Read This Before Putting Citrus Peels Down The Drain

Grabbing your leftover lemon peels and tossing them down the garbage disposal is far from a new kitchen hack, but it's one that many are (justifiably) skeptical about. Time and time again, this easy way to fill your house with fresh and fruity scents pops up on the internet, but there's a lot of back and forth on whether or not the trick is actually safe for your sink.

To be fair, there are a lot of foods out there that aren't suited for a garbage disposal, so it's probably best to do some research before using it to try and freshen up your kitchen. According to C&W Plumbing, pasta, rice, eggshells, and celery stalks can wreak absolute havoc on your kitchen pipes if they make it down the drain. And while C&W actually warns against disposing of fruit and vegetable skins through the sink, citrus peels are fair game — just with a few proper precautions so you're not stuck with an unexpected and steep plumbing bill.

Don't overdo the number of citrus peels you put down your disposal

Generally speaking, citrus peels are perfectly safe to use in your garbage disposal, as long as you follow a few steps in preparation. Shiny Modern explains that the skin of lemons and oranges cuts through any foul-smelling particles, cleaning out any of the other food waste that's been jammed in your disposal over time. Citrus peels also tend to cut through any residual grease, oil, or fat that may be clogging your pipes, so it's a smart idea to work them into your cleaning routine now and again (via Wiggly Wisdom).

One key preventative step to safeguard your plumbing system is to run some water with the disposal on to make sure that everything is working as it should be before you introduce the peels to the drain. Shiny Modern also notes that another important step to take is to cut up any lemon or orange peels before you toss them down the drain. Sure, garbage disposals are intended to grind up food, but if the peels are too large, they can get caught in the blades and be more of a headache than a help.

Some handy home-owning Redditors suggest using no more than quartered lemons at a time — even with a small amount, you should expect the blades to take their time breaking down the peels. The bottom line? Peel away, but proceed with caution!