OK, friends of Mr. Expert Plumbing, today’s post on the worst things to put down your drain is admittedly a bit self-serving.
Imagine this: It’s Thanksgiving day (it’s creeping up on us, you know), and you’re just sitting down for a lovely meal with your family. The turkey’s perfectly roasted, and everyone’s enjoying one another’s company (so far). You’ve just buttered one your grammy’s famous parker house rolls and gravied your potatoes. Aunt Fran has just launched into her annual political rant and half the table’s biting their tongue… when your cell phone rings. Who’s calling you?
Well, in our case, it’s very likely to be a customer who’s in near-panic mode because their kitchen sink is completely stopped up and, “There’s nowhere to drain the green beans and our Thanksgiving dinner is nearly ruined and we’ve tried everything and can you please, please, please come out and unclog the stupid drain? Please?!”
OK, OK: Maybe those calls aren’t quite that dramatic—but we do get a lot of emergency calls on holidays. Extra people in the house plus added distractions plus a ton more cooking can easily result in angry plumbing. Now here’s where the self-serving part comes in:
We’d really rather NOT hear from you on Thanksgiving.
We really like you, of course, but we’d 100% rather watch the game and overdose on whipped cream than unclog your kitchen sink. Don’t get us wrong: We’ll send a truck out if you need us. That’s just how we are! But we’re guessing you’d rather not see us that day either.
So, for everyone’s sake, let’s have a quick lesson in the worst things to put down your drain. We’re sharing this list with you now—several weeks before the holiday season—juuuuust in case you’re already in the habit of swishing this stuff down your sink.
If you’re putting any of the following down the drain, stop.
- Grease. So, you’ve just fried up a pound of bacon for brunch. Resist every temptation to pour that grease down the drain! Grease coats your pipes and turns into sludge, which traps food debris. Over time, that stuff will build up and completely stop up the works.
- Cooking oils, including butter and margarine. Avoid rinsing cooking oils, salad dressings, butter, margarine, and mayo down the sink. Those products have the same binding effect as grease, and because they’re water-resistant, they will not rinse away.
- Coffee grounds. Yes, coffee grounds are small, but they can create a huge plumbing mess. Compost them or trash them, but do not rinse them down the sink.
- Egg shells. Many homeowners believe the myth that eggs shells will “sharpen” their garbage disposal blades and help push food debris through pipes. Here’s the truth: Garbage disposals don’t have blades, and egg shell membranes tend to get wrapped around the grinding mechanism and damage the unit. Even if the disposal manages to obliterate the shells, those tiny little pieces will cling to any sludge build-in your pipes, contributing to clogs. Again, compost them or trash them.
- Flour. Know the recipe for glue? Flour + water. Unless you’d purposefully pour Elmer’s down your kitchen sink (That is not a dare!), you shouldn’t rinse flour down the drain, either.
- Pasta and rice. Pasta and rice can absorb a surprising amount of water. Over time, a small amount of the stuff can expand to the diameter of your pipe, creating an impressive dam.
- Potato peels. Know how flour + water = glue? Same-same with the starch found in potato peels.
- Produce stickers. Please peel those cute little stickers off your fruit before you wash it. Paper doesn’t dissolve quickly, so those stickers can become accidental contributors to major blockages.
- Fruit pits. Why anyone would try to send a peach or plum pit down the drain is a mystery to us, but we’ve seen it many times. Your garbage disposal isn’t meant to grind something like that, and if you send enough of those things down the drain, you’ll definitely have a clog.
- Citrus peels. Sure your drain smells lovely when you sic your garbage disposal on a lemon or orange peel, but those things can contribute to blockages.
- Paper towels and wet wipes. We know what you’re thinking: “Why would someone put a paper towel down the kitchen sink?” We have no idea—but people do it! Paper towels and wet wipes might be marketed as biodegradable, but they take a long time to disintegrate.
We’ll get you unclogged.
If you have a plumbing disaster brewing, we can help! Give us a call today!