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5 Things Homeowners Should Never Put Down Their Drains

August 2, 2021

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Your home’s drains are designed to accommodate a variety of different things ranging from water to toilet tissue. However, some items should never go down the drain as they can cause serious problems resulting in potentially expensive drain repairs – and in some cases, they can even contaminate local water sources. Here are the top five things that should never go down the drain in your home. 

#1 – Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are generally extremely tiny, so it’s hard to imagine that they can cause serious problems in your drains. Unfortunately, they can. In fact, many plumbers say that coffee grounds are a leading cause of clogs in kitchen sink drains. They are heavier than water, so they can build up relatively quickly – especially if they get stuck in other food scraps or in fats (neither of which should be in the drain, either.) Make sure you’re putting your coffee grounds into the trash – never the drain. 

#2 – Flushable Kitty Litter 

Although the word “flushable” is right there on the title, the truth is that this kitty litter isn’t flushable at all – especially if you have a septic system. Furthermore, the bacteria found in kitty feces can resist the chemicals your city uses to treat wastewater. If those bacteria find their way into the water supply, they can cause harm to a variety of animals that rely on local water sources to thrive. 

#3 – Grease and/or Oil

Grease, oil, and other fats are perhaps the very worst things you can pour into your drains or flush in your toilet. Although they may seem liquid when you pour them in, they can solidify as they cool and create a gelatinous mass that causes major clogs that your ordinary drain cleaner liquid can’t handle. According to an article published by, these buildups cause about 47% of all backed-up drains in the US. Never put used frying oil or the grease from hamburger, sausage, and other meats into the drain. Wait for them to solidify, then put them into the trash. 

#4 – Household Fluids 

A variety of different household fluids find their way into sewer systems every year via drains in the kitchen and bathroom – and even in the toilet. Although some of these fluids are designed to be safe, such as toilet cleaners, others were never intended to be introduced to your home’s drainage system. Some of these include things like motor oils, paints, corrosive cleansers like acetone, and others. For more information, contact your city or county water treatment facility for more information about what is and isn’t safe to put down the drain. 

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#5 – Medications 

Although it is unlikely that flushing your medication will cause a serious problem in your home’s sewer system, the truth is that it’s dangerous for others – and for the animals that rely on local water sources. A study on water sources across 30 states conducted back in 2002 by the US Geological Survey found that harmful chemicals were present in 80% of the 139 streams they tested. Furthermore, their research showed that pharmaceutical products played a major role in the presence of those harmful chemicals. To learn how to dispose of your unused or expired medication safely, contact any local pharmacy.

Whether they create the possibility of significant plumbing damage or endanger the lives of animals who rely on local water sources like streams and ponds, putting these five items down the drain can wreak havoc. Being mindful of what you put into your drain can not only prevent expensive repairs, but it can also save animals’ lives.  

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