Orange peels in my garbage disposal

(Originally published in December, 2006)

Since oranges have been in season, I'm discovering the joy of putting the peels down my sink's garbage disposal! They smell so wonderful and make it more fun to clean up the kitchen. ;) 

You all probably already knew about that trick, but since I didn't grow up with a garbage disposal in the sink drain, I was pretty clueless when we moved to a house that had one.

So clueless, in fact, that the first thing I did was put a massive amount of lettuce trimmings and carrot peels down there and try to run the disposal, causing the thing to get completely clogged and start backing up into... my washing machine.

After learning all about drains, plungers, and plumbing snakes and having problems a second time, we decided that our garbage disposal wasn't for heavy-duty tasks in the least, and that it would be in my best interest to just not use it.

I've gotten braver in the last two years, and now I occasionally use it for something... like orange peels... although pretty much all of our organic waste goes out on the compost pile. :D

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I did the same thing when I first got married and the apartment we lived in had one. I do not have one in my house now... and I sort of miss it.
But I was told one day by the maintenance man when I broke the disposal.. that I should run the disposal at least once a week, and also the dishwasher. What I had done since I did not know how to use the dishwasher either, I had corroded the line between the two ... So if you have a dishwasher and disposal you should always run them about once a week, just to keep the lines clear.
Just a tip.

They are a great way to clean your garbage disposal. I've also read (and do this every once in a while) that ice cubes in the garbage disposal will help clean it and also sharpen the blades. It does seem to help. I usually put a dozen or so cubes down it at a time. Sounds terrible but seems to help.

this was me, I didn't sign in earlier!

Sue, I think you're probably right! Garbage disposals should either be used or removed. :) I do run mine occasionally, now that I know what I can put down there without having problems! :D Stuff from my dish water always goes down there, anyway. :|

Amy, Joshua read that about the ice cubes! Sometime if we have ice, I'll try it. :D I never make ice... :)

I put orange peels down my disposal all the time. Mine never smells and I think that is why!

Hi Tammy,

I love Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, thank you for doing it. So glad to hear your move went so well!! :)


Ice cubes do work great to sharpen those blades!

Just 2 quick tips:

* Do NOT put potato peels in your disposal - no! no! no!

* After the oranges are out of season, you can use lemons, limes and grapefruit peels. THEN/or you can use baking soda and vinegar. If you liked the citrus scent, just add a few drops of essential oil w/the bs & v.

Good to see you back!

know what I do each time we eat oranges? I put the peelings either in the freezer to be used later, or I use them immediately by putting them in a pot with water barely covering, a dash of clove or whole ones if I have them, and a teaspoon of cinnamon, then boil and reduce to simmer all afternoon. My house smells yummy after that!

Don't have a blog, so I had to comment here.

I have to share the funniest story that happened yesterday. My garbage disposal broke a few weeks ago so we ordered a new one and my very handy husband installed it. I've used it just fine for the past few weeks. Yesterday as my youngest and I were in the kitchen working we heard a loud noise under the sink. We opened the cabinet and the garbage disposal was in pieces on the bottom of the cabinet. The thing just cracked in pieces and fell down. What a piece of junk! I'm thinking it must have had a crack or other defect that eventually just gave way. But now poor hubby needs to replace it once again (at least it won't cost us more money this time...just his labor).

Remember, if things that smell good make the whole room smell good ... things that smell bad will make the room smell worse. So, be careful!

Interesting that this topic came up today. Yesterday we had a stubborn clogged drain. I finally undid the P-trap and discovered the problem was egg shells. A whole bunch of them! I have never had a problem doing egg shells in the garbage disposal before, but I guess it was the quantity it couldn't handle.

I love doing oranges and lemon peels as well. :)

From what I understand, potato peels, egg shells, and onion skins are all going to overwhelm your average garbage disposal.

I've learned since having a septic tank and a garbage disposal, there are several things that are no-no's --

1. Eggshells
2. Potato peels
3. pasta & rice (both act like cement in your pipes!

We don't use it for anything other than the bits that can't be scraped off the plate, cereal and citrus peels. Since I started doing this years ago, no problems.

I do not have a garbage disposal at the moment, but agree with the previous posters about certain things being no-nos with disposals. I used to put lemon or lime peel and ice to clean and deodorize my garbage disposal!

My wife loves to put lemons and limes down our disposal. They smell great as well. So far we haven't clogged it up yet. We are like you, most of our organic waste goes in the compost pile. Great post!

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