6 Everyday Things You Should Never Put Down Your Drain
In our 15 years of cleaning, unblocking and repairing drains, we have come across all kinds of substances and objects obstructing drains and causing problems in households. We noticed that many of the issues we discover are the result of everyday seemingly-harmless tasks.
As we carry out our daily routines, it’s easy to forget about the long-term impact of the things we do. At Unbeatable Drain Cleaning, we endeavour to help Dublin households to keep their drains flowing freely and avoid costly events like flooding or leak damage.
Here’s our list of household items which seem innocent but can be detrimental to your drains, pipes and Dublin’s wastewater system:
Fats, Oils & Grease
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOGs) are extremely disruptive to your pipes and should never be poured down your drains. This includes cooking oils like olive oil, bacon grease, grease from a chip pan, butter rinsed from the tub before recycling, any oily substance in your kitchen. While cooking, or being rinsed under warm water, these substances are in liquid form due to heat, however, once they cool in your pipes they solidify and cause blockages. After frying food, always wipe your frying pan clean with paper towels before washing in the sink, never pour excess oil down the drain and collect large amounts of oil (such as dirty oil from a deep fat fryer) in a container and throw it in the bin.
Rice or Pasta
Starchy absorbent foods are a problem for your drains because of their sticky texture and ability to absorb water and swell. These foods can easily slip down our drains due to their small size and cause problems. Avoid small food particles accidentally entering your drains by using a sink strainer and always draining food using a sieve.
Flour’s fine particles make it seem harmless as you’d imagine it would just be carried away with the water. However, flour and water are an incredibly sticky combination. The flour creates a sticky residue in your drains, making it difficult for water to flow freely. In large amounts, flour or leftover dough can clog your drains completely, as the sticky texture glues the obstruction to the lining of your pipes.
This is especially important for bakeries and cafes who produce baked goods on their premises. Consistently washing flour and dough down your drains during cleaning can cause issues for your neighbours’ drains, damaging your business’s reputation.
Wondering what to do with expired medications? Your first thought may be to flush them down the toilet for convenient disposal. Although medicines will not clog your drains, they’re hazardous to the wastewater system. In Ireland, the wastewater from our drains gets treated and cleaned by Irish Water to make it safe to be released into rivers, lakes and the sea. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how the flushing of medicines can have a negative effect on Ireland’s environment and wildlife. Unwanted medications should be brought to your local pharmacy where they can be disposed of safely.
Flushing items which are not intended to be flushed is a huge strain on your local sewer system. Toilet paper is the only thing which should ever be flushed down your toilet as it is specifically designed to disintegrate in water and therefore will not disrupt pipes and sewers. Flushing items such as baby wipes, sanitary towels, tampons and condoms can cause blockages which disrupt your entire area.
See our recent video from a call-out to an apartment building with concerns about constant blockages throughout the building. We removed over 65,000 litres of wastewater which was being blocked by a buildup of baby wipes.
Products marketed as "flushable"
As mentioned above, toilet paper is the only thing we should flush. Although a product may be marketed as “flushable”, it may be harmful to the water system. For example, many cat litter products are marketed as flushable, however, these products are designed to be absorbent and therefore swell in your pipes and causes blockages. Cat faeces also contain parasites which are harmful to humans so allowing it into your domestic waterways is a health hazard.
Is your daily routine drain-friendly? Have you been mistreating your drains without knowing it? If you’re guilty of any of the things we’ve mentioned, pop over to our Drain Cleaning service page to read more about having your drains professionally cleaned and undoing some damage!