9 Items You Shouldn’t Try to Put Down Your Drains
It’s tempting to dump household wastes down the drain. Sure, it would be so easy to just pour that used motor oil down the sink. But, in the end, the convenience will cost you. Discarding some types of waste in your toilets, garbage disposal and sinks can damage your plumbing system. And fixing that damage gets expensive very quickly. Don’t believe us? Flush things that aren’t meant to be flushed and you could have a backup or overflow on your hands. Washing items or liquids down a sink can have similar consequences in the form of slow, clogged drains.
Even your garbage disposal is not immune. Just because the disposal is capable of chewing up food waste doesn’t mean it can handle anything. There are limits to your garbage disposal’s capabilities, and trying to dispose of items improperly can damage your disposal but cause costly backups and clogs.
Here’s a look at 10 common household products that should never be flushed or washed down a drain.
1. Disposable Diapers and Feminine Hygiene Products.
Never flush a disposable diaper or sanitary napkin down the toilet. These items are simply too big for your plumbing systems pipes to move. They frequently become stuck and can’t be dislodged with a plunger. In many cases, you’ll need a professional to disassemble your pipes and remove the item. This sometimes entails digging up buried pipes in your yard which not only destroys your lawn, but cost a pretty penny.
2. Hair and Dental Floss
Some hair will go down the drain. It’s inevitable. But don’t clean out your hairbrush and dispose of the wad of hair in the drain. And never put dental floss in the toilet or sink. These stringy items will eventually get tangled together and create a clog that no amount of chemical drain opener will clear.
3. Cooking Fats, Oils and Grease (FOGs)
After cooking a delicious pound of bacon, you’ve got a lot of grease left over. Just dump it down the sink, right? Not if you want your drains to remain open and clear.
When you pour any sort of grease down the drain, it congeals as it cools. That means you’ll have a greasy lining on your pipes which slows the rate of water and potentially causes clogged drains. Plus, when FOGs are introduced to public sewer systems, they mix with solid particulates, which damages public infrastructure and makes it more expensive to treat wastewater.
4. Paper Towels, Cotton Balls and Swabs
Unlike toilet paper, paper towels, cotton balls and cotton swabs are not designed to disintegrate in water. Plus, they’re absorbent which means they get heavier and harder to move once they’re wet. Flushing them down the toilet will block up plumbing lines and/or lead to problems with septic systems. Not only is it an expensive problem to fix, but it’s also pretty disgusting.
5. Automotive Fluids like Motor Oil, Transmission Fluid and Antifreeze
Automotive fluids, including windshield cleaner, can easily enter streams, lakes and rivers when dumped down a drain. Not only can these chemicals end up in a public water supply, but they’re dangerous for the wildlife that lives in natural waterways and oceans. Instead of pouring out, transfer these fluids to an old bottle or jar and dispose of properly.
Whether an over-the-counter med or prescription, never flush medications down the toilet or pour down a sink drain. Public water filtration systems cannot remove medications from water meaning those meds can be transferred to you via tap water.
7. Coffee Grounds
Don’t ever put coffee grounds down the sink or garbage disposal unless you want clogged plumbing. Any plumber will tell you coffee grounds are one of the most common culprits for clogged pipes.
8. Egg Shells, Bones or Foods with Hard Edges
Even though your garbage disposal is capable of chewing up egg shells and small bones from poultry or fish, they can damage the disposal and clog up your plumbing. Always throw them in the trash.
9. Stickers and Band-Aids
Anything with adhesive can cause problems or your plumbing system. Even though little stickers that come on produce can collect in your plumbing system’s pipes and create clogs and blockages. Therefore, never flush a Band-Aid and keep stickers from going down the drain as well.