When doing the dishes, how often do you actually stop to think - “Should I wash this down the drain?” For most people, the answer to that question is always yes. The kitchen drain is a magical thing that washes away our messes and it is rarely thought about it again. This is a bad habit! Our drains are really NOT magical portals that can wash away just about anything and there are actually some things that should not be washed down the drain. Garbage disposals are not a saving grace. The job of a garbage disposal is to help break down solid materials, but those pieces are still washed down the drain and can get caught. So, what should we avoid putting down the drain?
Food Items to Avoid Washing Down the Drain
In the kitchen, food is the most common item to be washed down the drain. Scraping dirty dishes into the trash can before putting them in the sink is always a good practice to have because food scraps, grease and other items can end up in your drain and cause problems.
The following food items should NEVER be washed down your drain:
The number one item that should NEVER be washed the drain is grease or fat. It’s not a big deal if there is a small bit of grease residue on your pans when you clean them, but dumping an entire pot of oil down your drain is a terrible idea. Grease and fats can stick to the inside of your drain and pipes and build up over time. It is also important to not wash chunks of solid lard down your drain because your garbage disposal will not keep fats and grease from sticking to your pipes. Try your best to scrape as much grease/fats from your dishes and pans into the trash before washing them.
Most people wouldn’t think twice about washing coffee grounds down the drain - the grounds themselves are tiny so what harm could that do? Coffee grounds can actually get suck in your disposal pretty easily and cause blockages. You should think twice the next time you are emptying your coffee pot of grounds and head to the trash can instead!
We have all put eggshells down the drain one time or another but this is a bad habit that needs to be broken! One thing to think about before you put something down the drain is whether or not you would or could chew that item yourself. You would never chew eggshells - so why would you put them down the disposal? Eggshells are difficult for the disposal to grind up and they have a inner-shell membrane that can wrap around the disposal blades.
This one should be self explanatory - bones are too hard for a garbage disposal to break down (with the exception of fish bones). If you put bones down the drain, they can get lodged between your disposal blades and are extremely hard to remove.
Non-Food Items to Avoid Washing Down the Drain
In general, you should never put non-food items down the drain. You may think that certain items are soft enough to go into the disposal but you should avoid doing this. You never know what will happen and these items can become caught and cause serious issues down the line.
Produce Stickers and Wrappers
Produce stickers are small and soft so they shouldn’t be an issue, right? Wrong! Even though produce stickers are small, they can cause major problems down the line. The stickers can get caught in the pipes which can snag other items and start forming a blockage.
Food wrappers should also never be washed down the drain for the same reason. Plastic and paper wrappers are both very difficult for a disposal to break down. Plastic wrappers will likely get caught in the blades and paper wrappers can easily become a pipe blockage. If you have ever touched a wet piece of paper - it is easy to see how that could get lodged in the drain.
Paper Towels or Napkins
Similarly to what can happen to a toilet when too much toilet paper is used - can happen to a kitchen drain with paper towels or napkins.
You should NEVER dump wax down a drain. Candle wax hardens over time and even faster when it comes in contact with water. The wax can dry in your pipes and cause a major blockage which can cause flooding and backups. Wax is very difficult to clean out of a drain on your own - so you would likely have to consult a professional if this happens.
Again, as a general rule of thumb - never put non-food items down the drain if you can help it.
Contact Omaha Drain Today For More Information
Contact us if you have accidentally washed one of the above items down your drain. We can help you clean out your drain and pipes to ensure that your drain is back to normal! If you have any other questions about what you should and shouldn’t wash down your drain, give us a call! We can help answer any of your questions.