You might think that a crushed up eggshell will go down the drain smoothly, but it actually is causing blockage. The sharp, hard edges of the shell will collect other things coming down your drain and eventually cause a clog.
When you pour grease down the drain it sticks to the inside of your pipes and the pipes in the street. This can cause the entire pipe to become clogged over time. Other oil-based products are also dangerous to pour down your drain, such as cooking oil, salad dressings, butter, mayonnaise and fat. If needed, make sure to let the grease cool first, then dispose of it in the trash instead.
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Flour coagulates when mixed with water. This can clog your pipes by coating the edges and catching other bits of disposables trying to make their way down. Always throw your flour, whether mixed with water or not, in the garbage.
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If you flush your unused or expired medication or crush it up and pour it down the drain, those chemicals will be leaked back into your drinking water and the environment. Always make sure to dispose of unwanted medication at your local pharmacy, which will have access to medical waste disposal units.
Many times people wash their fruit and forget to take the sticker off; it falls in the sink and you eventually just let it go down the drain. Peel them off before you wash your fruit and dispose of it properly. Those little stickers don’t dissolve in water and can clog your pipes and block screens and filters or pumps at the water treatment plant.
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Coffee grounds build up in your pipes and cause blockage. Plumbers say they are the most common cause of drain problems. You should always dispose of coffee grounds in your trashcan or use them for composting (don’t forget the coffee grounds at the bottom of your mug).
You can also use your leftover coffee grounds around the house!
Products claiming to be “flushable”
Products claiming to be “flushable” such as certain brands of cat liter and wipes still create a high risk of clogged drains. Cat liter is still highly absorbent after you flush it and toxins from cat feces may get leaked into the ocean and harm marine life. Flushable wipes also don’t break down properly and often get caught on other things creating large clots in pipes.
Condoms are made of latex, which doesn’t disintegrate in water, so never, ever flush them. Throw them in the trash or dispose of them at a waste treatment center. If you flush them, they may end up in the ocean and marine life often mistakes them for food and chokes.
Even though most cleaning products are liquid, they should never be poured down the drain because they contain harmful chemicals. Many contain phosphates, antibacterial agents, and other compounds that aren’t removed at the water treatment plant and can be hazardous to the ecosystem.
The only paper product that should go down your drain is toilet paper. It has been especially designed to break down and disintegrate in water. Always dispose of other paper products such as paper towels, cotton balls, and feminine hygiene products in the trash. These items are extremely absorbent and will easily clog your pipes.
It okay to let some food run down the drain, but a lot of it expands when mixed with water and can lead to a block. Pasta and rice are two foods to watch out for. Also, pastas are made with flour, which will become sticky and catch other things in your pipes.
Similar to cleaning products, paint should never be poured down the drain even though it’s a liquid. It has the potential to pollute the environment and cause your drain to clog. Many towns have hazardous waste facilities where you can safely dispose of your old or unused paint.
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Originally published as 12 Things You Should Never, Ever Pour Down the Drain on ReadersDigest.com.