10 (Not So) Surprising Things That Should Never Go Down The Drain

When was the last time you had to plunge the kitchen sink? Sadly, the vast majority of kitchen clogs are self-induced. It is what we choose to put down the drains that keeps coming back up at us. There is the mistaken impression that because it is a drain that “anything goes.” That simply isn’t true and certainly doesn’t apply to your garbage disposal. In fact, your garbage disposal might be one of the easiest things to get clogged in your home. In order to avoid an expensive call to the plumber you should avoid putting these 10 items down the drain:

Cooking Oils and Grease

A lot of what we cook involves oils and that always means left over oils. But none of those cooking remnants should be put down into the drain. They can thicken up and clog the drain. That also holds for any grease from meat, chicken, bacon or any other product that generates that byproduct.

Coffee Grounds

It might not seem that coffee grounds would be a problem going down the drain. However, coffee grounds attract grease. When that happens, it forms a clump and that can instantly clog up the drain. You might notice this if your drain smells like old coffee. A better use for your old coffee grounds would be a composted.

Egg Shells

Egg shells are something else up that could end up in a compost bin but not down the drain. Even though they are breakable they can also stick to the side of the drain. Anything else you put down the drain, the egg shells can attach to and act like a magnet to the pipes.


The average American eats around 15 pounds apostate each year. Any good cook will tell you that some of that pasta water should go back into the sauce. However, for the pasta itself it shouldn’t go down the drain. It tends to swell up when in water and that can become a dangerous plug.

Prescription Medications

You should absolutely dispose of any expired medications but that doesn’t mean washing them down the drain or flushing down the toilet. The chemicals in those drugs can impact the water quality. You are much better off to taking those old expired medications to your pharmacist.

Potato Peels

Potato peels are another object that can turn into a kind of glue-like substance when submerged in water. Over time, those peels convert to starch and that can harden into a serious blockage. Even chopping them up in the garbage disposal won’t prevent this from happening.

Beans and Rice

Like pasta, beans and rice also expand when cooking. And like potato skins their starchy substance becomes a formidable force that can clog up drains. Anything more than a quarter cup of beans and rice should be tossed in the trash.

Fruit Pits

Some folks are under the mistaken impression that you can put fruit pits down the drain or garbage disposal to freshen things up. That would be wrong. They can easily crack the blades.

Seafood Shells

Boiling up fresh seafood like oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp and lobsters can make for a delicious meal. But those shells should never make their way down the garbage disposal. Even chopped up they probably won’t go far down the pipes and blockages will ensue.


Yes, you can wash your paintbrushes off in the sink but you shouldn’t poor excess paint down the drain. It doesn’t matter if it is oil-based or water-based. Paint will stick the pipes and prevent food from sliding through.