Mind What You Put Down the Drain
One of the best ways to avoid an emergency plumber visit is to mind what you’re putting down the drain. This goes for both the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Too often we see small clogs go overlooked and those eventually turn in huge issues. With this in mind, we can use a number of methods to unclog a sink. However, the best way to combat a clogged sink is to be careful about what you’re putting in there. We’ve put together some lists of what to not put down your sink. Some of the items on these lists may be obvious, others not so much.
Please do not send any of these down your kitchen sink:
- Cooking Liquids – Oils, fats, and greases harden when they cool which makes a particularly nasty blockage.
- Coffee Grounds – Coffee grounds are one of the most common things we find in backed up sinks.
- Paint – Though paint can easily go through your system, it can cause serious environmental damage.
- Pasta and Rice – Both pasta and rice expand when they get wet. If they end up in your drain the constant water can make them expand in your pipes and cause a significant backup.
- Eggshells – Some say eggshells can help sharpen the blades on a garbage disposal. This is not true. Eggshells will dull the blades in your garbage disposal, and the shell shards can easily add to any existing blockage.
While the same principle can be applied to bathroom sinks, there are generally a few more things to watch for in the bathroom. This list includes things that can accidentally end up in your bathroom sink but can cause serious havoc on your system.
Make sure none of these end up down your bathroom sink:
- Hair – Hair is the best material to clog a sink. It clumps together when wet and will stick easily to any existing blockage in your drain. This also goes for shaving over the bathroom sink.
- Medication – Medication won’t hurt or contribute to any existing clog. Despite this, they should never be flushed down the drain. Certain medications can be harmful to the environment and marine species.
- Q-Tips and Cotton Balls – Cotton balls and Q-tips will not break down in your drain. In fact, they’ll absorb water to become bigger. Bad news if you want a sink that drains.
- Large Soap Chunks – If a piece of a soap bar breaks off in your sink, it’s easy to just wash down the drain. Don’t do this. When soap comes in contact with hard water it creates soap scum, which loves to cause clogs.
One of the best ways to avoid any of the items listed above from going down your drains is to install a stopper or sink strainer that will catch most of the solid items.