Looking for ways to avoid clogged drains? Consider not what you should use to clear the drain, but what should never, ever make its way into your pipes at all. The following items (6 of them!) should stay out at all costs:
Yes, pouring hot grease into your drain seems like a great idea when you have nowhere else to put it, but DON’T. When grease hardens – and it will – it can clog sewage pipes and even force raw sewage back into your home. What’s the alternative? Keep grease in a glass or plastic container and bring it to a full service recycling center when full.
Fibrous fruits and vegetables (and their peels)
Potato peels, zucchini peels, egg shells, and any sort of vegetable or fruit that has a hard core or thick shell that requires peeling can cause major clogs and pipe damage if tossed down the drain. Even if you have a garbage disposal installed, limit use to small, soft items.
Used motor oil
Your sink should never be a dumping ground for chemical waste, including motor oil. A single gallon of motor oil can contaminate a million gallons of water, so take this fluid, along with your kitchen grease, to a full-service recycling center. Bonus: Do your part by bringing your car in for repairs at a local business that also recycles used oil.
Medicines past their expiration date should not end up in a watery grave. Unless the bottle specifically green lights flushing the contents, you should instead dispose of old medicines in the trash or at a medicine disposal facility. Medicines contain toxic chemicals and can poison your water supply.
Some pharmacies partner with companies that process your old prescriptions properly, and many of those companies will allow you to return your old pills to them directly. Seek out these facilities in your community and save your water supply.
Fertilizers and pesticides
Filling your water supply with excess nutrients contaminates this precious resource. Avoid dumping leftover lawn chemicals down your household drains, both to preserve the quality of local H20 and to save your pipes from chemical breakdown.
Expert tip: Remember that when excess lawn treatment chemicals are picked up by rainwater runoff from your yard and deposited into waterways, the nutrient overload can cause algae to grow and remove oxygen from the water, eventually killing water-dwelling life forms whose existence improves water quality. Avoid by simply giving your yard what it needs, when it needs it.
Finally, use your common sense. It’s tempting to define “down the drain” as “gone forever,” but in reality, you should never toss anything down the drain that you wouldn’t want to deal with again. Chemicals, cigarette butts, tampons/sanitary pads, human or pet hair, and diapers can poison your drinking water and clog your pipes. Save yourself the hassle and potential danger by reserving your drain for water, cooking-related liquids, and little else.
Looking to keep your drains clean and clear? Consider the effects of chemicals and refuse on both your kitchen or bathroom sink as well as your water supply. Good practices preserve both drinking and washing water as well as the integrity of your pipes.