What Can and Can't Go Down the Drain

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What Can and Can't Go Down the Drain

Just because something can go down your drain doesn’t mean that it should. All the drains in a home or office seem capable of withstanding anything you can throw or pour down it, but that’s not true. However resilient your drain system may seem, it is vulnerable to certain items. Your drain works because water can flow freely through the network of pipes in your plumbing system. So, what happens when something goes down the drain that shouldn’t? Does it destroy your system immediately?

When inappropriate items are sent down a drain regularly, a blockage will form that prevents the free flow of water through the plumbing system connected to the drain. Many homeowners forget that garbage disposals are part of the drain system, too, so certain things cannot be sent down your garbage disposal either.

Items You Should Never Allow To Go Down Your Drain

The best thing you can do to avoid plumbing problems is to be careful about the things being sent down the drains in your home. If the wrong things go down your drain, we’ve provided a list to help you understand how to protect your drains.

Avoid sending these items down your sink or garbage disposal:

  • Ground Coffee Beans: Coffee shouldn’t be sent down the drains in your home. Coffee doesn’t dissolve in water, so if grounds are sent down your drain, they remain there unless until they are flushed out. They can cause problems as they attach to the sides of your pipe and eventually form a blockage.
  • Rice, Pasta, and Eggshells: Just like cooking with eggs, eggshells are also binding agents. Eggshells break down in your drain and combine with other materials in your pipes to form clogs. Rice and pasta, even when chopped up by your garbage disposal, these grains pose a threat to your plumbing. They should not be sent down your drain into your pipes because they swell and absorb water. This is especially true of uncooked rice, which can clump together to form a sizable clog that could block your system.
  • Grease, Fats, and Oils: Sending grease, fats, and oils down your drain leaves it susceptible to blockages and clogs. Meat fats and grease are typically liquid when hot, but they congeal when at room temperature. So, even if you think you’re sending a liquid down your garbage disposal, once it’s in your pipes, it returns into a semi-solid state and can lead to blockages.
  • Wipes and Paper Towels: If you flush a paper towel or pieces get into your drain, it can cause a hard-to-treat clog. Due to the water-resistant nature of most paper towels, they will not break down once inside your system. Flushable wipes are also problematic for your plumbing system, and just because something is labeled flushable doesn’t mean they should be introduced into your plumbing system.

Since there are so many things that shouldn’t go down your drain, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you were wondering what’s safe to put down your drain. The answer is easy – liquids. If you can drink an item, it can be disposed of via your drain. Many items cannot be sent down your drain, but any beverage can be poured down your sink. It’s also important to remember that your garbage disposal was never meant to replace your garbage can. Your disposal chops food that’s left behind before washing a dish, so small bits of food are okay for your system, but larger pieces of food can easily present a problem for your drain.

When to Call a Plumbing Professional

We understand that it can be confusing to know when and what to put down your drain. Accidentally putting an item or two down the drain won’t lead to a huge blockage, but if you are worried about your system, call in our plumbing experts at Dovis Plumbing at (954) 516-1078. You can schedule a consultation or use our online contact form to request more information.

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