Drains are Not Dumpsters

These things should never be flushed or sent into your sink disposalPlumbing is magical.  Rather than having to take out the garbage more often, liquids and anything that can fit in a drain can be flushed out to the sewer.  Except that’s not true at all. It’s a shame, but just because something looks flushable (or even claims it is) does not mean it’s good for your drains and plumbing.  In fact, your system already has its hands full dealing with every-day items like grease residue on plates or hair that slips down drains.  There’s no reason to add to the system stress by treating your plumbing like a landfill.

Best Practices for Sinks

Garbage disposals have led many to believe that the sink is a second trash can which doesn’t need to be emptied.  Unfortunately, this is not true.  We’ll need to continue waiting for easy home disposal for all garbage without needing to take things to the curb.  For now, it’s important to remember what you can and can’t pour down the disposal.

Grease and fats.  Never pour these down the sink.  While they may be fluid while you’re cooking, as soon as they cool off they congeal into a solid mass that’s difficult to break apart.  Large amounts of grease will gum-up your disposal and eventually burn out he motor.  While it’s true that washing dishes leads to some grease flowing down along with the water, it’s nowhere near as disastrous as pouring grease straight into the sink to get rid of it.

Starchy foods.  Anything that’s high in starch (or extremely fibrous like celery) shouldn’t be shoved into the disposal.  The fibers in these materials can build up and wrap around other objects, creating a very dense web inside your pipes.  Often, the clogs made by this kind of debris can be as bad as hair clogs and require either dangerous chemicals or time spent getting a professional drain cleaning to clear out the system.

Additionally, anything that isn’t water soluble should not be allowed to flow into your sink.  Harsh chemicals can damage pipes or wash back up when the drain clogs.  Common sense will take care of the majority of things you shouldn’t allow to flow down the sink, but the major reason for clogs are grease and fibrous foods.

Don’t Flush These

If you’re tired of backed up toilets or bathroom plumbing, it’s time to revisit the dangers of flushing items that simply say “flushable” on the box.  Many things are flushable (ping pong balls for one), but that doesn’t mean they’re safe for your plumbing.

The only things that should be flushed are human waste and hygienic paper.  If it isn’t actually water soluble (dissolves in water), then it has no business being flushed.

It’s a fairly common problem since items like wet wipes are listed as “flushable.”  But think about it, they’re already wet, how likely are they to degrade in the sewer?  They don’t, and they can begin to clog up your sewer drain as well, leading to backed up plumbing and expensive pipe-snaking or drain cleaning.

You can prolong the life your drains and home plumbing simply by taking care of the system.  It will save you money on costly repairs or regular drain cleaning and clearing, so use your plumbing as intended instead of as a second garbage bin.


Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want!  Call us today at (423) 616-1025!

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