Things You Should Never Put Down Your Drains

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Taking care of a home is a big job, and sometimes it can feel like the worst things happen simply because we make a simple mistake. Especially if you’ve never owned a home before, you understandably might not know every single thing about maintaining one. For example, your home’s plumbing is something you need to be careful with unless you want a seriously messy problem on your hands. One thing you can do to protect your pipes is to learn about the things you should never put down your drain so that they can’t degrade your piping over time.

Grease and Oil

Fatty substances such as cooking oil and grease from food are things that should never go down your drain. Even though you might think it’s okay because they’re liquids, fatty substances such as these don’t actually break down in water—they just separate. This leads to large amounts of oil and grease collecting on the sides of your pipes. Over time, these fat deposits build up and create clogs that are very difficult to clean on your own.

“Flushable” Sanitary Wipes

Despite the “flushable” moniker that many of these wipes bear, very few of them actually break down correctly once they’re inside your pipes. Repeated use of these wipes can cause them to bunch up and clog your plumbing, making a huge mess that you’ll need a professional’s help with. These wipes are such a problem that they can even end up clogging city sewers and creating issues for entire neighborhoods.

Paper Towels and Cotton Balls

Some people think these products are just like toilet paper when thrown into pipes. Unfortunately, they are not. The makeup of toilet paper allows it to fully break down when it goes into water. Paper towels and cotton balls don’t do this, instead keeping their shape and possibly getting stuck inside your pipes.

Coffee Grounds

Old coffee and grounds can easily go down the drain, right? That’s not actually true. Coffee grounds seem small and innocuous, but they have the same problem as all these other products: they aren’t water-soluble, and they keep their solid shape even in your pipes. Just like the other things on this list, coffee grounds can get stuck in the bends and twists of piping, leading to a clogged or burst pipe later on.


Throwing old medication down a drain might seem strange, but it’s more common than you think. If you do this, a lot of excess chemicals are released into the water, harming the environment and making it more difficult for cities to purify the water. Take your old medication to a pharmacy rather than dumping it down a drain.

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