Most of the time, we take our kitchen sinks for granted. They’re a convenient black hole for whatever waste may come from our cooking and washing up. And despite being regularly full of soap suds, the kitchen sink has the most germs of almost anywhere in the home. So when it gets blocked, it’s both inconvenient and a source of serious microbial exposure.
To make sure you keep your sink blockage-free, we’ve compiled our list of the top six things that should never go down the drain.
Most people would expect coffee grounds to be perfectly fine to put down the drain as they wash out their coffee mugs, and there are even people who will recommend using coffee to absorb odors in your plumbing.
While they might do this, they’ll also combine with other materials to cause blockages.
Plus, why would you waste such a good addition to your compost?
For such a common, innocent-looking item, eggshells are a major problem for drains. The shells can damage garbage disposals and will break into small grains that cause problems further down the line, while the membrane on the insides of the shells are far too sticky for their own good. Trash them or use them in your garden instead—they’re great for keeping slugs away from your plants!
Fats, Grease, and Oils
When it comes to sewer blockages, these are the ‘Big Three’—accounting for almost 50% for all overflows. Fats don’t just come from bits of meat but also include chicken skin, cheese, butter, milk and shortening. Grease can come from cooked or melted fat from any meat, or even gravy, while drain-blocking oils aren’t just those you use for cooking—condiments are a source of them too, especially mayonnaise.
Paint and Cleaners
Whether they’re latex, oil, or water-based paints, they can do serious damage to your drain. Oil-based paints will usually need special disposal, depending on where you live, so check local information. They not only increase your chances of a clog but also pollute the water further down the line.
Don’t mention these pesky products to New York City council. It’s estimated they spend nearly $4 million a year on sorting out problems caused by wet wipes being put down the drain. They’re not only tough, as they’re designed to be, but they combine with grease especially well to make massive ‘super-knots’ they can be nearly impossible to remove. Most wet wipe boxes say they’re flushable—your drain will disagree.
Our water supply is becoming ever more drugged, and throwing medicines down the drain is a serious contributing factor in that. It’s very difficult to remove some drugs from the water system once they’re there, meaning that most tap water will have a small amount of painkillers, antidepressants, and even birth control in it. Don’t add to the problem with your own old or unused medications—take them to a recycling program or throw them in the trash instead.
Heed this advice to keep your drain and plumbing in great shape, but if you do need help, just pick up the phone and give Piper Plumbing a call.