What Not to Put Down the Drain

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What Not to Put Down the Drain

what not to put down the drain

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Charlotte, NC unclogs drains just about every day. Some problems escalate from pouring common items down your drains. Be mindful of what not to put down the drain because you’re kitchen is not the only place where problems occur when tossing waste down your pipes.

Your Toilet is Not a Garbage Disposal

Many people think that they can use a toilet the same way they would a garbage disposal. However, flushing away kitchen grease or motor oil could cause plumbing failures. Eventually, the pipelines could even burst, or you could experience odorous sewer backup.
You may not realize that motor oil in particular can contaminate up to 250,000 gallons of drinking water. Most municipal codes require you to take it to a recycling center for safe disposal.

Avoid putting these common items down your drains to save your pipes

In addition to grease or oil, remember what else not to put down your drain:

  1. Dairy products including milk – Some cities would even fine you for dumping milk down the drain. This might sound extreme, but expired milk reportedly becomes a pollutant because of its high oxygen demand.
  2. Hair – Sometimes, you might have a hard time catching your hair before it makes its way down the shower drain. Consider placing a screen over the drain as well as in your bathroom sink to avoid this. Make sure you clean out the screen regularly to avoid bacterial buildup and mold growth.
  3. Cigarette butts – You might think the small tobacco filters on most brands will easily make it down the drainpipe, especially if flushing them down the toilet. However, they accumulate and clog septic systems.
  4. Egg shells – Because the shells break easily, you might think you can crush them up enough to make sure they pass through your pipes. However, they often still have the stickiness of the eggs on them that can cling to other waste, so they contribute to clogging.
  5. Cat litter – Some companies advertise their supplies as flushable. However, we still do not recommend you taking the chance. If too much of it clumps together, it could cause an obstruction in your water lines.
  6. Medication – Your expired pills and medicines could contaminate drinking water. An excess of substances like this could also cause pipe erosion, especially if a chemical interaction occurs.
  7. Sanitary products – Even if the manufacturer claims you can flush them, you probably do not want to take a chance. Besides, they usually absorb so much liquid that they could expand and block pipe flow.
  8. Cotton balls – When finding out what not to put down the drain, you might not have considered the risk of disposing of your cotton balls this way. However biodegradable you think they might be, they can absorb water and expand and this could cause obstructions.

Additional Items Not to Put Down the Drain

Learning what not to put down the drain will take time, and no one is perfect. That’s why the Charlotte, NC Ben Franklin Plumbing team makes as many house calls as we do. We will help you take care of the immediate problem and make repairs that will prevent the issue from worsening.
We also have more advice about what not to put down your drain. For instance, you might not realize that paper towels do not break down as well as bathroom tissue. Even disposable wipes you would use only once instead of the ones that last for several uses will not flush well. Avoid flushing toweling even if the manufacturer says you can.
Paint, antifreeze, battery acid or transmission and brake fluids should also never go down your drain. Likewise, any polishes or finishes used to coat furniture should never be dumped in the same place where your water travels.
Even seemingly harmless amounts of nail clippings, dropped toothpaste or shampoo spills could eventually stop a drain. Prevent this as much as possible by having stoppers or screens that will stay in place and not allow any substances other than used water down your pipes.

Should you Use Chemical Drain Cleaners?

If you do, keep in mind this usually only works temporarily. The clog will eventually return, and the cleaners will not clear all the grease, dirt, garbage or biological matter from your pipes. Moreover, chemical drain cleaners can accelerate erosion and shorten your plumbing system lifespan.
Eventually, pressure buildup will even cause clogged pipes to burst, and many liquid cleaners will not help. The chemicals in these solutions can harden in your pipes, which defeats the purpose of using them in the first place.

The Correct Way to Clean Drains

If your sink or your tub repeatedly fills up with water or your toilet keeps overflowing, you probably need the power snakes, jetters, augers or cutters a licensed plumber has. Using the right equipment, your Ben Franklin professionals can usually reach deeper down your pipes than any chemical solution would.
As far as the correct way to clean drains, it depends on the situation. It usually requires applying more force than ordinary hand tools such as mechanical snakes can provide.
Please contact Ben Franklin Plumbing in Charlotte, NC to make an appointment. We also provide emergency services and will respond any time, day or night – 24/7.