Crafts & DIY
10+ Things That You Should Never Put Down Your Drain
You might think you can dump these down the sink, but they are big no-nos.
Ashley Brewer
03.19.18

The drains on our household sinks are things that we often take for granted. We rinse our food, wash our dishes, and do our chores without giving much of a second thought as to what happens to the items that go down the drain.

In reality – there are lots of things that we put down the drain that can wreak serious havoc on your pipes, septic system, local sewer plant, and even the environment.

Little Green Blog
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Little Green Blog

Although city water treatment facilities do a good job of removing many contaminants, chemicals and other toxic products end up in our streams and oceans every day. So, by avoiding dumping these things down your drain, you’re not only saving yourself money and a headache, but you could be saving the environment too!

Here are 12 common foods and household products that shouldn’t end up down the drain.

Keep your pipes clear and our water habitats healthy!

1. Grease

The Cooking Coach 101
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The Cooking Coach 101

Grease is one of the biggest no-nos when it comes to putting things down your drain. Grease can mix with other yucky things in your pipes, causing a massive “fatberg” that can block entire sewer systems. In fact, these types of build-ups cause 47 percent of the up to 36,000 sewer overflows that happen annually in the United States. This includes cooked/melted fat from bacon, meat, poultry, and even gravy.

2. Fats

Healthy Eating
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Healthy Eating

Fats can cause the same damage to your pipes and sewage system that grease causes (the #3 culprit is similar as well). Avoid placing these fatty items down your drain: meat trimmings, uncooked poultry skin, ice cream, cheese, butter, milk, lard, and shortening.

3. Oils

Choose SQ
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Choose SQ

As mentioned above, oils are similar to fats and grease in the way it reacts in your pipes. These oils can include cooking oil, olive oil, salad dressings, condiments, and mayonnaise. Recycle your oils instead.

4. Coffee grounds

Pixabay
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Pixabay

Coffee grounds might seem like a harmless item to rinse down your drain, but most plumbers would disagree. As it turns out, coffee grounds are grease are the two number one causes of blocked and clogged drains.

5. Produce stickers

Wikimedia
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Wikimedia

These tiny stickers often get rinsed down the drain when you’re cleaning fruit, and sadly, they can create unwanted problems. Produce stickers can get stuck in your drain or on wastewater treatment plant pumps and hoses; they can also block screens and filters. If somehow they get past all of that, they end up in our rivers and oceans.

6. Flushable wipes

Class Action Wallet
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Class Action Wallet

“Often, the wipes combine with other materials, like congealed grease, to create a sort of super knot,” The New York Times said. These types of wipes don’t disintegrate like regular toilet paper and cause serious issues in your plumbing, as well as your local water treatment facility.

7. Medications

Pexels
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Pexels

Many people think that pills and medication will dissolve in water, and the fact is – that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, medications and pills are contaminating our water. Studies have shown that medications like ibuprofen and birth control hormones have shown up in our waterways. Instead, dispose of them in a responsible way suggested by the FDA.

8. Eggshells

Flickr
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Flickr

Although egg shells are delicate, even with a garbage disposal, you shouldn’t put them down the sink. They break up and create granular waste that easily sticks to other things in your drain, causing major blockages.

9. Condoms

Pxhere
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Pxhere

Condoms are made of latex, which never dissolves. They also stretch, can get filled with water or waste, and cause a major issue on every level. Many times, condoms make their way out to sea and kill wildlife. So please, just throw them in the trash.

10. Cigarette butts

Free Stock Photos
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Free Stock Photos

The butts of a cigarette are made from a synthetic material that absorbs water and expands. Plus, the material will never dissolve, and they contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate our water supply.

11. Rice and pasta

Flickr
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Flickr

Rice and pasta might seem like a harmless item to put down your drain, but it can actually be a big mess to clean up. Rice and pasta absorb water and expand in size; it can also take quite some time to dissolve, quickly resulting in a clogged and overflowing sink.

12. Flour

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Flickr
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Flickr

Mixing flour and water together creates a gooey, gluey, paste-like texture. This sticky mess can attract other particles and pieces of debris in your pipes and form a huge clog.

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By Ashley Brewer
hi@sbly.com
Ashley Brewer is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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