What Not to Flush Down the Drain

August 7th, 2013

Do you ever really stop to think about everything that goes down the drain in your sink? Perhaps it hasn’t entered your mind, or maybe you know the rules already but occasionally bend them. Whatever the case, there are numerous household items that some people may feel are okay to dump down the drain, but in reality, they can cause major problems – not only by clogging your sink, but by polluting your drinking water as well. Next time you go to put something in the sink, consider these words of advice first:

Certain items belong ONLY in the garbage. To name a few: egg shells, hair (human or otherwise), cigarette butts, stringy vegetables, fruit skins, dental floss, and makeup. Every single one of these items can either cause damage to your garbage disposal or clog your drain – or both. Always throw these items in the trash so they can’t get stuck in your pipes.

When grease cools, your drain clogs. Grease and oils, like cooking oil, motor oil, oil-based cosmetics, and bacon grease can all cause clogging in your drain. Though an oil may be liquid while you’re cooking with it, eventually once it cools, it will congeal, which will cause a complete blockage of your drain.

Just because it’s liquid doesn’t mean it’s safe. A lot of household products contain hazardous chemicals that, if dumped down the drain by enough people over enough time, could contaminate a whole water supply. These include gasoline, cleaning products, antifreeze, paint thinners, leftover paint, and other chemically-based liquids.

Prescriptions should not be flushed. Though you may have expired or unneeded prescription medications laying around, do NOT attempt to flush them down the toilet or wash them away. Just like with chemical products, these medications can get into the water supply. Take these to a pharmacy where they can be disposed of properly.

Use caution when gardening. Pesticides fall under the heavy chemical category in the first place, but fertilizer adds a whole new threat. Algae flourish where there is a lot of sewage runoff, but by adding fertilizer to the mix, this growth can get out of control. Next time you’re out working in the garden, remember not to over-fertilize, and wear gloves so that you don’t have to wash any fertilizer down the drain when you’re finished.

Don’t test the limits of your plumbing. Practice safe disposal of harmful items, and don’t allow yourself to slip into carelessness. Your drain pipes will thank you by not clogging or bursting, and your wallet will thank you by staying full.