It might seem like an easy solution to just flush everything that you gather in your sink down the drain, but it’s not. There are complicated tubing systems just below the sink that help it to hold water when you need it to and drain when it has to, and adding certain foods that just don’t travel well is a recipe for disaster in pretty much any scenario you can think of.
If you do this, you’ll soon be spending unnecessary amounts of money trying to snake your easy fix back out of the drain pipe.
While there are a myriad of things you shouldn’t be putting down your pipes (you can find a comprehensive list here), we’ll discuss the top 5 things we suggest you NEVER should dispose of down your drain.
1. Starchy, Stringy Vegetables
Foods that have stringy consistencies like celery, onion skins, asparagus or green beans are not good candidates for being disposed of with a garbage disposal. They constantly get wrapped around the disposal blade, and that typically means that you have to go in underneath to get it untangled.
Never put potato peels down the drain, no matter how tempting it is. Vegetables with high starch counts like potatoes are notorious for getting glued together over time and clogging the drain. Don’t take the chance – put these types of vegetable scraps out in your compost pile for fertilizer.
2. Coffee Grounds
It might seem like a good idea to put your coffee grounds down the drain. Logical even. What could be the problem with small little granules that pack together? Might push something out the end and “clean out your system”? Think again. While coffee grounds sometimes help remove the gunk from your disposal pipes, in the long run you’re playing Russian roulette because they sometimes collect in the pipes and cause disastrous clogs.
3. Egg Shells
This is another one of those pieces of refuse that people think are good for their drainpipes, but this is far from the truth. You know that thin membrane on the inside of the shell when you break an egg to use for your breakfast? That membrane gets caught up in your disposal blades, and the little pieces of shell never decompose, leaving a situation much like that of your coffee grounds. Put them in your compost where they belong; they make excellent fertilizer.
4. Fats and Oil from Cooking
This seems obvious, but people are always pouring liquid fats and grease down their drains. It might seem like a great solution to pouring it in a coffee can to dispose of later, but it’s not. Grease eventually solidifies and after you’ve put it down your drain it’s likely to make its new and permanent home where it lands, and no matter how much you pour hot water down there, you’re likely to never get rid of it until you’re cleaning your clogs out later.
5. Starchy Foods like Rice and Pasta
Starchy foods, especially rice and pasta, always expand when they are put in water. In an environment like your drain, this means that each and every time you pour water down your drain, they’re going to expand a little bit more until they eventually clog your pipes or your disposal trap. Like all of the other foods mentioned on the list, these kinds of situations are great for your plumber or pipe cleaning specialist, but not so great for you.
From there it’s common sense
Disposing of food products is mostly common sense. Only put very small quantities of food in a garbage disposal, and if you have a sink without a garbage disposal, you shouldn’t be putting anything at all down your drain. Make sure you’re running water if anything is going down; and also make sure that you’re checking your drain regularly to fight clogs. When it comes down to it, your drains are one of the few necessities you forget exactly how important they are until they fail. So take care of them so that your drains last a long, long time and you’re not forking over large quantities of your hard earned money trying to get your system back to normal.
To find an awesome list of things that ARE safe to dispose of, click here and get all the information you need to never have a problem again.
Fraser Ruthven is the Growth and Strategy Manager for one of the most trusted drainage companies in the Capital – London Drainage Facilities.