Skip to Content

Can You Put Rice Down a Garbage Disposal? (Not Really…)

Can You Put Rice Down a Garbage Disposal? (Not Really…)

Garbage disposal goes a long way to simplify things in the cookhouse. However, it doesn’t get the best from us in return. Some of the things we put in the kitchen drains can attract issues down the road.

As such, before you place any food scraps in your garbage disposal, ensure that you are doing the right thing. Using the garbage disposal for some foods is absolutely fine. But that’s not the case for all.

There are a few foods that should never go into your kitchen drain. But is rice among these foods? Well, here, we have everything you need to know about putting rice in your kitchen drain. Keep following to be in the know!

Is It Safe To Put Rice in Your Garbage Disposal?

Unfortunately, putting rice in your garbage disposal is not a safe thing to do. While rice has small particles, these tiny grains absorb water to expand. That could cause blockage in the drainage pipes, especially for large amounts.

Before we go any further, let’s first point out something. Garbage disposal is a necessity for every kitchen. Sure, it doesn’t do the cleanest of jobs. But all that is to make sure that things run smoothly for you in the kitchen.

And one thing we love about garbage disposal is the versatility it offers, safely swallowing down almost anything from your kitchen chores.

However, we must keep in mind that our needs extend beyond its scope of versatility. You see, as much as it supports lots of stuff, we can’t use it for everything. That’s the truth we have to accept. But not many people realize this, and that ends up causing trouble with the disposal.

While its work is to eliminate kitchen waste, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to put anything in this drain. View it much like yourself – not everything that can pass through your mouth down the gut is safe for your intake.

And yes, rice is one of the things you should never put in your garbage disposal. Perhaps it’s one of the things you weren’t expecting, probably because of the small particles. But take it from me – rice is one of the fiercest enemies for your garbage disposal.

After this food gets into your kitchen drain, a few changes happen. It’s much the same as what happens when cooking it – it swells up (up to three times its uncooked size) and clumps together. In this state, it’s more likely to block your pipes. And yes, that’s why we recommend avoiding using your garbage disposal for rice.

Can Cooked Rice Go Down The Garbage Disposal?

No, cooked rice can’t go down the garbage disposal. As much as the rice grains are tiny, they become something else when they get into the drain- just as aforesaid.

But let me explain deeper!

You see, a garbage disposal works much like the digestive system. Once you feed it with anything, it uses water and grinding force to break everything into smaller sizes that drainpipes can handle safely.

Now, for the case of rice (and a few other foods), the mashing process more often results in a thick pasty substance that blocks anything from flowing down. Unaddressed, this clump may begin to send odor back to your kitchen.

That’s not something anyone would want for their kitchen. We all wish to maintain a clean, neat, and nice-smelling kitchen. After all, the cookhouse is the heart of every home, sending forth life to everyone within the home.

So yes, the next time you cook rice, ensure that leftovers and burned-on food on the inside of the cookware don’t touch the mouth of your kitchen drain. That will keep everything running smoothly in your cookhouse.

Can Rice Clog a Sink?

Rice can definitely clog a sink. We’ve said that the thicker pastes of the substance resulting from the grinding process inside the garbage disposal are enough to cause a blockage in the kitchen drainage area.

So yes, the fact that garbage disposal seems like it can safely swallow just about anything you throw at it shouldn’t fool you – this kitchen appliance can pick up clogs even from things we least expect and that includes rice.

Now, when that happens, you can expect it to cost you – even if time. But the good thing is that unclogging isn’t a complex thing. Nonetheless, we always recommend that you abstain from trouble if possible other than treating it.

How Do You Get Rice Unstuck in the Garbage Disposal?

Rice is soft food. As such, any clogs related to it are easy to solve. In fact, you more often don’t need to hire a professional plumber for the job. But again, it’s one thing you have to do with precaution, especially now that the piping is usually fragile could break with rough handling.

Now, if you just realized that there’s some rice stuck in your garbage disposal, provided below are the steps to follow to get things back in order;

Step 1: Gather your supplies

As with any other task, you need the right paraphernalia for the job. The good thing is that you likely already have everything it takes to get things back to normal. Here, you need water, teakettle (or pot), white vinegar, and baking soda.

Step 2: Boil water

Once you have everything you need for the process, begin by boiling water in the teakettle or any other vessel you chose for the job. Two or three cups should be enough.

Step 3: Pour the water

After the water boils, pour it directly through the opening of the drainage. Ensure that you do it gently to avoid burns from any possible splashes. Then, leave it for some time for the stuck rice to soften. Ten minutes should be enough.

