The garbage disposal is an amazing tool for getting rid of unwanted leftovers and food scraps. You can toss soft foods or liquids down there, and even solid foods that have been thoroughly chopped up. But as amazing as this invention is, it can be quite difficult to fix when it gets clogged or completely stops working. Here's a list of what not to put in the garbage disposal to extend its lifespan.

1. Coffee Grounds

coffee, espresso, cappuccino, mocha
Jocelyn Hsu

Coffee grounds can turn into a thick sludge, which will clog the drain. Instead, use the used coffee grounds to fertilize your garden or compost them. Or just throw them into the trash.

2. Egg Shells

egg, candy
Amelia Hitchens

Why throw eggshells down the drain when you can compost them or use them as fertilizer? The shells have a thin membrane on the inside which, if separated from the shell, can mess with the rotor system of your garbage disposal. 

3. Starchy Foods

Amanda Savarese

Starchy foods, like pasta, rice, or potatoes, tend to expand when exposed to water. By tossing them down the garbage disposal, you risk them expanding and clogging your drain. Just throw them in your compost bin or trash can. 

4. Oil or Grease

oil, vinegar, alcohol, wine
Alex Frank

Oils, grease, and animal fats can coat the blades of your garbage disposal and render them ineffective. They can also clog the drain. Save used cooking oils in a jar and take them to a recycling location near you. If there's no recycling place for cooking oil near you, then simply put it in a jar and throw it away with your normal trash. 

5. Pits and Seeds

pumpkin seeds, nut, vegetable, salt
Steph Auble

Seeds and pits are difficult to cut and can damage the blades in the garbage disposal. Simply throw them in your regular trash and you're good to go.

If, despite following this advice, your garbage disposal is clogged (which is bound to happen regardless of how careful you are), you do not want to put any chemical drain cleaners down the garbage disposal. This can corrode the metal in the unit. Some garbage disposal models have a hex shaped hole on the bottom. If you have a hex wrench that fits, you can turn it a couple times back and forth to see if that frees the impellers. If not, I would consult a plumber before trying any other methods you may find on the internet.