The short answer is no. While some manufacturers make models designed to process bones, if you have more basic models or are not sure about the exact recommendation for your model, it is best to avoid putting bones in your garbage disposal. However if only a few small pieces fall into the kitchen sink, it’s not a big deal.
I made a comprehensive overview of this question and detailed all the aspects. I did extensive research on official manufacturer recommendations and they included them here. So why can’t you put chicken bones in a garbage disposal?
What problems can putting chicken bones in the garbage disposal cause?
Placing chicken bones in a garbage disposal can lead to multiple issues. It can result in dull or even broken blades, making it harder to grind food waste and reducing the disposal’s longevity.
Moreover, chicken bones may cause drain blockages and lead to sink backups. If there’s any grease on the bones, it can solidify in the pipes below the disposal and cause a clog that may need a licensed plumber’s intervention to clear.
Why the uncertainty about chicken bones in garbage disposals?
Many people are unsure if chicken bones can be put in a garbage disposal. This uncertainty stems from the fact that garbage disposals are designed to handle food waste, but it’s not always clear what types of food waste are safe to put down the drain. Additionally, different manufacturers have different recommendations for their models, which can add to the confusion.
So should I put chicken bones in my garbage disposal?
Some manufacturers make models of garbage disposals that are designed to process bones. However, if you are unsure about the exact recommendation for your model or have a more basic model, it is best to avoid putting bones in your garbage disposal. Bones can do damage to the garbage disposal by blunting them. Grease on the chicken bones aids clogging the pipes below the garbage disposal, causing a backup.
Can I break the garbage disposal by putting chicken bones inside?
The function of a garbage disposal is to grind up food waste by rotating it in a grinding chamber, which has impeller arms to push the food towards a shredder ring. The shredder ring breaks the food particles down to a smaller size, after which they are expelled through the waste line. While most garbage disposals are pretty hardy and can handle a variety of food scraps, bones can be particularly challenging for them to process.
Grinding hard object such as bones leads dulls the blades of the disposal unit. In case of very hard bones it can even cause chips on the blades. For more tips, please read my detailed guide about best practices complete list of things not to put in garbage disposal.
Do garbage disposal manufacturers recommend avoiding bones?
Waste King states that all types of food waste can be put down your disposal such as vegetable peels, fibrous materials, small bones, fruit pits, etc. However, they also state that items such as large whole bones should not be put there.
Emerson’s InSinkErator Badger series has different models with varying capabilities. Some models have 2-stage MultiGrind Technology for tougher food scraps like chicken bones while others have 3-stage MultiGrind Technology for heavy duty food scraps like beef bones.
Wastemaid’s waste disposer units can officially deal with small chicken or duck bones. Their economy-sized units can grind up basic food waste while their mid-range units can handle even harder foods like corn on the cob and fruits and vegetables. However, for doing so, it is better to upgrade to higher-end units. They are designed to tackle chicken bones, duck bones and even ribs.
Going through different manuals, it is actually recommended by some garbage disposal manufacturers to grind animal bones as it can help clean the grind chamber. The idea is, as the bones are being shredded, the broken-up yet hard bone tissues help scour the details inside the chamber. However they are referring to really small bones only.
How Can I Properly Dispose of Chicken Bones?
Properly disposing of chicken bones and other food waste will help the environment because it reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. On the other hand, doing it wrong can pose health and safety risks because it can attract pests and create unpleasant odors.
There are several ways to properly dispose of chicken bones. One option is to compost them if you have a compost pile or a compost bin.
It is safe to compost chicken bones, whether cooked or uncooked. However it is better if you cook the bones first as they dont attract bacteria so much.
You can compost chicken bones together with your other fruit and vegetable wastes, although it is not recommended. This is because meat products can attract pests and harbor pathogens like E-Coli if the compost does not reach sufficient temperatures.
If you do not want to compost chicken bones, you can dispose of them in the trash. Wrap them in a paper towel beforehand. You can also check with your local waste management facility to see if they accept chicken bones for disposal.
How to correctly use garbage disposal?
Having a happy grinder is quite simple. Here are a few best practices.
Run cold water before and after grinding
Before and after grinding food waste, run cold water for 20-30 seconds. This helps ensure all food goes down the drain pipes instead of collecting in the grinder chamber and stinking up the kitchen.
Use dish soap and lemon juice ice cubes for cleaning
For a quick and easy cleaning solution, use dish soap and ice cubes made of lemon juice or vinegar. This not only cleans your disposal but also leaves it smelling fresh.
Can I use hot water to clean my garbage disposal?
