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The Worst Things You Could Put Down the Drain

Four Things You Should Never Put Down the Drain

It can be difficult, but keeping as many non-water items out of your drains as possible can have a profound effect on the efficacy of your pipes in the future. Many clogs are preventable, just by making some simple behavioral changes in your kitchen or bathroom.

Here’s what should never go down your drains at home.


Believe it or not, this includes chemical drain cleaners that you may find in the store. Similarly, other chemicals like industrial chemicals, paint, cleaners, and more should stay out of the drain. Consult with the manufacturer to find the best way to dispose of these items.

Are chemical drain cleaners safe for pipes?

While they can be a quick fix when your drain is slow, they will, over time, cause corrosion in your pipes. This corrosion can leave you more vulnerable to a leak.

Even cleaners that claim to remove blockages altogether should be avoided. They may be telling the truth, and you may be able to clear a clog with one of those cleaners. But it’s often the higher-grade versions that actually work, and those will wreak havoc on your pipes over time. Trust us; it’s much cheaper to have a professional clean out a severe clog than to have them replace pipes because of a leak.

Food Items

It’s tempting when cleaning dishes just to let everything slide into the drain. But putting food down the drain is a surefire way to end up with a clog. Even though it may fit down the drain, the bulky shape can cause it to get lodged later down the pipeline. As more and more food builds up, all water flow will stop. Plus, if food gets stuck in the drain, it can go bad and cause an odor throughout the kitchen.

What foods should you avoid putting into the garbage disposal?

  • Coffee grounds
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • String vegetables
  • Sauce

To avoid a potential clog, wipe off plates with a paper towel into the garbage before putting them in the sink. This is also good advice for your dishwasher, which will perform better when there are no food blockages even though equipped with a filter.

Grease & Oil

Though also considered food, these items deserve their category because of their threat to pipes. Similar to chemicals, grease, fat, and oil can both cause clogs and corrode your pipes.

Ever notice how bacon grease will harden when left to cool? Fats like bacon grease and butter are liquid when heated, then turn solid when cooled. This can be an issue when they get stuck in your pipes. Though they may be liquid when you pour them down the drain, they will likely not stay that way. If grease gets caught in the pipe, it can clump and exacerbate any lingering clogs.

How do you properly dispose of cooking oil?

Instead, there are two options for getting rid of oil and grease. If the oil is hot, either wait for it to cool or pour it carefully into a metal container (leftover cans are great for this) and set it aside. When the container is cool enough to handle, dispose of the oil with your garbage.

Paper Products

Though this may seem like a given, it’s important to mention. If you’re washing off fruit and remove the sticker, make sure it goes in the garbage. Even something that small can get stuck in your pipes and cause a clog.

Are flushable wipes safe for sewer systems?

If you use “flushable wipes” and have been flushing them down the toilet, stop. These wipes are not actually flushable and don’t break down as toilet paper does. They will clog your sewer line and cause damage that is not cheap to fix.

Plumbing Expertise that Outweighs the Cost

When you want a clog removed promptly and professionally, go with the team at Red White & Blue HVAC and Plumbing. With over 60 years of combined experience serving Corona, CA and surrounding areas, our plumbers are equipped to find the right solution for your home. Call us today at (888) 959-8303 to set up an appointment, or click below to schedule a service online.

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