If you have ever experienced a blocked kitchen sink, you know that there are just some things that are not meant to be washed down the drain. While you may think most liquids are safe for plumbing because they are in your home, you may be surprised to learn that many products that you use every day can cause major problems in your plumbing and in the environment. Here is a list of common household items to keep out of your pipes:

Paper towels/pre-moistened wipes/cotton balls: Toilet paper is flushed every day, but it is designed to break down when in contact with water. Other paper objects are more durable, so instead of dissolving, they just block the pipes or increase the probability of a sewer back up or overflow. If that happens, well, you are going to need plenty more paper towels.

Medications: For a long time, people have flushed extra medications or poured them in drains, thinking it was safe to do. Unfortunately, those prescriptions find their way to our water supply, including lakes, rivers, oceans, and ground water. The impact on the environment is not worth it, especially if many people continue to dispose of their old medicine in this fashion.

Cooking oil, grease, or fat: Any cooking fat will create build up over time that can lead to a blocked kitchen sink, clogged drains, and a lot of headaches. Some of these items may be composted, although they may attract animals. Community recycling centers may also accept them for biodiesel, so you may have several options for better disposal.

Coffee grounds and egg shells: An old belief is that both of these kitchen waste items are fine to put in your garbage disposal, but in fact, they are a frequent cause for clogged drains, creating the kind of blockage that will earn you a scolding from the plumber. Again, these kitchen scraps are compostable and easily reused.

Paint: Never pour paint in your sink, period. Take it to your community recycling center. You do not want to negatively impact the water supply and ecosystems with paint or other chemicals.

Cleaning products: They may be approved for cleaning surfaces in your home, but many cleaning products contain phosphates and other harmful chemicals that will do a number to the environment. Some of these products may also combine in your drains to create a corrosive substance that will weaken your pipes.

The bottom line is that you should exercise caution when putting products in your plumbing system. Not only you be protecting the environment, but you will also be preventing a blocked kitchen sink.

Call (805) 594-1020 Culbert Construction & Plumbing for all your repair and maintenance needs!