10 Things That Should Never Go Down the Drain
Your household drain system isn’t a lot of things. It’s not a garbage can, a toxic waste disposal or a recycling receptacle. Drains are designed to accommodate certain liquids and some liquefied or finely-pulverized solid materials. Anything that falls outside those specifications may cause a nasty clog and/or damage or deteriorate your plumbing. This, in turn, will necessitate the services of a professional plumber to resolve the problem at your expense. It’s simpler—and less expensive—to keep things that don’t belong in your drains out of your drains in the first place. Here’s a list of the top 10 usual suspects:
- Grease and fat. They may go down as a liquid but they harden in your pipes and cause an accumulation of sludge that eventually triggers clogs. Throw it out with the regular trash.
- Coffee grounds. Inside your pipes they accumulate at the lowest point in the household plumbing, causing blockages. Dispose in the trash.
- Paper towels and most other paper products. With the exception of toilet paper, any paper that goes down drains does not decompose and will cause a pipe blockage.
- Rice and pasta products. These foods do not disintegrate but swell inside your pipes, eventually obstructing flow of waste water.
- Hair. It’s another ingredient of the sludge that forms inside plumbing and causes clogs. Place hair strainers over drains.
- Bath salts. Unless the label specifically states that the product fully dissolves, assume that it doesn’t and don’t let it flow down drains.
- Eggshells, corn husks, onion skins, etc. Any food products that are undigestible don’t belong in your drains, either.
- Cat litter. This is very water-absorbent and thus extremely hard to clear out of your plumbing once it causes a clog.
- Nail polish remover and other solvents. These are bad for pipes and rubber seals and will eventually degrade plumbing.
- Caustic drain openers. Strong drain openers that include sodium hydroxide or other harsh chemicals may destroy pipes. If you can’t open a clogged drain with a simple plunger, contact a plumber.