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Protect Your Pipes: 8 Things You Shouldn’t Flush or Dump Down Your Drain

Maintaining a functional plumbing system is crucial for the smooth operation of any household. Yet, many homeowners inadvertently contribute to clogged drains and sewer backups by disposing of inappropriate items down their sinks and toilets. From seemingly innocuous substances to common household products, certain materials can wreak havoc on your plumbing infrastructure over time. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll highlight the top eight things you should never put down a drain and explore why these items pose a threat to your plumbing system’s health.

Kitty Litter
While it may seem convenient to flush used kitty litter down the toilet, this practice can have dire consequences for your plumbing. Most kitty litters are designed to clump when exposed to moisture, making them prone to forming stubborn blockages within your pipes. Additionally, clay-based litter can expand when wet, further exacerbating clogs and potentially causing extensive damage to your sewage system. Instead of flushing kitty litter, dispose of it in the trash to prevent costly plumbing repairs down the line.

Coffee Grounds
Coffee lovers, beware: disposing of coffee grounds down the drain can spell trouble for your plumbing. Despite their seemingly innocuous appearance, coffee grounds have a knack for clumping together and creating blockages in your pipes. Over time, accumulated coffee grounds can congeal with other debris, forming stubborn obstructions that impede the flow of water and lead to clogged drains. To avoid plumbing woes, dispose of coffee grounds in the trash or use them for composting purposes instead.

Grease or Oil
Cooking grease and oil are notorious for wreaking havoc on plumbing systems. When poured down the drain in liquid form, grease and oil may appear harmless at first. However, as they cool and solidify within your pipes, they can create sticky, viscous obstructions that obstruct the flow of water. Over time, these accumulations can lead to severe blockages and even burst pipes, resulting in costly repairs and potential water damage to your home. To prevent grease-related plumbing issues, always dispose of cooking grease and oil in the trash or collect them in a designated container for proper disposal.

Produce Stickers
Those small, innocuous stickers adorning fruits and vegetables may seem harmless, but they can spell trouble for your plumbing system if accidentally washed down the drain. Constructed from non-biodegradable materials like plastic and paper, produce stickers are notorious for causing blockages and impeding the flow of water in pipes and sewer lines. To avoid plumbing mishaps, be sure to remove produce stickers before rinsing fruits and vegetables in the sink, and dispose of them in the trash instead.

Paper Towels
While toilet paper is designed to disintegrate quickly in water, paper towels are a different story altogether. Unlike toilet paper, which is specifically engineered for safe flushing, paper towels are more durable and absorbent, making them prone to causing clogs and blockages in your plumbing system. Even “flushable” paper towels can pose a risk, as they may not break down as quickly as toilet paper and can accumulate in your pipes over time. To prevent plumbing headaches, always dispose of paper towels in the trash rather than flushing them down the toilet.

Household Fluids Such as Cleaners
Many common household fluids, including cleaning agents, detergents, and chemical solvents, should never be disposed of down the drain. While these substances may seem harmless, they can contain harsh chemicals and toxins that can damage your plumbing system and harm the environment. Moreover, certain chemicals can react with other substances in your pipes, leading to corrosion, leaks, and other plumbing issues. To safeguard your plumbing and the environment, always dispose of household fluids according to local regulations and guidelines.

Flushing expired or unused medications down the toilet may seem like a convenient disposal method, but it can have detrimental consequences for your plumbing system and the ecosystem. Pharmaceutical compounds can contaminate water sources and harm aquatic life, posing serious environmental and public health risks. Instead of flushing medications down the drain, take advantage of medication take-back programs or consult with your local pharmacy or healthcare provider for safe disposal options.

Feminine Hygiene Products
Despite their widespread use, feminine hygiene products like tampons and sanitary pads should never be flushed down the toilet. Unlike toilet paper, which disintegrates quickly in water, these products are designed to absorb moisture and retain their shape, making them prone to blockages and backups in your plumbing system. To prevent plumbing issues and maintain optimal sewer flow, always dispose of feminine hygiene products in the trash or use designated sanitary bins.

Safeguarding your plumbing system from clogs and blockages requires diligence and conscientious disposal practices. By avoiding the eight items outlined in this guide and adopting responsible waste management habits, you can protect your pipes, prevent costly repairs, and ensure the long-term functionality of your home’s plumbing infrastructure. Remember: when it comes to your drains, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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At Everest Plumbing in Greenville, SC, we make burst pipe repair easy and keep your home and family safe from further damage. Call us today at (864) 610-2336 to schedule your service with one of our trained professionals.


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