It might seem easy and convenient to put things down your drain or garbage disposal, but many foods and products can cause major problems for your pipes as well as your health and even the environment. Here is your guide to what can and can’t go down the drain and garbage disposal.
What Shouldn’t Go Down the Drain?
Here are some of the top items that you should not put down the drain:
- Grease/fat/oil: These thick liquids are major culprits of drain clogs. They act as a binder that many other foods can get stuck to, and they form sticky globs that will coat your pipes and prevent proper drainage.
- Eggshells: Eggshells are one food item that can easily get stuck in grease and oils when they’re ground into bits by the garbage disposal. They can also stick to the blades of the disposal, which can cause the blades to stop working as effectively.
- Coffee grounds: Even though they’re small, coffee grounds are a leading cause of clogs in kitchen pipes, as they can easily clump together and lead to blockages.
- Paper towels: Paper towels are designed to be absorbent, which actually makes them more likely to clog your pipes, as they will retain water rather than dissolving quickly.
- Medication: Many people choose to crush up their expired or unused medications and put them down the drain. While crushed medication isn’t as likely to form a clog, the chemicals can leak into the environment and even your drinking water.
- Pasta: Pasta expands when it comes in contact with water, which means it can cause clogs in your drain or garbage disposal.
- Bones: Bones are too hard for the drain and will not dissolve. They will also likely get stuck in your garbage disposal and jam the flywheel.
What Is Safe to Put Down the Drain?
Most consumable liquids, such as milk, tea and soda, are safe to put down the drain, and some food scraps, like those from most fruits and vegetables, can be safely put down the garbage disposal. As a rule of thumb, avoid putting larger, firmer items down the drain, such as large bones and fish shells.
What to Do If Something Gets Stuck in Your Sink or Garbage Disposal
If something does get stuck in your sink or garbage disposal, you can first try flushing it out with hot water. You can also try using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to dissolve the clog. If that doesn’t work, try using a plunger to remove the item. If you’re comfortable cleaning your sink’s P-trap, you can unfasten the pipe to see if you’re able to reach and remove the clog that way.
The safest and most effective way to remove a stubborn clog in your drain or garbage disposal is to contact a professional for help. At Dick Ray Master Plumber, we have the knowledge and experience to find and remove your clog fast. To schedule an appointment, simply submit our online appointment request form.