4 Things You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Drain

Today’s garbage disposals are powerful enough to eliminate a variety of food scraps at just the touch of a button or flip of a switch, however, you shouldn’t put just anything down there. While your disposal can handle a lot of different foods, there are some that our plumbing service experts say stay away from:


Common household fats can clog your pipes and cause sewer backups. When this occurs, you (and possibly your neighbor) can end up with raw sewage overflowing into your home, which is expensive to clean up. To avoid such a situation, don’t put these fats down the drain:

  • Cooking oil
  • Lard
  • Fats from meat
  • Dairy products
  • Butter, margarine, shortening
  • Sauces

Things That Swell

If something swells when you add water, it’s probably not a good idea to put it down the sink. It can get stuck in your pipes and also cause clogs. These things include:

  • Flour
  • Semolina
  • Rice
  • Gelatin
  • Pasta
  • Pastry leftovers
  • Potatoes or potato skins

Things That Don’t Break Down

Foods that don’t break down with water and are small can accumulate in your pipes, like:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea leaves
  • Egg shells

Fibrous Foods

The fibers in fibrous foods can break apart and tangle, which can cause your garbage disposal to jam. Don’t put these foods down your drain:

  • Artichokes
  • Corn husks
  • Celery stalks
  • Onion skins
  • Kiwi skins

Instead of putting these things down the drain, try using them as compost for your garden or landscape. All of these items (except dairy and meat products) can be mixed with grass clippings, leaves, twigs, and more to create your own plant food. Dairy products and meat, however, don’t serve as a good compost and should be thrown in the garbage.

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