Yes, you can use hot water to clean your garbage disposal. You can mix equal parts baking soda and white vinegar and flush it with very hot or boiling water to clean your disposal.
Should I use hot water while grinding food waste in my garbage disposal?
No, you should avoid using hot water while grinding food waste in your garbage disposal. Hot water can cause grease and oil from fatty foods to liquefy and accumulate, which can clog your drain. Instead, you should use cold water while grinding food waste to help solidify grease and oil and make it easier to grind up before reaching your P-trap.
Will the bones damage the garbage disposal?
Yes, bones can damage the blades in your garbage disposal unit.
Can the garbage disposal handle bones?
Some manufacturers state that small bones can be put in the garbage disposal. However, it is generally not a good idea. Bones can damage the blades and cause clogs in your drain lines. There are specific high-end garbage disposal units that are safe to put bones into.
Is it safe to put bones down the drain?
Generally, no. Not only can they damage the blades in your garbage disposal but also cause clogs and create a plumbing issue.
What other things you shouldn’t put in your garbage disposal?
I wrote detailed guide on what items you should never put to a garbage disposal. Please have a look, because it contains a complete list of unsuitable items.
There are quite a number of such items. This is a list of the most frequently asked items.
Can I put banana peels in the garbage disposal?
While banana peels can technically go down the garbage disposal, they are fibrous and can wrap around the blades, causing clogs. As a general rule, avoid putting banana peels into the disposal and if you do so, dispose of just small amounts at a time.
Can I put potato peels in the garbage disposal?
It is not recommended to put potato peels in the garbage disposal at larger quantities, as they are starchy and can create a paste that clogs the pipes.
Can I put non-food items in the garbage disposal?
Non-food items should never be put in the garbage disposal, as they can cause serious damage to the blades and plumbing system.
Can I put egg shells in the garbage disposal?
It is not recommended to put egg shells in the garbage disposal, as the membrane can get wrapped around the blades and the shells can accumulate in the pipes.
Can I put peanut butter in the garbage disposal?
Peanut butter should not go down the garbage disposal, as it is sticky and can accumulate on the blades, causing clogs.
Can I put corn husks in the garbage disposal?
Corn husks should not go down the garbage disposal, as they are fibrous and can cause clogs.
Can I put onion skins in the garbage disposal?
Onion skins should not go down the garbage disposal, as they can create a starchy paste that can clog pipes.
Can I put citrus rinds in the garbage disposal?
Yes, citrus rinds are safe to put in the garbage disposal, as they can help clean and freshen it.
Can I put fish bones in the garbage disposal?
It is not recommended to put fish bones in the garbage disposal, as they can damage the blades and cause clogs.
Can I put orange peels in the garbage disposal?
Yes, orange peels are safe to put in the garbage disposal, as they can help clean and freshen it.
Can I put fruit pits in the garbage disposal?
Fruit pits, like peach or plum pits, should never go down the garbage disposal, as they can damage the blades and plumbing.
Can I put citrus fruits in the garbage disposal?
Yes, most citrus fruits are safe to put in the garbage disposal, as they can help clean and freshen it.
Can I put avocado pits in the garbage disposal?
While avocado pits can go down the garbage disposal, larger pits can bounce around and create noise, so it’s often easier to dispose of them in the trash can.
Can I put paper towels in the garbage disposal?
Paper towels should never be put in the garbage disposal, as they can cause clogs. Consider composting them or throwing them in the trash instead.
Can I put starchy foods in the garbage disposal?
Starchy foods, like rice and pasta, should be avoided, as they can expand and clog the pipes.
Can I put coffee filters in the garbage disposal?
No, coffee filters should not be put in the garbage disposal, as they can cause clogs.
Can I put vegetable peels in the garbage disposal?
Most vegetable peels are safe to put in the garbage disposal, but use caution with tough or fibrous peels that can cause clogs.
Can I put large bones in the garbage disposal?
No, large bones should never be put in the garbage disposal, as they can cause damage to the blades and plumbing system.
Disposing of Doubts
I recommend you to read my detailed guide on what items you should never put to a garbage disposal. I’d be happy if you check it out as it will give you answers for the most frequent questions.
Garbage disposals are a modern convenience that can make our lives easier, but they do require some care and attention. Knowing what can and cannot be put down the disposal can help keep it running smoothly and prevent plumbing problems. And when it comes to cleaning your disposal, remember to use hot water, but stick to cold water when grinding food waste. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to keep your garbage disposal in tip-top shape and avoid any unpleasant surprises. Happy grinding!