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What Can Or Can’t I Flush Down My Drains?

One of the leading causes of plumbing problems is homeowners throwing the wrong stuff down the drain. From food remains to plastic bags and cooking oil, there’s a lot that can clog your drains. A clogged drain can not only be a hassle, but it’s something that should be resolved right away or it could lead to much bigger issues. To prevent such issues from occurring and preventing the need for spendy plumbing services, it’s best to monitor what goes down your drain. Here’s a guide on what items you should avoid throwing down your drain, which will hopefully save you money down the road.

What are the leading causes of drainage issues?

A clogged drainage system can be a nightmare for any household. Most of the time, this happens as a result of any of the following:
– Grease build-up from cooking or a dumped oil discarded in the kitchen sink.
– Solid items such as dental floss, paper towels, condoms etc. are being flushed down the toilet or sinks.
If the blockage is in a sewer, it can cause all sorts of problems for people living nearby, such as sewage back-up into their homes and potentially even flooding. Call a professional plumber right away to avoid any major and costly issues.

What should I not throw down the drain?

Not everything should go down the toilet, no matter how harmless it looks. Some household wastes are solid and insoluble; hence they should not go into your pipes or sewers because they will build up inside over time and cause expensive blockages. It would be best to practice proper garbage disposal by not throwing the following stuff down your drains:

Grease, motor oil, and fats

According to studies, grease, cooking oil, and fats are responsible for almost 50% of sewer flows in the United States. These are everyday substances in a home, but they can be a big problem to your plumbing system. This is because their sticky nature binds all kinds of materials together and builds up over time, resulting in a thick and sticky lob that won’t pass through the pipes. They can also prevent other materials from properly moving down your drain. Once this has happened, call a plumber.

Oil-based paints, solvents, and thinners

Although these are common in homes for DIY projects or renovations, nothing is more annoying than finding out that the leftover paint has been clogging your drainage systems for days. If there is any solvent like this on hand, make sure not to dump them down your kitchen drain because they can easily damage it.

Cotton balls and paper towels

It’s common for people to dispose of this type of waste down their drain, but it is a big mistake. These cotton products absorb water but will not break easily and may attract other objects from the sewer, resulting in an even bigger clog. You should avoid flushing cotton balls and paper towels.


Diapers should not be flushed. Although some brands are made from biodegradable material, not everything can be flushed and disposed of. These should be disposed of in the garbage.

Clorox Wipes

Just like cotton balls and paper towels, Clorox wipes will also contribute to a vast build-up inside your drainage system if you dispose of them that way. Just throw these items in the garbage. FLushing them is not worth the risk.

Kitty litter and pet waste

Pet owners are not exempt from this clog-causing mistake either. Although it is common for cat or dog lovers to dispose of cat litter down the drain, the results are usually damaging to the plumbing system. Avoid this altogether. Pet products should be disposed of via garbage disposal.

Eggshells and coffee grounds

Don’t go tossing your eggshells and coffee grounds into sinks or toilet bowls. While they don’t seem like a huge clog danger, over time, these substances will bind together to build up in your drain system and end up causing a blockage.


Hair is another common substance that ends up in the drain. Unfortunately, hair gets tangled up with other substances, forming a ball that won’t go down the shower drain. There are many inventions that are currently available that will help prevent this from becoming an issue.

What can I safely throw down the drain?

Generally, most liquids won’t cause harm to your piping system when you flush them down the drain. Everything from milk and tea to juice will go through your pipes without clogging them. However, make sure there are no coffee grounds in your coffee when you decide to pour it into the sink.
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How can I tell my drain is clogged?

You may notice any of the following when you have a blocked drain.
– Slow draining sinks, tubs or showers are one telltale sign there is an issue with your drains.
– You can hear gurgling and bubbling sounds coming from the water in your bathroom sink if air has been pumped into it but not been able to find its way out.
– You can also tell that your drains are blocked when you start seeing water pooling in the bottom of your sink or tub and not draining at all.

What should I do when my drainage system is clogged?

The best thing you can do when your drainage system is clogged and disrupting the normal function of your plumbing system is to call a professional plumber to unclog it. But if you want to try fixing this issue on your own, here are some suggestions:
– Pour hot water down the drain and wait for it to cool down. If the blockage is still there, try pouring saltwater instead
– Pour a combination of baking soda and vinegar into your drain system; this may help with clogs caused by food or hair build-ups (make sure not to combine these two substances in one container)
– Use boiling water poured directly on the clog. This will help melt and break up the fats and grease
– You can also pour a mixture of dishwashing liquid and hot water into your drain system

Keep in mind that the longer you wait to fix any issues, the more complicated and costly they can become. Call a professional!

Have a Clogged Drain?

If you are searching for plumbing services in Portland, Service Plus Plumbing can help! We have licensed, professional, and insured plumbers who know how to resolve all your drainage issues. Call us today to find out more about our services or if you have any questions.

Posted on by Service Plus Plumbing
What Can Or Can’t I Flush Down My Drains?

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