposals is that eggshells can sharpen the blades. This, however, is untrue. In fact, ground-up eggshells can actually lead to clogging in your garbage disposal or pipes due to the tiny particles they create 1. It is not a wise idea to put eggshells down the garbage disposal as it may potentially cause issues rather than solve them.

Icy Solutions

Another popular misconception is that running ice through your garbage disposal will sharpen the blades or keep them clean. While ice is useful for helping to remove debris from the blades, it doesn’t sharpen them since garbage disposal blades are intended to remain sharp through regular use. The main purpose of using ice is to prevent a buildup of residue and foul odors3. However, it is important to remember that running water is crucial when using your garbage disposal, as it helps to carry out food particles and avoid clogged pipes2.

In conclusion, it is essential to be aware of the myths surrounding garbage disposals, as following them may lead to issues rather than solving them. Being knowledgeable about the proper care and usage of garbage disposals will ensure that they run smoothly and efficiently.

Environmentally-Friendly Kitchen Waste Solutions


Composting is an excellent way to recycle your kitchen scraps while contributing to a healthier and more sustainable environment. Eggshells, in particular, are a great addition to a compost pile due to their high calcium content, which helps improve soil structure and plant growth.

To start composting, collect kitchen waste like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells in a designated container. Then, mix these scraps with leaves, grass clippings, or other dry materials. Turn the pile regularly to encourage the breakdown of materials and, over time, you’ll have nutrient-rich compost to use in your garden.

In comparison to using garbage disposals, composting is advantageous because it:

  • Helps reduce landfill waste
  • Decreases production of harmful greenhouse gases
  • Enriches soil with essential nutrients

Biodegradable Bags

In addition to composting, using biodegradable bags can also contribute to eco-friendly kitchen waste management. Biodegradable bags are made from natural materials like cornstarch or plant-based polymers, which decompose more quickly than traditional plastic bags. This helps minimize the negative environmental impact of non-biodegradable plastic waste that causes pollution and harm to wildlife.

When using biodegradable bags for waste disposal, consider the following tips:

  • Select bags that are certified as compostable to ensure they break down properly
  • Use bags with handles for easy transport and disposal
  • Keep bags in a cool, dry place to prevent premature breakdown

By integrating composting and biodegradable bags into your kitchen waste solutions, you can effectively manage waste in an environmentally-conscious way without relying on garbage disposals that may cause issues with plumbing systems. Keep in mind, it is generally not recommended to put eggshells in the garbage disposal as they can potentially clog pipes and damage the equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do eggshells damage garbage disposals?

Eggshells can cause potential damage to garbage disposals. When ground up, they turn into tiny, sticky granular particles that can stick in the drainpipe, leading to clogs. Moreover, eggshells can wrap themselves around the impellers, affecting the disposal’s efficiency (source).

What are the worst foods for garbage disposals?

Some of the worst foods for garbage disposals include fibrous foods like celery, grease, and oil, potato peels, corn husks, and other starchy foods. Additionally, pits and seeds should be avoided as they can be hard to grind and potentially damage the disposal (source).

How to unclog a garbage disposal with eggshells?

If eggshells have caused a clog in your garbage disposal, you can start by turning off the disposal and unplugging it for safety. Gently remove any visible eggshells with a pair of pliers. Next, use a small plunger to dislodge any remaining clogs in the drain. Once the clog is cleared, you can plug the disposal back in and turn it on, while running cold water to help flush any remaining debris.

Can eggshells help sharpen disposal blades?

Contrary to popular belief, eggshells do not sharpen garbage disposal blades. In fact, they can potentially cause more harm as previously mentioned (source).

What items are safe to put in a garbage disposal?

Safe items to put in a garbage disposal include small amounts of soft food waste, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, cooked meats, and small pieces of bread or pasta. It’s essential to run cold water while using the disposal to help wash down the waste and reduce the chances of clogs.

Are coffee grounds suitable for garbage disposals?

Coffee grounds should not be put in a garbage disposal, as they can create a thick, sludgy paste when combined with water. This paste can clog the drain and negatively impact the disposal’s performance. It’s best to dispose of coffee grounds in the trash or compost them instead.


  1. How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal – The Home Depot 2
  2. Why You Should Never Put Eggshells in Garbage Disposal? – 2
  3. What Happens If You Put Eggshells Down A Garbage Disposal? 2
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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age