Need to get rid of something? If that something is liquid or even slightly
solid, flushing it down the drain may seem like one of the quickest and
easiest ways to put it out of sight and out of mind. While you may not
think what you’re doing is harmful in any way since the sewers will
promptly take it away, you might actually be doing substantial harm to
the municipal sanitary system and your own plumbing. Here are a few things
you should never dispose of by putting them down the drain.
Your garbage disposal may seem like the safest way to dispose of solid
objects like food waste. However, your disposal can’t handle everything
you throw at it, and in fact they really can only handle solids that are
somewhat soft. This means you should avoid using a garbage disposal for
Fats and oils: These will go through your disposal without an issue, but as the temperature
drops in your pipes, fats and oils tend to congeal into a sticky solid
that can become lodged in your plumbing. Over time, this can build up,
limiting pipe flow and creating a slow or blocked drain.
Egg shells: While these seemingly-brittle objects might not appear to be that big
of a deal, egg shells are actually extremely hard on your garbage disposal
because they become remarkably tough in small pieces. They also have a
tendency to stick to food and other solid waste, encouraging clog formation.
Coffee grounds: Some people believe that coffee grounds can actually be good for your
plumbing, but in our experience they actually wind up doing more harm
than good, particularly when your plumbing already is lined with grease
or other fatty oils.
Flour: Flour and water combined make a dough-like substance that sticks like
glue to your pipes and tends to grab everything that passes. This means
putting flour down your drain can significantly increase clogs.
Flushable products have dramatically improved both sanitary conditions,
but not all products are this way, and many of them are actually absorbent
or biodegrade slowly, doing lots of damage.
Tampons: Feminine hygiene products are remarkably tough, built to withstand significant
use, extremely absorbent, and in many cases expand to fit the exact shape
of a small pipe. When this is the case, they almost immediately cause
a severe clog.
Wipes: Baby, lotion, makeup, moisture, or even cleaning wipes are becoming a
popular item to simply flush away. However, they are also designed to
be remarkably tough, and they tend to ball up, creating a pipe blockage
Kitty litter: Many people choose to keep their cat’s litter box in the restroom,
where it can be easily emptied. However, most kitty litter is designed
to clump around waste for easy spotting and removal, which means it tends
to stick together when wet. Throwing it down the toilet is a sure-fire
way to get it wet, which means it will likely stick together and easily
clog your drain.
Sinks, Showers & Tubs
Sinks, showers, and bathtubs all have sensitive drains as well, particularly
because they are extremely narrow in most cases. This makes them perhaps
the most prone to clogging, and some of the toughest to fix when they do.
If you have a clogged drain, let the expert Bartlett plumbers at Smith’s
Plumbing Services fix it for you with our more than 10 years of experience!
Call us today at (901) 290-1110 to
schedule a service.
Hair: For showers and bathtubs, keeping hair out of the drain can be a tall
order, particularly with heavy usage. While a couple strands isn’t
usually a big deal, over time a few here and a few there can build into
a major pipe blockage that makes your drain slow before eventually clogging
completely. They can also be a major hassle to repair.
Medicine: It might seem like a good idea to dispose of old, expired medicine by flushing
it away so it can’t do harm to anyone. However, this is extremely
bad for the municipal sanitation system, and could even impact the water
supply. Ask a doctor what to do with old medical waste, as it must be
disposed of with caution.