Potato peels and vegetable scraps in the kitchen sink after prepping veggies for dinner

Top Things You Should Never Put Down Your Drain

When you need to get rid of leftover food on your plate, rinse greasy pans, or toss used coffee grounds, the garbage disposal may seem like a simple solution. After all, the plumbing system is robust enough to handle it all, right? Well, not exactly. The truth is, not everything belongs in our pipes! While toilets are designed to flush waste and garbage disposals are meant to grind up food scraps, certain items can wreak havoc on your plumbing, causing clogs, leaks, and even extensive damage.

As homeowners, it’s important to familiarize ourselves with the items that shouldn’t go down the drain. By making informed choices about what we dispose of, we can prevent costly repairs and keep our plumbing systems functioning smoothly. So, ditch the “flush it and forget it” approach and explore the top things you should never put down your drain!

Grease and Oils

Grease, cooking oil, and animal fat are some of the worst culprits for clogged drains. These substances solidify as they cool, clinging to the insides of your pipes and creating a sticky mess. Over time, this buildup can lead to slow drains, unpleasant odors, and even sewage backups.

Remember, even if the grease seems thin when it’s hot, it will harden in your pipes and wreak havoc. Instead of pouring it down the drain, let it cool completely in a container, then scrape it out and dispose of it in the trash.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds might seem small and harmless, but they can wreak havoc on your plumbing. These grounds are surprisingly good at clinging to the insides of pipes, and when combined with other debris like grease or soap scum, they can quickly form a stubborn clog.

While the occasional amount of coffee grounds might not cause an issue, it’s best to avoid making a habit of sending them down the drain. Toss them in the compost bin or use them for gardening purposes instead!


Eggshells might seem like they’d easily crumble and wash away, but their surprisingly sharp edges can actually snag on buildup on the inside of pipes and contribute to clogs by catching other debris. The best way to dispose of eggshells is to add them to your compost pile or simply toss them in the trash.

Fibrous Foods

While delicious and excellent for gut health, fibrous foods like celery, corn husks, and fruit peels can create a tangled mess in your pipes. These fibrous materials don’t break down easily and can easily catch onto other debris, creating a blockage. It’s best to scrape these items off your plate and dispose of them in the trash.

Rice and Pasta

Rice and pasta are the perfect additions to any meal — transforming a dull chicken breast or strips of steak into a flavor explosion. Unfortunately, you need to be mindful about how you dispose of these starchy scraps. While it might seem convenient to rinse leftover rice or pasta down the drain, these foods can expand and cause major clogs. The starches can also attract grease and other debris, further exacerbating the problem. Always err on the side of caution and dispose of rice and pasta in the trash can.

Wipes and Feminine Hygiene Products

While some products might be labeled “flushable,” that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good for your plumbing. These wipes and hygiene products are often made from non-biodegradable materials that don’t break down easily in water. This can lead to serious clogs and even damage your septic system if you have one. Always dispose of these items in the trash.

Hazardous Materials

Household cleaners, paint, and car fluids should never be poured down the drain. These hazardous materials can damage your pipes and contaminate the water supply. The proper disposal of these materials often involves taking them to a designated hazardous waste collection center. Never put your health or the environment at risk by pouring these items down the drain.


Medications should never be flushed down the drain or poured down the sink. Many medications can be harmful to aquatic life and can even contaminate the water supply. The safest way to dispose of expired or unused medications is to take them to a local pharmacy or collection center that specializes in medication disposal.

Let Us Help Take Care of Your Plumbing System

By following these tips and being mindful of what you should and shouldn’t pour down your drains, you can help prevent costly plumbing problems down the road. However, even with the best intentions, clogs can still happen.

If you suspect a clog in your drain, don’t hesitate to contact our emergency plumbers at Chosen Rooter & Plumbing. We have the experience and equipment to diagnose and clear drain clogs efficiently and safely. We can also provide routine drain cleaning services to help you stay ahead of problems. Call today to schedule an appointment!