Can You Put Coffee Grounds Down the Sink? And All The Other Questions You’re Afraid To Ask

Plumbing Questions

Though housing sales may have slowed in 2020, there are still tons of first-time homeowners in Columbia who have a lot of questions about their homes and appliances. The problem? A lot of them are afraid to ask!

Your favorite plumbers in Columbia, SC are here to give every homeowner the rundown on what you shouldn’t put down the drain, whether we’re talking about sinks or toilets. (If you already sent something into your pipes that you shouldn’t have, don’t sweat it. We’re here to help with all of your plumbing problems, too!)

Are you ready to find out, after months or years of wondering, what you should avoid putting down the drain?

Keep reading to have all of your drain and pipe questions answered!

What to Keep Away from Your Sink

Rather than talking about what can go down your sink (the list is extensive), let’s discuss what you should throw away in a garbage receptacle rather than in the sink.

It’s worth noting that the list covers items that shouldn’t go down your sink even if you have a garbage disposal. Your garbage disposal can handle things like soft fruit and vegetable scraps (something a regular drain cannot). However, you don’t want to push the limits of what you can put down your garbage disposal without breaking it.

Fats, Oils, and Grease

You cook up some bacon and your pan is filled with bacon grease. You’re going to wash it in the sink anyway, so why not dump that grease down the drain while you’re at it?

The reality is that any fats, oils, or grease should be canned and thrown away. These thick, oily substances don’t wash away as easily as you may think. The grease, alone, from a pound or two of bacon can clog up your sink–and potentially affect the rest of the plumbing in your house!

Coffee Grounds and Eggshells

Now, to the big question we’ve all been waiting for: can you wash coffee grounds down the drain?

Many people assume that if they have a garbage disposal, waste like used coffee grounds and eggshells are safe for the drain. The reality is that these harder substances aren’t good for the blades in your garbage disposal and can cause some serious damage. Plus, they take a long time to break down, meaning that if you make a habit of putting either down the drain, you’re likely to end up with a clog in the near future.

Chemicals Including Cleaners, Personal Care Products, and Medications

Let’s talk about chemicals: none of them belong in your drain! In fact, according to the EPA, the chemicals in things like pharmaceuticals and personal care products are becoming a major threat not just to our drinking water, but to the animals living in our oceans. The best thing you can do is find out if your community has a chemical waste site where you can bring your old cleaning products and personal care products–unused medications should go to drug take-back programs.

Where does that leave chemical cleaning products designed for drains? The truth is, while they may take care of that nasty clog, you’re better off leaving that job to the plumbers. The chemicals in drain cleaners can be hazardous to your health. Some will even lead to the deterioration of your pipes.

What to Keep Out of Your Toilet

Sink drains aren’t the only thing people may have questions about. A lot of people aren’t sure what can be flushed and what should be thrown away. A good rule of thumb is that you should never flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper down the toilet, but let’s get a little more specific with what you should always avoid flushing.

Sanitary Wipes and Paper Towels

Say you’re changing a baby’s diaper or drying your hands in a bathroom. What should you do with used sanitary wipes and paper towels?

Both of these products need to go in the trash, not the toilet. Even baby wipes that are marketed as “flushable” really aren’t. Anything denser than toilet paper isn’t going to break down quickly and is instead going to clog up the toilet.

Feminine Hygiene Products

The same goes for feminine hygiene products. Because pads and tampons are much thicker than toilet paper, they’re not designed to break down rapidly in water. Your best bet is to throw them away in a trash can.

Inorganic Waste

Anything that shouldn’t go down your sink–from grease to coffee grounds–shouldn’t end up in your toilet, either. However, it’s important that we mention inorganic waste (besides toilet paper).

One thing we see time and time again is a clog caused by something that came out of the fish tank. Maybe a few pebbles came out while you were dumping out the old water, or even a decorative plant or two. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to grab a glove and fish it out!

(Believe it or not, deceased fish really shouldn’t be flushed, either. While they are organic, they often carry bacteria and diseases that you don’t want in your water system.)

Plumbing Questions? Give Us a Call!

When you’re new to homeownership, you may realize that you have a lot of questions about your appliances and plumbing. Is it okay to put coffee grounds down the sink? What about flushing baby wipes?

Sometimes, we learn the answers to our questions the hard way–by wreaking havoc on our plumbing! If that’s the case, don’t worry. Plumb Time Plumbing is here to help Columbia homeowners with all of their plumbing problems.

To get started, contact us and request a quote or schedule an appointment. We’ll get back to you right away!

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