What Not to Put Down the Drain, and Why

Jeff Palady
President
Budget Rooter

Website

“Out of sight, out of mind.” Our drains are designed for our convenience, but unfortunately, many people treat them like a sort of magic disappearing act. They wrongly assume that if something cango down the drain, it shouldgo down the drain, and if it doesn’t cause an immediate clog, they’re safe. People who have garbage disposals can be even worse about this mentality because it gives the impression that anything can be chopped up small enough to fit through the drain pipe.

In truth, we could write a book listing all the specific things that shouldn’t go down a household drain (e.g., kitchen sink, bathroom sink, toilet, etc.). But for now, let’s list some of the most common food and chemical items people put down their drains, but shouldn’t.

Coffee Grounds and Egg Shells

These two items are bad for pipes for the same reason: they don’t move well down the drain. Coffee grounds are heavy and clump together, and even when egg shells are put through a disposal, the small pieces stick together similarly to coffee grounds. These and similar substances can accumulate easily and clog your pipes.

Pasta and Rice

You’ve probably noticed that you feel “more full” a few minutes after eating rice or pasta. The reason: these food items absorb water and expand inside your stomach. They do the exact same thing when you put them down the drain—and that’s when clogs happen.

Oil and Grease 

Cooking oil and grease, even in liquified form, can cause huge headaches not only for your drain but for your municipal sewer system.

“Flushable” Kitty Litter

The word “flushable” is a misnomer (read: lie). The fact is, flushable kitty litter can still clog toilets, and often does. Even if it doesn’t kitty litter absorbs harmful, treatment-resistant bacteria from your kitty’s waste that can find its way back into our water supply.

Feminine Hygiene Products and Condoms

Tampons and condoms may look small enough to be flushed—and they are, technically—but they don’t dissolve in water and they tend to get lodged in the pipes, causing an unsanitary mess. They’re not good for the public sewage system, either.

Household Chemicals

Remember, when you put something down the drain, it doesn’t “disappear.” It goes into the municipal sewer system for treatment. Many household agents (e.g., ammonia, cleaning supplies, paint) contain harmful chemicals that can’t be “treated” out of the water supply, which means they will eventually present an environmental hazard for others. Dispose of these chemicals properly—don’t send them down the drain.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Palady, RMP is the President and co-owner of Budget Rooter Plumbing & Drain Cleaning.  This family owned plumbing company has been serving their customers for more than 25 years, and makes customer service and quality of work their priority.

Jeff started working in the field at the age of fifteen under the tutelage of his father, who owned a Philadelphia-based plumbing and drain cleaning company.  At the age of eighteen, Jeff and his mother decided to open their own shop in their home state of Delaware.  For the first few years, Jeff was Budget Rooter’s only field technician, and was often out on calls until late at night while going to school to earn his Master’s License.  As Budget Rooter grew, Jeff trained new technicians, researched and purchased the best equipment, and today he manages the operations of the company.

Known for being dedicated to Budget Rooter, Jeff is one of the first to arrive in the morning and is usually the last to leave.  In his spare time, Jeff enjoys fishing, modifying his truck, and spending time with his wife and two sons.  

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