You Should Never Pour These 8 Things Down the Drain

The most frustrating home problem is a clogged sink or tub drain, followed by a clogged toilet. It seems to happen at the worst possible time. Many plumbing problems can be avoided by changing our behaviors, but not all. If you know which materials solidify and clog pipes or overwhelm garbage disposals, you can stop them from going down the drain.

By pouring toxic chemicals into a septic system or municipal water supply, we can do damage that isn’t immediately evident, but pollutes our water supplies. These chemicals end up in our groundwater, rivers, and oceans, affecting the health of the planet. Here are 8 things you should never flush down the drain.


1. Eggshells

It may seem harmless to flush eggshells down your drain, but you guessed it, it’s not. The sharp edges of those small pieces will prevent other things from going down the drain like they’re supposed to, which will then result in a clogged sink if you crush them.

2. Grease

Although it may seem like something you wouldn’t think twice about when doing your dishes, you cannot let grease go down the drain either. Over time, it can accumulate and clog your pipes.

Butter, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and any other oil-based products should not be flushed down the drain either. If you need to dispose of grease, wait for it to cool and then throw it in the trash.

3. Coffee Grounds

The grounds of coffee tend to stick together and form a lump in plumbing pipes that just won’t move. Even a few grounds each day can add up to a problem. Coffee grounds are useful around the house and are a great addition to garden compost piles. Nitrogen is added to the soil to help break down plant material.

4. Flour

When flour is mixed with water, it creates a paste that can clog your pipes too. If you have worked with flour, regardless of whether it has been mixed with water or not, you should dispose of it in the trash.

So you don’t have to worry about clogging your sink.

5. Rice and Grains

Rice or dry grains expand when water is added. The same thing happens if you pour them down the sink. Dispose of the grains in a garbage can or compost pile.

6. Doughs and Batters

Uncooked rice and grains can swell in water, as well as batters and doughs. Rather than rinsing it down the sink, add it to the compost pile or scrape it into the trash before washing bowls and utensils.

7. Paint

Putting paint down the drain can permanently stain your sink and leave your pipes in need of repair. Paints of all kinds should be disposed of properly to prevent chemicals from entering our groundwater.

Many waste management companies will accept paint cans with a small amount of paint that has been allowed to dry out before disposal. Kitty litter can also be mixed with paint before disposal. Cans that are full are considered hazardous waste, so you should contact your local waste management collection center to find out how to dispose of them properly.

8. Flushable and Nonflushable Wipes

Many brands of personal hygiene wipes claim to be flushable but none of them are actually that helpful for your plumbing system. Attempting to flush too many wipes forms a ball that will clog the toilet and never dissolve. The same is true for condoms and feminine hygiene products. Keep a small trash can next to the toilet for their disposal.

Paper towels, cotton balls, make-up pads, and disinfecting wipes for cleaning or hand sanitizing should also be disposed of properly in a trash can—never down the toilet.

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