Step 4: Pour lukewarm water

After this time, run lukewarm water in the drain opening and turn on the disposal. The lukewarm water should sweep away any stuck rice. But just in case it doesn’t, sometimes it takes a few repeats of the third step.

Step 5: Bring in baking soda and white vinegar

At this stage, the stuck rice should be nowhere near the opening. But it could still be somewhere within the drainpipes. For assurance that all the trouble is gone, use baking soda and white vinegar. Just pour 1/2 cup of baking soda and an equal amount of white vinegar.

Step 6: Cover the place

After the two ingredients get into the garbage disposal, allow them ample time to do their work. Forty-five minutes should be okay. Only ensure that you cover the opening all this time.

Step 7: Lukewarm water again

After this time is over, repeat the fourth step to ensure that everything is solved. The baking soda and the acidic nature of vinegar should clear any possible clog. The baking soda should also have dissolved any odor.

If you still notice the clog after the seventh step, that should tell you that you are dealing with a big problem. But there’s still one remaining option before you could bring a plumber – get in touch with your garbage disposal manufacturer. Ask the seller for information about any discharge products to use for the job.

If what they recommend doesn’t work, you no longer need to take things into your own hands. Get a plumber to get things right into place.

How To Dispose of Leftover Rice?

At this point, you already have a better understanding of the dangers of using garbage disposals for rice. You could even have resolved never to use it for the same type of food – which is the ideal thing to do! But where next for leftover rice?

Well, the best place for any leftover rice is a trash can. But just in case some stray particles of rice slide into the drain, that’s fine. Just ensure that you run some water through the drain to clear things up before the particles swell. But NEVER use your kitchen drain for rice intentionally!

But again, it’s not all about rice. We have several other foods you should never get rid of through garbage disposal. Let’s dig deeper into that straight away!

7 Common Items That You Should Not Put in the Garbage Disposal

One surefire way to avoid issues with your garbage disposal is by drawing a clear line between its use and that of the trash can. Here is a rundown of things you should never put in your kitchen drain.

1. Starchy foods

Rice comes in here. However, it’s not the only thing to avoid. Things like pasta, spaghetti, potatoes, and other like-stuff are also a no-no for garbage disposal. You see, all these foods have one thing in common – they all absorb water. That means they could form clumps that may cause blockages in the piping.

2. Eggshells

An egg is one of the common kitchen ingredients. Whether you cook eggs daily or occasionally, one thing to avoid is putting the shells inside the garbage disposal. Don’t be fooled – eggshells won’t sharpen the blades! In fact, some substance on them could wrap around them and cause a few issues.

3. Bones

You obviously know that you shouldn’t put bones inside the garbage disposal. But for the sake of those who think the blades of garbage disposal are strong enough to handle bones, it’s better not leave it out from my list. But just in case some soft chicken or fish bones slide into it, no need to panic. Your machine can handle such but only once in a while.

4. Coffee grounds

A cup of coffee in the morning is one of the ways to begin a day off right. But as you prepare your morning cup of coffee, ensure that the grounds don’t get into the drain. After getting into the garbage disposal, these grounds morph into a substance that could block your pipes.

5. Oil, Fat, and Grease (OFGs)

You know what happens when you leave that liquid bacon grease in your pan for an hour or two after cooking. Well, that’s the same reason you shouldn’t have oil, fat, and grease get into your garbage disposal. They will solidify somewhere in the drainpipes. I don’t need to tell you what that could bring forth.

6. Stringy vegetables and fruits

Stringy stuff could give your garbage disposal grief. Fibrous foods ball up somewhere in the plumbing, and that could cause clogs. As such, after you interact with celery, onion skins, pumpkin innards, onion skins, asparagus, and other fibrous veggies and vegetables.

7. Nuts

Of course, your garbage disposal blades can handle nuts and their shells. Nonetheless, we don’t recommend it. Nuts will make grinders grow dull much faster. That will reduce the lifespan of the garbage disposal. As such, ensure that nuts only go to the trash can. The good thing is that they don’t take much space in there.


If you have to keep benefiting from your garbage disposal, you have to regulate what goes into it. Some foods are safe for your kitchen drain. But others are an invitation for trouble, and rice is a case in point.

After it gets into the grinder, rice (and some other dangerous foods) can absorb water and expand to form clumps that may cause clogging. Fortunately, rice clogs are easy to solve. Nonetheless, ensure that any leftover rice goes into the trash can.