5 Everyday Items that Should Never Go Down the Drain

With drains occupying many rooms of our homes, pouring waste items down the drain might look like a quick and convenient solution when you are in a hurry to throw something out. Despite being out of sight and supposedly out of mind, many household products actually do not belong down the drain and might even lead to damaging blockages to your pipework. Find out what five everyday items Canadians are wrongly throwing down their drain below!

1. Coffee Grounds

Starting your day with a delicious, warming cup of coffee is popular with many Canadians. But how you should you dispose of the leftover grounds?

Whether using a French press or a regular coffee machine, coffee grounds belong in the garbage bin rather than the sink. Many people wrongly assume that ground coffee can be diluted with water, making it easy to pass through pipes. Instead, make sure to throw your coffee filters in the garbage or if you have a French press, scoop out any leftover coffee before washing it up.

If you are frequent coffee drinker and have discovered a clog in your pipes, coffee might just be the culprit.

2. Grease & Oily Products

One of the most common causes for a blocked drain, oil definitely does not belong in the drain. Though oily products like meat fat, mayonnaise and salad dressings appear to be liquid or smooth when you are cooking with them, they don’t always stay this way.

The problem with grease and oil products is that many thicken and solidify when cooled. If poured down the drain, these hard substances form a clog in the drain and may also release unpleasant odours if ignored.

It is always safer to throw these products in the garbage. If you are concerned about throwing away liquid animal fats, which is notorious for thickening, let it cool and harden before placing it in a plastic bag in the garbage.

3. Paint

Whether you are redecorating or just wanting to clear out some space in your garage, pouring leftover paint down the drain is not a good idea. Though this might not be common knowledge, paint is considered to be a form of hazardous waste by many municipalities. This means it contains harmful chemicals that could be dangerous if consumed or ingested by a person, making them very ill. There are also concerns that paint could strain the public water system and put public health at risk.

If you have leftover paint to throw away, it is safer to take it to a recycling centre. Better yet, consider passing it on to a friend or neighbour who might need it for a decoration project.

4. Dental Floss

Flossing is a healthy habit that is recommended by many dentists for healthier teeth and gums. Though it might appear small and thin however, dental floss does not belong in the toilet or sink.

The problem with dental floss is that it does not dissolve and therefore cannot be destroyed in water. The result? Clogged pipes on your (or even your neighbour’s) property. It is also a nuisance at wastewater treatment plants, where the floss may accidentally end up harming aquatic life in lakes and rivers.

5. Medication

From liquids medicines to pills, many of us keep our medication in areas such as bathrooms or kitchens, where they happen to be near your home’s plumbing. Though less common than other items on this list, throwing expired or unwanted medicine down the drain does happen. Medicine generally does not cause blockages. Instead, it can be a hazard at wastewater treatment plants and can be toxic to the environment if accidentally released into lakes and rivers here in Ontario.

Though many doctors and pharmacists consistently stress the importance of completing a course of antibiotics, you may still find leftover or unwanted antibiotics in your medicine cabinet. These should not be thrown in the garbage because they may cause naturally occurring bacteria to develop resistance, making infections deadlier and harder to treat. Instead, take any unwanted medicine to your local pharmacist. Learn more here.

Get Help with Clogged Pipes in Durham Region & the GTA

Even if you follow our advice and do not pour any of the items down your drain, we know accidents can still happen. If you suspect a drain is clogged on your property and you are located in the Durham Region, contact Caldwell Plumbing. Servicing areas such as Pickering, Ajax and Oshawa, our experienced team of plumbers can quickly and reliably correct any clogged drain. Contact us today – we are here to help!