11 Things You Should Never Put Down the Drain

What should you never put down the drain? Potato peels, cooking oils, and coffee grounds are just a few items to avoid.

We’ve all made the mistake of clogging a drain.

Whether you sent too much food into the garbage disposal at once or tried to flush cotton balls down the toilet, everybody has accidentally clogged a drain in their home at one point or another. Since drain clogs are one of the most common plumbing problems, we’ve compiled a list of 14 things you should never put down the drain – ever! 

What Should You Never Put Down your Drain?

1. Oils and Fats

Olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil – whatever the source, any type of cooking oil is horrible for drains. Oil is notorious for clogging drains, with 47% of the plumbing buildups throughout the U.S. being attributed to oil and fat clogs. 

2. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds may seem harmless, but most plumbers agree that they’re another common cause of kitchen sink backups. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, start disposing of coffee grounds in your trashcan rather than the garbage disposal. 

3. “Flushable” Anything

The word “flushable” has been under review from city boards and media agencies for years, after the very public sewer clogs throughout the world commonly caused by “flushable” goods such as baby wipes and cotton balls. 

4. Egg Shells

These seemingly harmless bits of food are known to mix with other waste items in your drain system, potentially creating balls of waste that clog the drain and must be removed manually. 

5. Hard Foods

Any hard foods (such as fruit pits and uncooked veggies) should never be placed in any kitchen drain, even when it has a garbage disposal unit attached. 

6. Potato Peels

Potato peels have a nasty habit of bunching together in garbage disposal units and clogging the drain system. Instead of sending potato peels into your sink, always throw them in the trash instead. 

7. Non-Food Items

You’d be amazed how many non-food items (such as pennies and kid’s toys) wind up in a home’s drainage system. If you’re having problems with your garbage disposal, check for any obvious blockage by unplugging the system first then checking for any non-food items sitting in the drain.

8. Animal Bones

This should be obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning – animal bones (from chicken, beef, pork, or fish) should never be sent into a garbage disposal.

9. Flour

When dry, flour is a powdery substance that seems as if it could be put down the drain without any problems. But once it’s mixed with water, flour morphs into a sticky mess that capable of causing serious drainage issues.  

10. Massive Amounts of Food

When feeding food into a garbage disposal, it’s important not to overload the drain with too much substance all at once. Instead, send small amounts of food into the garbage disposal at a time, giving the system enough time in between to break down the matter before adding more. 

11. Hair

When introduced to a drain (whether it’s a sink, tub, or toilet), hair knots together and creates a partial blockage. Once a clog has formed, it often requires a snake (or more extensive plumbing work) to remove it. 

The best way to keep your home (or apartment’s) plumbing system working well for decades is to practice preventative maintenance. Although water drains and sewage lines are all used for different things, they can all become equally clogged if the wrong substances are introduced.

To prevent plumbing emergencies, the 11 items listed above should never be put down the drain. If you’re currently experiencing a clogged drain or sewage line, contact our staff at 719-232-4720 to schedule an appointment. 

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