9 Things You Should Never Put Down The Drain

down the drain

When most of think about what we should or shouldn’t put “down the drain,” what jump straight to our kitchen sinks and the capabilities of our garbage disposals. And while that is an important consideration, there are other drains around the house we need to be careful about what we put down them.

Related: 14 Things You Need To Know About Using Your Garbage Disposal

Today I’ll be sharing 9 things that shouldn’t go down any of your drains, whether it’s your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower drain, or your toilet. These substances can cause clogs, create expensive plumbing issues, and even harm the environment, none of which are things you want to be responsible for!

9 Things You Should Never Put Down The Drain

down the drain

1. Eggshells

While they may seem harmless, eggshells don’t break down very well and can easily get stuck in your drain. Plus, other things can get caught on the shells’ sharp edges and lead to blockages.

Instead of putting them down your garbage disposal, compost your egg shells or put them to good use with one of these ideas instead.

down the drain

2. Grease

Pouring grease down the drain is a big no-no, because even though it takes on a liquid form when hot, it will eventually cool down and harden into an oily, coagulated mess that can coat and clog your drains. Instead, let cooking grease cool and solidify first, then put it in the trash.

down the drain

3. Flour

Flour coagulates when it gets mixed with water, which is exactly what happens when you put it down your sink. The doughy mixture can coat the pipe and even catch other bits of food on their way down the pipe and create blockages. Instead, use a spatula to scrape batters, doughs, and flour into your trash can.

down the drain

4. Medication

We should all be aware that when medication goes down any drain, it leeches chemicals in our water supply that can be harmful to the environment. Instead, take expired or unused medications to the waste disposal unit at your local pharmacy or hospital.

Or keep your drugs safely locked away until April or October, when the federal Drug Enforcement Agency holds their biannual National Drug Take Back Day.

down the drain

5. Produce Stickers

While eating them won’t cause you any harm, washing produce stickers down your drain might cause damage to your pipes or block screens at your local water treatment plant. They don’t dissolve in water and aren’t compostable, so the best place to dispose of them is in the trash.

down the drain

6. “Flushable” Wipes

Even wipes marketed as “flushable” don’t dissolve very easily and can clog your drains or even entire sewage systems. Throw them away in your bathroom trash can instead, or better use, install a bidet attachment on your toilet, or make a DIY “bum spray” you can use with regular toilet paper.

down the drain

7. Cleaning Products

Pouring cleaning products down the drain is also harmful to the environment. Avoid water pollution by calling your local Hazardous Household Waste collection center to find out where you can dispose of bleach, ammonia, and other chemicals. Many centers offer drop-off or pick-up services.

down the drain

8. Paper Products

While paper towels, cotton balls, and feminine hygiene products may seem like they’re in the same family as toilet paper, they lack the design elements that allow them to break down readily. It’s safer by far to toss any paper product that isn’t toilet paper in your trash.

down the drain

9. Foods That Swell In Water

Popcorn, rice, and noodles tend to soak up water and swell accordingly, which can easily create blockages in your pipes. While it’s probably fine if a few pieces slip past your strainer and slip down your drain, be sure to toss the bulk of these food items in the trash.

Did any of the items on this list surprise you?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Another thing is Kleenex – don’t flush!! We think it is the same as toilet paper and it’s a different composition. It may not clog your toilet but it will foul up the water treatment plants!! We pay via taxes, for water treatment plants but the stuff we toss without thinking is costing us more money to maintain & clear out the clogs.

  • I’d add coffee grounds and tea leaves to that list. A family member of ours had a major, expensive blockage from grounds accumulating in drain pipes.
    Thank you, Jillee, for yet more useful information!

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