Have you ever not known how to dispose of something so you said, "Eh, I'll just flush it down the toilet!" In those situations, have you ever considered that maybe that's not the best option?
There are actually very few things that are okay to put down the drain, so if you have to ask yourself, "Is it safe to put this down the drain?" the answer is probably, "No." So, while you probably know the stuff that is drain-friendly (human waste, greywater, etc.), let's discuss the items that are NOT safe to dispose of down your drain.
Don't Even Let These Items NEAR a Drain or Garbage Disposal
- Coffee grounds
- Corrosive substances that are either acidic or caustic
- Fats, grease, lard, cooking oil, shortening, or butter and margarine
- Feminine hygiene products
- Flammable or explosive substances
- “Flushable” cat litter
- “Flushable” wipes
- Glass or any other sharp items
- Motor oil, transmission fluids, anti-freeze, or other toxic chemicals
- Nail polish or polish remover
- Paints, solvents, turpentine
- Paper towels, cotton balls, or cotton swabs
- Plastic items
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Produce stickers
- Stringy vegetables
- Tough items
What's So Bad About Draining These Items?
- Clogs and blockages. You're running the risk of clogging your drains with most of these items, and if what you're putting down your drains has nowhere to go it can only overflow back into your home.
- Harm to the environment. Many of these items, namely any chemicals or medications, can also find their way into local water supplies and damage local ecosystems. Even the water treatment plant isn't able to remove every chemical that makes it into the water.
- Damaged pipes. Many chemicals can wear down your pipes over time, meaning you'll eventually have to deal with inconvenient leaks and expensive pipe replacements.
How to Properly Dispose of These Items
- Utilize local resources. Hospitals can usually take back medications, your local city or town government will usually have a special place for you to dispose of toxic chemicals, and there are other places where you can take your kitchen waste to be turned into biofuel.
- Just throw them away like normal garbage. A lot of these items are perfectly safe to throw in the trash. For example, kitty litter will clog your drain but is perfectly fine to throw out along with the rest of your trash.
- Compost. Items like coffee grounds, eggshells, and corn husks will break down naturally, so why not start composting?
One final note... Remember a few weeks ago we discussed where your water goes when it drains? Well, in that article we also touched on the fact that all of the pipes in your home are connected, so don't think you're getting away with something by flushing something down the toilet you know shouldn't put down the sink.
If you're having trouble with your drains and are looking for help, give Ken’s Plumbing a call! You can reach us by phone anytime at (864) 242-5511, or click the banner below to schedule service online. You can also fill out our contact form to ask our professionals even more about what items are or are not safe to throw down the drain!
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