15+ Things You Should NEVER Put Down The Drain

But… only a little won’t hurt, right? Wrong! Here are some pretty common things that you shouldn’t ever put down the drain.

Rice/Pasta

We’ve all cooked rice or pasta at some point, and you can see how they both expand when they absorb water. Now imagine what they’ll do if you pour them down the drain and they get stuck in your pipes… yikes!

Eggshells

Eggshells may seem too delicate to cause any problems, but they can wreak havoc on your pipes and septic tank if you have one. When wet, the shells become sticky and coat your pipes or garbage-disposal blades. If this coating hardens, it can be hard to remove.

Coffee Grounds

Most people assume that coffee grounds are small enough that they won’t stick in your pipes, but it’s actually quite the opposite! Most plumbers agree that coffee grounds are one of the most likely sources of a clog in your kitchen pipes.

Grease, Fats, & Oils

The next time you cook bacon, think twice before you pour the grease down the drain. Grease, fats, and oils seem to be the trifecta of plumbing pluggers. All 3 of these substances result in gross globs the perfect consistency to clog up pipes. In fact, these substances account for more than 47% of all sewer overflows that happen in the United States each year.

Fruit Pits & Bones

Fruit pits and bones are both too hard for garbage disposals to take care of. Bones actually splinter, making it almost impossible to get them all the way through your piping.

Flour

If you’ve ever had wet flour dry on your countertops, you know how tough it can be to remove. If you rinse flour or dough down your drain, it will coagulate and form doughy blockages in your pipes.

Flushable Wipes

A lot of wet wipes claim to be “flushable,” but that doesn’t always mean that they will disintegrate easily, and they can be particularly difficult on older plumbing systems. They can contain congealed grease and won’t disintegrate like toilet paper does.

Paper Towels & Cotton Balls

Just because paper towels and cotton balls are biodegradable doesn’t mean they’ll dissolve instantly. They’re designed to be absorbent, which actually makes them the perfect culprit to clog pipes.

Paint

Washing paint down the drain is a major problem. In fact, most localities have rules and regulations about the disposal of paints—both water- and oil-based. The issue isn’t so much to do with your pipes; it’s the number of toxins and chemicals from the paint that can end up in the water supply.

Medications

Just like with paint, medications aren’t a big issue for your piping, but for our water supply. In 2002, the U.S. Geological Survey studied 139 streams over 30 different states. Their goal was to identify certain chemicals within the water supply. Not only did they find the chemicals they were looking for in 80% of the streams they tested, but they determined that personal care and pharmaceutical products were a big reason for why those chemicals were present.*

Condoms

Don’t flush your condoms. We really wish we didn’t have to bring this one up, but we do. Condoms are made of rubber which isn’t biodegradable. It will either get stuck in your plumbing or, if it somehow manages to get past your pipes, it will most likely end up floating around in the water supply somewhere…and no one wants to encounter that.

Feminine Hygeiene Products

It is not “more sanitary” to flush a tampon, and anyone who has had to deal with a toilet plugged by one will agree. Feminine products don’t dissolve in water and will always have the potential to get stuck. If they make it through your pipes, they can cause problems in your septic tank or wastewater facilities.

Motor Oils

Always keep oil, transmission fluids, and all other chemicals, including anti-freeze, far away from pipes. Disposing of used motor oil in your kitchen sink or any drain can pollute the environment and in some places, is also illegal.

If you’re diligent about keeping these items out of your drain, your piping should stay clog-free! But if you do have a clog, don’t hesitate to give us a call! (509) 535-3447 for service in Washington, or (208) 649-9991 for Idaho.

*https://toxics.usgs.gov/pubs/FS-027-02/pdf/FS-027-02.pdf

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