What Happens If You Put Eggshells Down A Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals are one of our most convenient kitchen appliances — making clean-up a much simpler task, according to Michael's Plumbing of Central Florida. But while these handy machines make our lives easier, the downside is they can be very costly to repair, so you'll want to be careful with what you put in them. 

We can admit that we've used about every hack to keep these food waste-grinding machines working (and smelling) their best, from the salt and ice trick to the lemon hack. However, one of the most important things to stay up on is how to care for your garbage disposal. We already know that you shouldn't dispose of coffee grounds down the drain (save them for your garden's soil, though, as they make an excellent fertilizer). But what happens when you slip some eggshells down the garbage disposal? We have to say, you may be surprised like we were.

Eggshells may clog your pipes

According to a Consumer Reports survey of 1,040 people based in the U.S., about 33% of respondents thought that throwing eggshells down the garbage disposal was an okay move. Like them, you might think that it can handle eggshells, but you don't want to dispose of them in this manner since they can ruin the appliance — and that can cost you a lot of money.

The first reason is that eggshells may not break down in a timely manner, and as such they can build up and clog the drain. Hometown Plumbing, a business that provides home repair service solutions, adds that sending eggshells into your garbage disposal could end up clogging the pipes as well — particularly if you have an old home with a sensitive plumbing system. This is because the eggshell detritus can be ground into a sandy substance that can accumulate and get stuck — a situation that can be compounded if you throw grease down the drain as well.

The shell membrane may stick to your garbage disposal

There's one more reason to avoid tossing eggshells in the sink as opposed to the trash can: Hometown Plumbing notes that eggshells have a membrane that can actually stick to the garbage disposal's shredder ring, which can make it so it won't operate properly. Pete the Plumber adds that if the membrane lingers in your sink for a long time, it can start to smell, filling your kitchen with an unpleasant odor.

To that end, instead of sending eggshells down a garbage disposal, the Los Angeles Times says they are beneficial in your garden. Additionally, Hometown Plumbing has an easy tip for peeling eggs to avoid getting shells down your drain: They recommend using a strainer in your sink, which can act as a filter and shield your disposal from debris and detritus, in turn sparing it from any eggshell-related damage.