As we ring in the new year, it’s important to remember some of the things we should avoid putting down our drains. Here are five items that should NEVER go down any drain:
1. Paper towels. Paper towels are one of the worst culprits, as they swell up and stick together in your pipes. This can create all kinds of problems for you throughout the year. We put this first because it’s one of the most common items we see people flush down the toilet. And we understand, especially since there have been times these past few years where toilet paper is “scarce,” you may feel the need to use and flush an alternative like paper towels or napkins. Even Kleenex is not supposed to be flushed, but isn’t as harmful as the other two.
2. “Flushable” wipes. Don’t be fooled by companies that say their flushable wet wipes are okay to go down the toilet. These wipes don’t break apart in water like toilet paper does, making them a nightmare for your pipes. They can also damage your septic system. In fact … over time, they actually threaten the whole city’s sewer system! Why? Because flushing non-biodegradable materials can eventually create a giant “mass.” When things like wet wipes and paper towels combine with fats, oils, & grease coming down everyone’s kitchen sinks, it forms something that’s been called a “fatberg.” These city fatbergs in sewers really create a problem for waste management, if they don’t create a problem for you first … so let’s not!
3. Fats, oils, and grease (FOG). Speaking of these three things! We get that people already know better than to dump bacon grease down the sink, but we need to remind you that this also includes cooking oils, salad dressings, butter, margarine, and so on. These substances will harden over time and create clogs in your drain. Instead of dumping a pan or plate with this residue down your sink, keep a jar in your fridge to collect it until you can take it out to the garbage.
4. Lots of other foods! Surprisingly, the list of food and food-like items to put down your drain doesn’t end with fats, oils, and grease. For example, coffee grounds are a no-no because they create a sludgy residue that can eventually clog your pipes. Pasta and rice should also be kept out of the sink, as they swell up (same as when you cook them in water) and create a mass in your pipes. Anything that gets glue-y or clumpy when combined with water needs to say away from the drain, such as flour or bread.
5. Drain cleaner. We know, we know. It’s tempting to use that bottle of Drano when your sink is starting to back up. But please resist the temptation! This stuff eats away at your pipes, and a chemical toilet clog remover can even make a crack in a porcelain toilet.
Instead, call Ballard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, so that you don’t throw MONEY down the drain! Even better, for the month of January, you can get $25 off any plumbing repair.