What Not to Pour Down Your Drain

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When it comes to the health of your plumbing, it’s important to know what NOT to put down the drain. Many items that go down easily can cause big problems further down the line. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common things that you should avoid pouring down your drain.

What can happen when your drain gets clogged?

When a drain becomes clogged, it can cause a number of problems. Water may begin to back up in the sink, shower, or tub, making it difficult to use. In addition, the build-up of water may lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause respiratory problems. Moreover, clogged drains can attract pests such as rodents and insects. If left untreated, a clogged drain can eventually cause sewage to back up into the home, leading to serious health risks. In addition, you will also have to deal with costly repairs.

What is a fatberg?

Fatbergs are large clumps of congealed fat, wet wipes, and other debris that build up in sewer systems and pipes. They are formed when people pour grease down the drain or flush non-biodegradable items like wet wipes. Fatbergs can cause serious problems for sewer systems because they can block pipes and cause overflows. In some cases, fatbergs have even caused sewage treatment plants to shut down.

What shouldn’t you pour down your drain?

1. Cooking Oil/Grease

Cooking oil is one of the leading causes of clogged drains. When hot oil is poured down the drain, it begins to cool and solidify. As it cools, it sticks to the sides of the pipes and forms a thick residue. Over time, this residue builds up and creates a blockage. Eventually, water and waste will no longer be able to flow through the pipe, causing a backup. In addition to clogging your drain, cooking oil can also damage your pipes. The acidic properties of the oil can eat away at the pipe material, causing leaks and other problems. For these reasons, be sure to dispose of cooking oil in a safe way – such as in a sealed container that can be thrown in the trash.

2. Coffee Grounds

While coffee grounds can be good for your garden, they can actually cause some serious problems for your plumbing. Coffee grounds are relatively coarse, and they can quickly build up in your pipes, causing clogs. Additionally, the natural oils in coffee grounds can adhere to the walls of your pipes, leading to buildup and eventually an even bigger clog. So next time you’re tempted to just dump your used coffee grounds down the drain, think about whether it’s really worth the risk. Chances are, it’s better to just compost them or throw them in the trash.

3. Eggshells

Eggshells may seem like a harmless way to dispose of kitchen waste, but they can actually cause serious problems for your drain. When eggshells are dumped into a drain, they can break into small pieces and become lodged in the pipes. Over time, these pieces will begin to build up, causing clogs and blockages. In addition, eggshells can attract pests like cockroaches and rats, which can then invade your home through the drain. As a result, it’s best to avoid putting eggshells down your drain. If you need to dispose of them, throw them in the garbage instead.

4. Starchy Foods

Starchy foods, like pasta and rice, can expand when they come into contact with water. This can cause problems for your drain, as the expandable starch can end up clogging the pipes. Additionally, starchy water can encourage the growth of bacteria, which can lead to bad odors and clogs. As a result, it’s best to avoid starchy foods when using your sink or disposal. If you do accidentally drop some starchy food down the drain, be sure to flush it with plenty of hot water to help break it up.

5. Paint

Paint consists of a number of different chemicals, including pigments, binders, and solvents. When paint is mixed with water, these chemicals can quickly build up in your drains, causing a blockage. In addition, paint fumes can be harmful to your respiratory system. 

6. Paper Products

Many people assume that paper products are safe to flush down the drain, but this is not the case. Paper towels and wipes, in particular, can cause major problems for your plumbing. Unlike toilet paper, which breaks down relatively easily in water, wipes are made of a synthetic material that does not break down as readily. As a result, wipes can clog your pipes and lead to costly repairs. In addition, paper towels are often treated with chemicals that can be harmful to your drains.

7. Fruits and Vegetables

 The fibers in fruits and vegetables can catch on to drain pipes, eventually causing a blockage. In addition, fruits and vegetables can also attract pests, such as fruit flies and Drain fly larvae. These pests can lay their eggs in your drain, leading to an infestation. 

8. Medication

When medication goes down the drain, it doesn’t just disappear. It enters the sewer system and eventually makes its way into our waterways. Even small traces of medication can have harmful effects on aquatic life. For example, antibiotics can kill off beneficial bacteria, while hormones can disrupt the reproductive process. In addition, the chemicals in medications can damage plant life and contaminate drinking water sources. 

Can you pour anything down the drain if you have a garbage disposal?

If you have a garbage disposal, you might think that you can just dump anything and everything down the drain. But even disposals need to be used with care. While garbage disposals are designed to handle small pieces of food waste, they should not be used as a general-purpose waste disposal system.

What can you pour down your drain?

So, what are some good things to pour down your drain? Water, of course, is the best substance to flush through your pipes. It will help to keep your drains clear and prevent clogs from forming. But there are some other substances that can also be helpful, including:

1. Vinegar

Its acidic nature makes it effective at cutting through grease and grime, and it can also be used to clean drains. When poured down a drain, vinegar can help to break up clogs and remove build-up. In addition, vinegar is a natural disinfectant, so it can also help to kill harmful bacteria. 

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is often used as a natural cleaning agent, and it can also be very effective at clearing drains. When baking soda is combined with vinegar, it creates a foaming reaction that can help to break down stubborn clogs. Additionally, the abrasive nature of baking soda can help to clean away any build-up that has accrued on the walls of the drain. To use baking soda to clear a drain, simply pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes before running hot water down the drain.

3. Boiling Water

If you have a small clog that is located close to the drain, you may be able to clear it with boiling water. The heat from the water can help to break up the clog, making it easier to flush down the drain. To use this method, simply pour a pot of boiling water down the drain and allow it to sit for several minutes. You may need to repeat this process a few times before the clog is completely cleared. Just be careful not to pour boiling water down a drain that is cracked or otherwise damaged, as this could cause the pipe to break. 

4. Salt

Salt can also be used to clear minor drain clogs. The abrasive nature of salt can help to break up the clog, making it easier to flush down the drain. Salt works by dissolving grease and hair, which can clog your drains. In addition, salt helps to break down organic matter, such as food waste, that can cause build-up in your pipes. Best of all, salt is a natural disinfectant, so it helps to kill bacteria and other organisms that can cause drain problems. Simply pour a handful of salt down your drain once a week, and you’ll notice a big difference in the way your drains function. To use this method, pour half a cup of salt down the drain, followed by hot water. Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes before running hot water down the drain.

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