Can You Put Orange Peels In The Garbage Disposal?

It is safe to put orange peels down the garbage disposal. It acts as a cleaning agent for your disposal by cleaning out residue from the disposal chamber. Orange peels also serve as deodorizers, giving the disposal and your kitchen a fresh smell.

You would agree that garbage disposal is one of the most convenient inventions in the kitchen. After a long day of preparing great meals for the family, I would rather dump all the scraps into the sink and leave the job for the garbage disposal to complete. 

But, there has been a lot of debate on what should be dumped into the garbage disposal. One of the bones of contention is if orange peels can damage the mechanism of the garbage disposal system, and it is time to set the record straight.

orange peels

Should You Put Orange Peels in the Garbage Disposal? 

Yes. Although it is not advisable to put vegetable peels or fruit skins into the garbage disposal, orange peels are one of the few exceptions to this rule. Peels and skins of potatoes, mangoes, and apples are unsafe for your garbage disposal as they may get caught up around the disposer blades causing damage.

On the other hand, orange and citrus peels can do your garbage disposal some good. They help clean out the residue of other food waste that has been jammed in the disposal and get rid of foul-smelling particles.

This clears your clogged disposal and gives your kitchen a fresh smell. It is important to note that overdoing the number of orange peels you pour at a time may cause issues.

Steps To Take Before Pouring Orange Peels Down The Garbage Disposal

There are precautions to take to maximize the benefits of orange peels, such as:

Step 1: Cut Up The Orange Peels

The garbage disposal’s job is to chop up food particles, but if long orange peels are put directly into the disposal, they may get caught up in the system. This makes it difficult for the disposal to grind effectively, which will only lead to more problems.

Step 2: Run Water Before Pouring Orange Peels

It is important to always run water before, during, and after disposing of any waste material into the disposal. This will ensure that the whole system is well lubricated and working properly before it shreds any waste. 

Running water also makes the grinding easier and cleans up the plumbing system after the process. Do this often to ensure your garbage disposal lasts long with as little damage as possible. 

Step 3: Dispose of In Measured Quantities

The blades require time to grind effectively and push waste residue; thus, putting the orange peels in measured quantities is important. It may be more convenient for you to dump a bowl of peels into the disposal, turn it on, and leave, but it is not recommended. 

Choking the disposal with a large chunk of orange peels will damage the system because there is no space to handle the pressure effectively. You shouldn’t put more than quartered orange sizes at a time.

top of garbage disposal

Other Materials That Are Safe For Cleaning Garbage Disposals

Ice Cubes

Asides from orange peels, ice cubes are also an effective way of clearing out your garbage disposals. They may not give the kitchen a fresh smell but are great for dislodging debris and residue that may be clogging the garbage disposal.

They don’t leave a residue of their own because they melt into water. 

Pour a cup of ice cubes and turn it on. You may even add half a cup of kosher or rock salt and leave it to run. It is important to avoid chugging the disposal up with ice cubes when trying to knock the stubborn debris out. 

Like long orange peels that can wear out the motor underneath the disposal chamber, ice cubes can wear down the disposal grinding rings. Speaking of rings, contrary to popular opinion, ice cubes don’t sharpen the disposal’s blades.

Garbage disposals don’t have actual blades. They use swiveling metal lugs encased in a metal chamber.

Baking Soda And Vinegar

The combination of baking soda and vinegar causes a chemical reaction that is likened to that of a volcano. It bubbles and foams and is a good deodorizing and cleaning solution for your garbage disposal. 

Pour baking soda and vinegar (half cup of each) into the garbage disposal and leave for about 15 minutes. When the mixture has been left to work for the allotted time, rinse away with hot water. 

Alternatively, you can use foaming cleaners instead of baking soda and vinegar. They work similarly by staying in the garbage disposal for several minutes and cleaning out tough grunge from different unit parts. They are slightly more effective than orange peels and even come in deodorizing variants.

Deodorizing Balls

This is also a good alternative to orange peels, and they are great for cleaning really smelly garbage disposals. They come as small balls to get rid of the foul odor from within the unit. They are also biodegradable, non-toxic, and fit in garbage disposals.

Other Ways To Dispose Orange Peels


It was a common misconception that orange and citrus peels, in general, were not suitable for compost making. They were said to kill worms and bugs that were beneficial to proper soil functions, but these claims are unfounded. 

Orange peels are not hazardous to your compost. They serve as deterrents to scavenging animals that may want to feed on the roots and fruits of your plants. Orange peels take more time to decompose than regular composts, but simply cutting up the peels into smaller pieces can solve this problem.

Use In Fridge

You can use orange peels to freshen up a smelly refrigerator or freezer. Simply placing an orange peel filled with salt in the fridge for a few hours will absorb the foul odor from the compartment. 

Use To Eliminate Smells In Closets

You can also use orange peels to eliminate odor in smelly closets. Place the peels in socks or pantyhose and drop them anywhere within the closet. The orange peel absorbs the foul smell and leaves the space smelling fresh. Replace the orange once it gets dry before it starts to smell.

As a Bug Repellant

Orange peels are strong insect repellants. Placing them in corners, doors, and window openings will keep pests and mosquitoes away. Rubbing the orange peels on parts of your skin can prevent mosquito bites.

Things You Should Not Put In Garbage Disposal

There are many waste products that garbage disposals are not built for, including:

  • vegetable peels
  • fruit skins
  • pasta and rice
  • stringy vegetables
  • Bones
  • fruit seeds and pits
  • Fats
  • Grease

FAQs About Putting Orange Peels Into Garbage Disposal

How Often Can I Put Orange Peels Into My Garbage Disposal?

You do not have to wait until the disposal is clogged or smelly to put orange peels into it. You can do this at any time as routine maintenance.

Can I Use Chemical Agents To Clean Up My Garbage Disposal?

Pouring chemicals such as bleach to clean up the disposals will only erode and damage your pipes. They also pose a serious health challenge as the toxic smells are released back into the kitchen, harmful when inhaled.

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