Top 12 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Drain

The drain in your kitchen sink may seem like a great place to dispose of household waste, but it can’t handle everything. Some of the worst things you can put down your drains are not only bad for your pipes, but they also harm the environment and endanger people and wildlife when they make their way into rivers and streams. 

1. Grease

Grease is a compound that can cause serious plumbing issues if it’s put down your drain. This is because grease doesn’t stay in liquid form long, so when you pour it down your drain, it begins to solidify. As a result, it can start to adhere to the walls of your drain and sewer line. This creates a clog that’s hard to remove. 

2. Paper Towels

While paper towels are used in many places around the home to wipe up spills, dry hands, and clean windows, it’s a good idea to avoid flushing paper towels down the toilet. They may block your toilet, causing clogs that can be difficult to clear. Paper towels are made of cellulose fibers that have tiny pores or air pockets. This makes them highly absorbent and strong, but it also means they don’t break down easily in water. They’ll clump together and get bigger over time, making it a bad idea to flush them down the drain. 

3. Flour

When flour is mixed with water, it creates a gooey substance that can clog your drain and garbage disposal. It will also stick to the sides of your pipes and collect other wastes that can clog your entire sewer system. 

4. Seeds

Putting seeds and grains down your drain is a no-no because they obstruct proper water flow in your plumbing system. They should be thrown in the garbage or added to your compost. 

5. Grains

Similar to seeds, pasta and rice expand when mixed with water, so they can clog up your pipes when they go down the drain. They also have flour in them, so they become sticky and catch other things that get stuck on your pipes, resulting in a clog. 

6. Produce Stickers

Of course, the best part about these tiny stickers is that they’re often a fun conversation piece and a nice way to show your love for a green and ethically produced produce. The problem is that most aren’t disposed of in the best possible way, from entering landfill to getting stuck in sewage systems or even washing up on beaches. Stickers are especially dangerous if you use a sink that’s designed for hair, like a shower drain. This is because the glue on the sticker can get stuck to your bathroom’s pipes and will clog them. 

7. Cleaning Products

Putting cleaning products down your drain might seem like an easy way to get rid of them but it’s actually harmful for your health and the environment. The chemical residue from these products can damage your pipes, clog them, and release toxic fumes into your home’s air. These cleaners also use harsh chemicals to break up clogs, which can result in leaks or corrosion in your pipes. This can be especially harmful to older pipes or plumbing systems that use plastic pipe. The chemicals can also eat away at your pipes, making them soft and more prone to cracks. 

8. Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are a common source of pollution and have many negative environmental impacts. They can clog storm drains and sewers, trap disease-causing germs, bacteria, and insects, and they can also contaminate waterways and oceans with harmful chemicals. These bags are mainly made of polyethylene, which is a derivative of petroleum and natural gas. They are very difficult to recycle, and if they do get recycled they are often not fully degraded. The main problem with plastic bags is that they can contaminate waterways and oceans. They are also toxic to marine animals and can kill them when they mistake discarded bags for food. 

9. Cotton Balls

It is never wise to put cotton balls down the drain. They absorb water like a champ and tangle with your garbage to form a giant clog. A recent study suggests that cotton balls are responsible for a quarter of all blockages in the home.  

10. Eggshells

When eggshells are ground up, they can cause clogs in your drain. This is because they produce sand-like particles that can sit in your pipes and trap other things coming down the drain. The eggshells can also eat through the inner membrane of your garbage disposal, which could gum up the system and cause a jam or leak. 

11. Paint

Whether you’re painting your home or doing a DIY project, it’s important to safely dispose of paint. Putting it down the drain is bad for your pipes and the environment because it can clog them, leach into water, and cause other problems. 

12. Motor Oil 

Pouring used motor oil down your drain is not only bad for the environment but it can also contaminate water supplies in some places. Be sure to put your used oil in a container and take it to a service station or an approved recycling center.