If you find that your sink isn’t draining properly, it could be because of a clogged drain. In many cases, clogging occurs because something has been disposed of down the drain when it shouldn’t have been. Take it from The Coop; nobody ever wants to be inconvenienced by a clogged drain or, worse, an expensive repair because something is stuck in your drain. To help keep your pipes clog-free, here’s a look at what not to put down the drain.

Household Products That Clog the Toilet

There are many common products that seem to successfully flush down the toilet, but unfortunately, they get caught at some point down your piping system and could harm your plumbing system before you know it. For example, many people falsely assume that paper towels can be flushed down the toilet along with toilet paper. However, because paper towels are designed to be absorbent, they can definitely clog a toilet. This issue extends to other absorbent paper products, such as cotton balls, baby wipes, and most importantly, diapers which are advertised as “disposable” but should never be flushed down a toilet!!

What Not to Put Down the Drain When Cooking

People normally avoid throwing food scraps down the drain. However, there are some cooking ingredients that can cause serious damage when poured down the pipes of your kitchen sink. The next time you cook a meal or clean off your plate, keep in mind these substances that are better off being disposed of in your trash rather than down your drain:

  • Starchy foods are a common culprit of clogged kitchen sinks—cooked noodles. Rice and oatmeal will absorb water, expand, and block up your pipes. Remember to clean your plate properly during your next pasta night.
  • Eggshells are another thing that is better off thrown in your trash can. After becoming wet and sticky, eggshells will coat the pipes and block the flow of water down the drain. Additionally, small bits of eggshells can mix together with other substances and clog the drain.
  • Although coffee grounds may seem tiny enough to fit down the drain unhindered, they’re one of the most frequent causes of sink clogs. A major reason why you should avoid dumping coffee grounds is that they don’t dissolve in water.
  • Watch out for baking ingredients. Flour will mix with water and become a paste that can block the passage of water. Butter is another ingredient to watch out for because of its water-resistant nature. It accumulates within the pipes and can ultimately block them.
  • Some of the worst food products you can pour down the drain include cooking oils and fats. Oils coagulate and can coat pipes until nothing can pass through, meaning you should avoid pouring down things like leftover olive oil and salad dressings. Cooking fat is another big offender, as it will harden and block drains, similar to butter.
  • While they aren’t food, the stickers that are commonly affixed to produce are a typical problem. The adhesive backing can cause them to stick to pipes and accumulate. Before washing the fruit you just bought at the grocery store, take off the stickers and throw them in the trash.

Household Items that are a Big No-No

There are a number of household items that you might want to toss down the drain, but think twice before you do!  

  • Personal hygiene products are better off wrapped and placed in the trash rather than tossed down the drain.
  • “Flushable” kitty litter is an oxymoron. Trust me on this, don’t flush it, even if the directions say it’s safe.
  • Items like medication, cleaning chemicals, paint, and automotive liquids may not clog your pipes but could ultimately wind up in your water supply which is a potential health hazard.

Please be aware that although many homeowners have garbage disposals which are certainly convenient and help minimize clogging issues, all of the substances discussed above may clog your pipes regardless of whether you have a garbage disposal or not, so be sure to keep that in mind the next time you dispose of anything down your drain.

Now that you know the types of substances that should NEVER be disposed of down the drain, your new residential plumbing pipes are more likely to stay clean and functional. However, no matter how diligent you are, at some point, most people experience a clog for one reason or another, and if your sink isn’t draining correctly, contact Cooper Mechanical for help. We offer a variety of home repairs and maintenance, including our Bucks County heating and air conditioning services. For more information, call us today.