What Items Are Safe to Put Down Your Drains?
It’s tempting to toss just about anything down the sink to get it out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, what you put down the drain might come back to cause bigger issues. In fact, putting anything down the drain you’re not supposed to can create large blockages in the system, potentially leading to inconvenient and costly problems with your plumbing system.
For this reason, it’s important to know what foods and liquids are safe to put down the drain versus ones that aren’t.
Foods & Liquids That Can Go Down the Drain
While there are substances that shouldn’t be tossed down the drain, there are actually many foods and liquids that can be put in the drain without any issues.
There are certain soft foods that can be put down the drain, as your garbage disposal has the capacity to easily break down these items. A few examples of this include:
- Eggs without the shell
- Pineapple without the skin
- Bananas without the peel
While most soft foods that you can chew are okay to put down the drain, it’s important to remember that there are a few exceptions. Foods that expand with water, such as rice or pasta, should not be put down the drain, as they can expand and create blockages.
If it’s a non-toxic liquid, it can go down the drain.
Milk, coffee without the coffee grounds, juice, beer, dish soap, vinegar, wine, and more can be put down the drain. Even semi-liquid things like apple sauce, yogurt, and pudding can all be safely flushed down the drain.
Most vegetables can go down the drain, with the exception of fibrous vegetables.
Avoid vegetables like carrots, celery, artichokes, potato peels, fruit pits, bones, and corn husks. Ideally, scrap everything you can reasonably throw into the trash, and only small leftovers go down the drain.
Unsafe Items to Put Down Your Kitchen Sink
On the other hand, avoid putting these items down the drain:
- Grease, Oils, and Fats: Pour liquid grease into a container until it hardens, and then toss it in the trash. If you pour it into your kitchen sink, then the hardening will happen in your drain.
- Paper Towels: They are great for absorbing that spill, but they’ll keep expanding in your drain.
- Pasta: Always toss pasta leftovers in the trash. Pasta will gum your drain.
- Flour: Seems harmless, but flour mixes with the water in your sink to make a gooey paste.
- Medications: While medications won’t necessarily create clogs, they may end up in the ecosystem if dropped down the drain.
- Coffee Grounds: Grounds from coffee can easily expand when combined with water, which is why you shouldn’t throw them down the drain.
- Rice: Don’t underestimate the power of grains of rice to expand and create clogs in your drain.
- Eggshells: In addition to dulling your garbage disposal, the shells can attach to the sides of the drain and invite additional waste to join in.
- Potato Peels: Potato peels are incredibly starchy and can easily create clogs.
- Seafood Shells: Your drain can also become clogged if crab, lobster, or shrimp shells get stuck.
Keep your drains clear by also avoiding anything that is greasy, oily, fatty, sticky (like honey), expansive, fibrous, starchy, or hard.
What Is Safe and Not Safe In the Toilet?
Just like your kitchen sink, there are many items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. Besides what typically goes down a toilet, the only thing that is safe to flush is toilet paper. Feminine products, flushable wipes, condoms, baby wipes, and other similar hygiene products can easily create blockages in your sewer line.
Professional Drain Cleaning & Unclogging
Homeowners can try to snake their drain if there is a clog. However, for stubborn or large blockages, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional.
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