10 Items You Should Never Put Down the Drain

10 Items You Should Never Put Down the Drain

One of the worst things you can find in a drain is a blockage caused by dumping food down the sink. Clogged drains can be a major headache, not to mention a costly repair. It’s important to know what you shouldn’t put down your sink drain to avoid this problem.

Learn 10 items you should never put down the drain to save yourself from a costly repair. Not only will it save you money in the long run, but it also will help maintain your plumbing system!

Grease and Oils

Grease, fats, and oils are notorious for causing clogs in pipes, as they will harden once they cool off. When you put grease and oils down the drain, it sticks to the sides of pipes and builds up. Over time, this build-up will eventually form clogs that can cause a backup in your plumbing.

Instead, try to dispose of these items in an old can or jar and throw it away. Most people don’t think twice about pouring grease down the sink after cooking, but you should try to break this habit as soon as possible.

Coffee Grounds

Believe it or not, coffee grounds can accumulate over time and cause blockages in your pipes. The grounds are so small that they slip through the filter and make their way into your pipes. Over time, these grounds get stuck in drains and can eventually form a clog.

To avoid needing residential plumbing services, throw coffee grounds in the trash or compost bin instead of the sink drain.

Paper, Plastic & Cotton Swabs

While these may seem small enough to make it through the pipe system, small bits of paper from packaging, plastics, and cotton swabs can easily accumulate over time and create a clog in your pipes if disposed of incorrectly. Cotton balls and paper will swell when exposed to water, and plastics do not dissolve. Both can cause a major blockage.

Instead of throwing these products down the drain, dispose of them in the trash can.


Hair is one of the most common causes of clogged drains because it gets tangled up with other debris, such as soap scum and food particles, in your pipes. Use a mesh drain guard or hair trap to catch any hairs that might make their way down the sink. This guard can be easily cleaned and save you from needing plumbing services.


You should never put any medication (prescription or over-the-counter) down your sink drain! Not only can these medications hurt your plumbing, but they can also harm the environment if disposed of improperly. The medicine can end up in our water supply, causing harm to both humans and animals.

Instead, try to find a program that offers medicine take-back services in your area or speak with a pharmacist about proper medication disposal.

Latex Paint

If you pour latex paint down your sink drain, it will harden over time because it contains ingredients that solidify when exposed to air. As a result, the paint can create blockages in your pipes that require expensive repairs. These blockages could also cause water damage to your home.

Avoid disposing of latex paint in the sink; speak with a professional about how to dispose of it properly. The professionals will be able to provide you with the best advice for your situation. 

Flour & Baking Soda

While flour may seem harmless at first glance, it can form a thick paste when mixed with water, which will then become stuck on anything within its path, including pipe walls. Baking soda can also be problematic as it expands when exposed to water. So, when you pour flour or baking soda down the sink, they will inevitably cause a clog.

If you ever find yourself with leftover flour or baking soda, throw it in the garbage can instead of down the drain. Don’t use it as a substitute for drain cleaner either, as this can be an ineffective and hazardous solution. 

Fruit Peels & Vegetable Skins

Fruit peels often contain natural acids which can corrode metal fixtures such as those found inside plumbing systems, leading to major damage over time. Vegetable skins can also accumulate, creating a blockage in the drains. Whether you’re trying to get rid of a pesky orange peel or some potato skins, never put them down the sink drain.

Some examples of fruits and vegetables to avoid include:

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots

Eggshells & Bones

Eggshells are bad news for anyone looking to prevent clogs, as they contain pockets that collect food particles, forming an impassable barrier throughout your pipes. The trash can is your best bet for disposing of eggshells.

Bones should always be thrown out separately as their sharp edges can get stuck in drainage systems, resulting in blocked flow paths. The decomposing bones will also attract pests, such as rodents and insects. The last thing you want is a rat infestation in your home!

Dental Floss & Sanitary Products

You should never put dental floss and sanitary products (such as tampons and pads) down the sink drain. These materials can easily become tangled up with other debris in pipes, leading to a clog. Whether it’s cotton swabs, condoms, or dental floss, you should always throw these items out in your normal household waste bin.

Clogged drains are no fun; however, avoiding putting certain items down your drain can help prevent blockages from occurring within your plumbing system. The list above contains 10 things you should never put down your sink drain. Some of the most common items to avoid include hair, medication, latex paint, flour, baking soda, fruit peels, vegetable skins, eggshells, paper, plastic cotton balls, and bones.

Still, there are plenty more out there—just remember, if it’s not drain-friendly then you shouldn’t risk putting it into your system. Better safe than sorry.

Fletcher’s Plumbing & Contracting can help you with your plumbing needs. If you’re facing a blocked or clogged drain, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact our experienced plumbing experts today. We will provide the best residential plumbing services in town!

10 Items You Should Never Put Down the Drain