How often do you consider what you’re putting down your drain? If your answer is “never,” you’re not alone. However, when it comes to the health of your plumbing, putting any old thing down the drain can lead to major problems and expensive repairs in no time. Before you make an expensive mistake that costs you an arm and a leg, be sure you know these 13 things you should never pour down your drain. These plumbing maintenance tips can save you a lot of headaches and expenses in the long run.


Think pouring some leftover rice down the drain is no big deal? Think again.  Absorbent foods, like rice and pasta, can expand in your pipes and contribute to clogs. If you’ve got some left on your plate at the end of a meal, make sure you scrape it into the trash can first before rinsing.

2- Olive Oil

When you’ve finished with your olive oil, you should be dumping it in the trash, not down the drain. While the stuff may seem slippery to you at room temperature,  it is often a source of major drain clogs. When olive oil cools like when it comes in contact with cold water or is left to sit in an uninsulated pipe it can solidify, causing a blockage in no time.

3- Flour

Surprisingly enough, something as simple as flour can cause a messy plumbing problem before you know it.  Flour can clump together when water hits it, seriously clogging your drain and potentially requiring a Green Apple Plumbing professional to remedy the situation.

4- Coffee Grounds

While dumping a cup of coffee down the drain likely won’t cause any harm, allowing those coffee grounds to go with it can cause serious trouble. Coffee grounds can accumulate in pipes and cause clogs, potentially leading to a repair in your future.

5- Animal Fat

Although you might be tempted to rinse that greasy pan right after cooking some bacon, sausage, or steak, doing so can cause serious plumbing issues down the line.

The problem is that the water and grease cool as [they] move through the pipes and solidify, attracting other debris and creating a blockage. Instead pour the grease into a can or jar, allowing it to cool, and then disposing of it in the trash can. After the frying pan has cooled wipe it down with a paper towel and then throw the paper towel into the trash bin.

6- Bones

While it may feel like you can dump virtually anything into your garbage disposal, bones can quickly gum up the works. Not only can they dull your disposal’s blades or get completely stuck, but bones are also often accompanied by animal fat that can congeal in the drain.

7- Mashed Potatoes

Viscous foods like mashed potatoes may separate easily enough when water hits them, but that doesn’t mean you can safely use your sink to dispose of them. Starchy foods like mashed potatoes can cause significant plumbing clogs, meaning you’re better off tossing them in the trash, leaving as little to be rinsed down the drain as possible.

8- Banana Peels

They may be soft, but your garbage disposal is not adept at getting rid of banana peels.  Banana peels and other starchy foods can develop into a paste that slows down the blades of your average disposal, as well as potentially clogging pipes along the way.

9- Fibrous Vegetables

Last night’s veggie side can cause serious problems for your home’s plumbing if you’re not careful. Celery, asparagus, and other fibrous vegetables can tangle around blades in your average garbage disposal, leaving you with a major repair on your hands.

10- Egg Shells

They may seem easy enough to crack, but eggshells can cause a surprisingly big problem if you toss them into the sink. Eggshells are the culprit behind many plumbing issues, as they can pack together when combined with water and create clogs.

11- Medicine

Have some extra medicine on your hands? Whatever you do, don’t pour it down the drain. While it may not clog your pipes, there are even greater risks involved according to the United States Geological Survey, over 4,000 types of prescription medication make their way into our environment, contaminating groundwater and soil and harming or even killing domestic animals and wildlife along the way. Instead, the EPA recommends returning unused medication to drug take-back locations, like certain pharmacies, or mixing them with substances like coffee grounds or cat litter, sealing them in a container, and disposing of them in the trash.

12- Gasoline

If you’ve got some extra gasoline in your basement or garage, make sure to check out your city or town’s hazardous waste disposal options and whatever you do, don’t pour it down your drain. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, gasoline can poison groundwater, and even inhaling small amounts of gasoline fumes can cause major problems. In fact, many children and adults have to be evaluated by first responders or hospitalized after becoming nauseated by small amounts of gasoline.

13- Pesticides

Those pesticides may be keeping your garden bug-free, but they’re doing no favors to the environment especially when you dispose of them in the sink. The EPA cautions against any pesticide down the drain as your average municipal water treatment facility may not have the equipment necessary to completely filter them out of the water supply, and pesticides can potentially harm both humans and animals if consumed.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your plumbing or HVAC needs call Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ toll-free @888-3155564. Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ has been serving the New Jersey area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priorities.

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