Know the basics and call a licensed professional for plumbing help
With holiday-season cooking and baking about to get underway—and with even more people preparing meals at home as part of “coronacoping”—it’s a good time to remember what not to put down your kitchen (or any other) sink.
According to Real Simple magazine, here are 10 things that never should never go down the drain:
- Grease and oil—The next time you cook bacon, think twice before you pour the grease down the drain, where it can cause a clog in your pipes.
- Coffee grounds—Before you pour out leftover coffee or wash out your coffee maker, scoop out and dispose of any coffee grounds. Even if there aren’t a lot left, if you have a habit of pouring them down the sink every morning, they can build up in your plumbing.
- Uncooked rice—Rice expands in water, so just imagine what happens when you pour extra rice down the drain and then turn on the water.
- Flour and dough—When baking, always scrape excess flour or dough into the trash can before you wash the bowls, measuring cups, or egg beaters at the sink. Otherwise, you’ll risk clogging the drain with a messy goop.
- Eggshells—Even if you have a garbage disposal, eggshells should never be put down the sink because the membrane of the shell is known to cause clogs. Instead, throw them in the trash or consider composting them.
- Medications—When you pour medicine down the drain, it enters and pollutes waterways. But there are several different options for safe disposal: Check with your local pharmacy, which may have a medical waste disposal unit or pre-addressed envelopes that let you mail in the medications for incineration. Also, be on the lookout for U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-sponsored National Drug Take-Back Days annually each April and October.
- “Flushable” wipes—They may say “flushable,” but that doesn’t always mean these wipes will disintegrate easily, and they can be particularly difficult on older plumbing systems. Simply throw these away with your regular trash.
- Cleaning products—To avoid water pollution, never pour harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia down the drain. Instead, contact your local hazardous household waste collection center for their drop-off schedule and procedures.
- Paint—Depending upon how much leftover paint you have, there are a few options for safe disposal—but pouring it down the drain is never one of them. If it’s a small amount, simply open up the lid and allow the paint to dry out before throwing it away (do this outside to avoid fumes). But if you have half a can left, try mixing it with kitty litter and allowing it to dry, turning it into a solid before disposing of it. If you have more paint, contact your local hazardous household waste collection center.
- Chemicals—Pesticides and other chemicals should not be put down the drain. Again, your local hazardous household waste collection center can guide you on proper disposal.
And don’t forget that chemicals include chemical drain cleaners, which have been found to be dangerous to people, plumbing, and the environment. If your drain’s clogged or if you need any other plumbing help, contact a licensed professional for assistance. The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Contractors State License Board (CSLB) licenses contractors in California, including those with specialty plumbing licenses. Find out more about licensed contracting professionals and their many services at www.cslb.ca.gov and check a professional’s license at https://search.dca.ca.gov.