Items You Never Want to Wash Down Your Drain
Whether you are washing dishes, your hands or cleaning something up around the house, the sink seems to be a common way that people dispose of all sorts of dirt and grime and while many things are safe for disposal down a drain, it’s important to take precautions to prevent items you never want to wash down your drain from being disposed of improperly.
If you treat your drains like the garbage dump, you will soon begin to have problems with clogs, foul odors and even worse problems that can be expensive to repair. (Source: AnytimePlumbing.net) Be sure to check this list to make sure you aren’t washing potential dangers down your drain.
Eggshells: Whether you have a garbage disposal or not, egg shells should never be dumped down the drain. When they combine with other waste, they can form major clogs that can be difficult to remove.
Produce Stickers: Those tiny stickers you find on bananas and apples are coated with adhesive glue and are often made of plastic that can get stuck in pipes and cause major clogs.
Grease: Grease is one of the most common substances that people haphazardly pour down the drain. This is one of the biggest mistakes that a person can make with their drain and should be avoided. Grease includes melted fats from bacon, sausage, poultry, hamburger and other meats and once it goes down the drain it can harden and cause sewer blockage.
Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds, especially when combined with grease can be a horrible combination down the drain. Coffee grounds alone can cause serious drain blockage, so it is best to avoid washing them down the sink drain.
Oils: Whether it is salad oil, cooking oil or even mayonnaise, never pour oils down the drain.
Fat: Shortening, butter, chicken or turkey skin, milk and other fats should not be poured down the drain. Milk is not often considered a fat by people, but the fats in the milk can cause harm to your drains.
Condoms: Condoms are flushed down the toilet or even washed down a sink drain more often than people would believe. They should never, under any circumstance, be flushed down a drain. These items do not dissolve, and they will stay inside your drain or in the sewer for years. They will also cause clogs. The best place for you to dispose of a condom is in the garbage can.
Paper Towels: Due to their thickness, paper towels need to be tossed into the trash can rather than flushed down the commode where they have been known to cause clogs.
Flushable Wipes: Yes, they can be flushed, but take precautions because even flushable wipes have been known to clog a toilet. They don’t disintegrate like toilet paper does and they can wreak havoc on a sewer system.
Motor Oil and Other Fluids: If it goes in the car, it should never be poured down a drain. Motor oil, anti-freeze, transmission fluid and other car fluids can destroy a drain system, so keep them away. Contact your local landfill to find out where motor oil and other fluids can be disposed of in your city.
Paint: Let’s face it, the sink is a comfortable location to clean paint brushes and paint pans after you paint a picture, a wall or a piece of furniture. If you are painting your bathroom or other room in your home, the sink is also the last place you should ever clean your paint brushes or pans. Oil paint needs to be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility while latex paint needs to be disposed of away from drains or water sources. Check with your local city management office to find out what your local ordinances for paint disposal are.
Medication: Many cities today have return days where residents can go drop off unused medications. Many pharmacies will also take unused medications for disposal. Medications are unfortunately dumped down the drain where they eventually land in rivers and streams where they can contaminate water, kill fish and wildlife and even cause illness in humans. When you need to dispose of old medications, never flush them down the toilet. Instead, contact your local pharmacy or police department to find out where you can safely dispose of the medication.
Cleaning Products: Unless you are using 100% natural, safe for the environment cleaning products, steer clear of dumping them down the drain as they can be dangerous to water systems.
It’s a good idea to clean your drains with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and hot water once a week to help keep them clean and to remove buildup. Keeping your pipes clean by not dumping the wrong items down them and by maintaining them with a weekly cleaning regimen is a good way to help avoid an expensive plumbing repair and keep things running smoothly.
Guest Contributor, Tom Masters