Can You Put Egg Shells in the Garbage Disposal? Myths, Risks, and Alternatives Explained

Can You Put Egg Shells in the Garbage Disposal? Myths, Risks, and Alternatives Explained

Ever wondered if you can toss those pesky eggshells down the garbage disposal? You’re not alone. Many people ponder whether this common kitchen waste is safe for their plumbing. While it might seem convenient, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you’d think.

Eggshells can either be a blessing or a curse for your garbage disposal. Some argue they help sharpen the blades, while others warn of potential clogs and damage. Understanding the pros and cons can save you from costly repairs and keep your kitchen running smoothly. Let’s dive into the details and find out if eggshells really belong in your garbage disposal.

Key Takeaways

  • Eggshells can potentially cause clogs and damage in garbage disposals due to tiny fragments and fibrous membranes.
  • While some believe eggshells sharpen disposal blades, this is a myth, as disposals use blunt impellers, not sharp blades.
  • It’s generally safer to avoid putting eggshells in your garbage disposal to prevent costly repairs and operational inefficiencies.
  • Composting is a beneficial alternative for disposing of eggshells, adding valuable calcium and balancing pH levels in compost.
  • Crushed eggshells have various practical uses, such as deterring garden pests, acting as a natural fertilizer, and serving as a cleaning scrub.

Understanding Garbage Disposals

How They Work

Garbage disposals sit under kitchen sinks and shred food waste into small pieces. These units use a spinning disc or impellers to break down waste. The finely ground particles then flow through the plumbing. Continuous-feed models operate with a flip of a switch, while batch-feed models require a stopper to activate.

What They Can and Cannot Handle

Garbage disposals can handle soft food scraps, including vegetable peels and small bones. However, they struggle with fibrous materials, like celery and corn husks. Sticky foods such as pasta and rice can also cause issues. Non-food items, like plastic or metal, should never enter the disposal. Some suggest eggshells are beneficial, while others warn about the risk of clogs. It’s crucial to understand your specific disposal’s capabilities to avoid damage.

Egg Shells and Garbage Disposals

Egg Shells and Garbage Disposals

The Myth of Egg Shells Sharpening Blades

Contrary to popular belief, egg shells don’t sharpen garbage disposal blades. Disposals use impellers to crush food waste, not blades. Impellers are blunt, so the notion of sharpening doesn’t apply. Those who claim eggshells sharpen blades likely misunderstand how disposals work. Egg shells can break down somewhat in water but won’t hone any parts within the unit.

Potential Risks of Disposing Egg Shells

Egg shells pose risks when put in garbage disposals. Tiny shell fragments can accumulate and create clogs in pipes. Over time, these clogs might lead to costly repairs. Additionally, the membranes lining egg shells are fibrous and can wrap around the impellers. This can reduce the efficiency of the disposal and cause it to jam. For these reasons, it’s wise to avoid putting egg shells in your disposal. The better approach is to compost them or discard them in the trash.

Alternative Methods to Dispose of Egg Shells

Composting Egg Shells

Consider composting to dispose of eggshells effectively. Eggshells add valuable calcium to compost, enhancing its nutritional value. Rinse them to remove any residue before composting. Crush them into small pieces to speed up decomposition. You can add eggshells to various composting systems, such as indoor compost bins, outdoor compost piles, and vermiculture setups (worm composting). Eggshells also help balance the pH levels, creating optimal conditions for decomposition.

Other Uses for Egg Shells

Eggshells have several practical uses beyond composting. Scatter crushed eggshells in your garden beds to deter common pests like slugs and snails, which avoid the sharp texture. Use them as a natural fertilizer by grinding them into a fine powder, then sprinkling around the base of plants to provide essential nutrients, including calcium. Create DIY cleaning scrubs by adding crushed eggshells to soapy water, effectively scrubbing stubborn residues from pots and pans. Finally, add finely ground eggshells to bird feeders, offering a calcium supplement to wild birds.


While it might seem convenient to toss eggshells into your garbage disposal it’s clear that the risks outweigh the benefits. Instead consider composting them to enrich your soil or using them in your garden to deter pests and nourish plants. You can also repurpose eggshells for DIY cleaning solutions or even as a calcium supplement for wild birds. These alternatives not only prevent potential plumbing issues but also contribute positively to your home and environment.

Putting egg shells in the garbage disposal is not recommended as they can cause clogs and damage the disposal blades over time. Instead, it’s better to compost the shells or use them in the garden as a natural fertilizer, providing calcium to plants, according to Bob Vila. Understanding these alternatives helps maintain the longevity of your garbage disposal and promotes environmentally friendly practices, as highlighted by The Spruce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put eggshells in the garbage disposal?

Although some people believe that eggshells help sharpen disposal blades, it is not recommended to put them in the garbage disposal. Eggshells can cause clogs and reduce the efficiency of the unit.

What are some alternative methods for disposing of eggshells?

Instead of using the garbage disposal, try composting eggshells. They can enhance your compost’s nutritional value and help balance pH levels. Additionally, eggshells can be used in gardens, DIY cleaning scrubs, and as a calcium supplement for wild birds.

How do eggshells benefit compost?

Eggshells add valuable nutrients like calcium to your compost. They also help balance the pH levels, making your compost mixture richer and more beneficial for your garden.

Can eggshells be used in the garden, and if so, how?

Yes, eggshells can be used in gardens to deter pests and as a natural fertilizer. Crushed eggshells scattered around plants can help keep away pests like slugs and snails, while also providing the soil with essential nutrients.

Are there any other uses for eggshells around the house?

Eggshells are versatile and can be used in various ways. They make great DIY cleaning scrubs due to their abrasive texture. They can also be used as a calcium supplement for wild birds by crushing them and adding them to bird feed.