You’ve just finished cooking dinner for the in-laws and the sink is full of dirty dishes, glasses, and silverware. You wipe off the scraps, send them down the drain and promptly turn on the garbage disposal just like you always do. This time, however, you’re met with grimy water bubbling back up in your face. Your drain is clogged. We’ve all been there and it’s no fun.
How to Tell if your Drain is Clogged
The most noticeable way to tell a drain is clogged is that water begins to drain slower than normal. If left untreated, the problem will only get worse to the point that water won’t drain at all. Now the pipe is either fully or partially clogged and the buildup has likely occurred over years.
You’re probably wondering how this could happen when a drain’s purpose is to wash things down. Not so fast. A drain is an essential part of your plumbing system meant to process liquids only. With this in mind, the experts at Einstein Pros have compiled a list of items NOT to put down your drain so you never have to face a clogging problem.
What Not to Put Down Your Drain
1) Soft Foods
It’s easy to think that soft foods like beans and potatoes will simply dissolve when put down the drain. As they settle and take on more water over time, however, these types of food swell and become paste-like leading to clogs.
2) Coffee Grinds
Though it’s said that coffee grinds help to clean out drains due to their grainy and acidic nature, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Coffee grinds are only acidic when they are fresh and over time they accumulate and cause clogs. Instead of washing them down the drain, try putting coffee grinds in your garden as they make great fertilizer.
3) Pasta and Rice
It’s easy to think that pasta and rice are malleable and should have no problem working their way through a drain and pipes. However, as you run more and more water down your drain, noodles and grains swell as they take on moisture. Eventually, the swelling will block the passage of water causing a clog.
4) Fruit and Vegetable Skins
Much like pasta and rice, fruit and vegetable skins become paste-like in pipes over time and can cause a blockage. When peeling fruits or vegetables, we suggest plugging your drain and discarding the remnants in the garbage or compost pile once you’re done.
When you finish a prescription it’s easy to simply flush the leftovers down the drain. Plumbers strongly advise against this though. Everything from Advil to prescription sleeping pills should be bagged up and thrown away or disposed at a pharmacy.
It’s convenient for people to put cigarette or cigar butts down the drain. This is a terrible idea as the papers used to roll tobacco don’t dissolve and actually increase in size over time as they take on water blocking space for water to pass through. Instead, we recommend using an ashtray and making sure cigarette butts are completely out before discarding of them in the trash.
Paint should never be put down the drain. While it can cause clogging, many cities or dwellings have strict regulations on how much latex and other chemicals found in the paint can be put down the drain. To dispose of paint, we recommend letting it dry and disposing of it with your other trash.
8) Produce Stickers
When washing fruits and vegetables, it’s easy for stickers to come off and find their way down the drain. Because of their adhesiveness even when wet, these stickers stick to the insides of pipes and like other objects, take on water causing swelling and blockage.
9) Oils, Fats, and Grease
Oils, fats, and grease are not water soluble. Over time, these liquids build up on the blades of your garbage grinder and solidify, further limiting the ability of your garbage grinder to do its job. This can spell big trouble for your drains and garbage grinder ability to function properly.
Some people say that eggshell fragments actually aide in drainage as they scrape built up material from pipe walls increasing flow and reducing odors. Einstein Pro experts disagree as they have seen egg shell particles actually stick to pipe walls causing entire blockages.
11) Chemical Cleaners
While it is easy to reach for the container of Drano, we highly discourage it. Even though chemical cleaners like Drano may relieve clogging problems temporarily, they cause corrosion on pipes and have proven to be highly toxic to the environment.
12) Cotton Balls and Paper Towels
Even though cotton balls and paper towels are biodegradable, these items are absorbent meaning they will take on the water more readily other materials. If they get stuck in your drain, you will almost certainly have a clogging problem.
13) Cat Litter
Even flushable types of cat little have been known to clog drains. Additionally, cat feces contain bacteria that is resistant to water treatment chemicals. Eventually, these bacteria will find their way into water supply posing danger to both animals and humans.
Clogged drains are not fun and can be expensive to fix. The idea that drains are meant to dispose of anything can be ruinous. By paying close attention to what you put down your drains, clogging problems are easily avoidable. If you have a clogged drain, call the experts at Einstein Pros.