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5 Common Household Items You Should Never Flush or Put Down The Drain

5 things you shouldn't put down your drain

If you own your home, chances are, you’ve had at least one instance where your drains clogged up due to common household items. Although it seems like they should be able to handle even the smallest items, many times that leads to huge problems which can get very expensive. Even liquid chemicals, over time, cause chaos. Even if it doesn’t affect you, it can cause problems for your local water systems and even harm wildlife. Here are 5 common household items that should never make their way down the drain or toilet.

If you have a clogged drain or backed up toilet, contact A-1 Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration today for help!


Everyone has old vitamins or medications that have long since expired but manage to lurk in the back of your medicine cabinet. Spring cleaning happens and your first thought is to flush the medication and recycle the bottle. Unfortunately, as the medication dissolves, it spreads through-out the water system, soaking into the ground, making it’s way past water treatment. This will eventually end up right back into our drinking water, and over time can cause major problems.

“Flushable” Baby Wipes

Don’t let the name fool you, these are responsible for millions of dollars worth of damage in city sewer systems. Most of the time they contain congealed grease hidden under moisturizers and added scent. Over time, it blocks up the pipes and starts collecting everything else coming down the drain. The grease also prevents the cotton from dissolving as they often advertise. In NYC, baby wipes caused over $18 million worth of damage, and that is NOT a city where you want to be when the pipes back up!

Cat litter

Although this seems contrary, flushing cat little down the toilet can cause many problems that might not ever seem to affect your family. Cat feces contain a parasite that slips right past the water treatment and right back into our water. This parasite mainly affects the wildlife in your area. Otters, for example, are killed by this parasite because it dissolves their brain tissue and causes convulsions and eventually death.

Pasta, Rice and Potatoes

Most homes have a dish disposal, but you still have to be careful when getting rid of dinner scraps. Pasta and rice are terrible for you drain because as they collect more moisture, they become super-sticky, collecting everything that passes by and eventually can completely block the drain. We have all accidentally over-cooked pasta or rice, and realized upon cleaning it out of the pot that it smears all over everything. That’s what it does to your plumbing. Potatoes will get stuck on the sides of the pipes and remain there, protected by the starch it contains. This causes major problems.

Coffee Grounds and Eggshells

Not only is it a crime to deprive your garden of these two foods, you will pay for it in the long run if you wash them down the drain. Coffee will make it’s way into tiny corners of your drain and stay there indefinitely. They are not completely water soluble and last forever. Eggshells, no matter how good you crush them up, will also find their way into cracks and collect small particles until they cause a huge problem. They are extremely hardy and are impossible to flush once they are there.

Having a smooth flowing plumbing system in your house is one of the most important things a homeowner needs to maintain. Even occasional slip-ups will cause some of the biggest damage to your home. Keep these things in mind the next time you’re in the kitchen or bathroom and you might be surprised at how many of these things you carelessly flush.

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