Don’t Pour It Down the Sink – Do This Instead

How to Avoid Ruining Your Sink’s Plumbing

Even if you know of some items that shouldn’t go down the drain, it’s essential to understand that there are several things that can cause major problems for both you and the Memphis sewer and drainage system.

Keep in mind the things that are OK to drain, such as:

  • Coffee (no grounds)
  • Milk
  • Tea
  • Juice
  • Soda (any drinkable liquid)

We Want to Help You Avoid a Clogged Drain

We get tons of calls about clogged drains, perhaps more than any other call. With our 50+ years in the trade, we've seen just about every clog imaginable.

We want to help you avoid clogged drains - so in this blog, we've:

  • Gathered a list of the common things people tend to dispose of improperly,
  • Why you shouldn’t dispose of these things down your drain, and
  • How to dispose of everything properly (in some cases, there are useful recycling opportunities!)

Items That You Should Leave Out of the Drain

Dispose of Kitchen Grease Properly

There are two types of grease that you’ll often find in the kitchen (yellow and brown). Both types of grease should go down the drain.

Yellow grease is used as cooking oil from range hood filters, grills, and fryers. This type of grease has not encountered water and can be recycled.

Save yellow grease, like when you make bacon, in a refrigerated container for:

  • Cooking eggs
  • Greasing sheet pans for baking
  • Greasing grill grates for grilling
  • A replacement butter for grilled cheese sandwiches

Brown grease consists of fats, oils, and greases (FOG) created from food preparation and dishwashing.

You can dispose of this grease by collecting it in a container or makeshift tin foil bowl, letting it cool and coagulate, and then tossing the container into the trash.

A couple more ways to repurpose grease are to add small amounts to the compost bin or season your cast iron cookware.

Coffee Grounds - Should Not Go Down the Drain

Don’t let your used grounds go down the sink with that leftover coffee. Over time, those grounds will build up and ruin your plumbing. Instead, compost them!

Or if compost isn’t your style, you can reuse coffee grounds for:

  • Fertilizer on top of the soil or mixed right into the soil
  • A homemade body or face scrub
  • A hair product to scrub your scalp with before shampooing
  • Sprinkling around the garden for pest prevention
  • A refrigerator or freezer deodorizing

Rice or Pasta Should Not Go Down the Drain

Rice and pasta are more foods that should not go down your drain.

Both foods expand in water, which means it only makes sense not to put them into your drain where faucet water goes. Plus, they can clump together in your pipes and create difficult blockages.

Instead, toss rice and pasta that’s not going to be eaten into the trash instead.

Honey, Leave Me Out of the Drain

Should you pour honey down the drain? Our professional plumbers do not recommend putting honey down your drain.

Even though honey might seem like it’s liquid enough to go down a drain, it can clog the pipes with time because it's so sticky. Plus, honey can crystalize, creating a blockage that’s more solid and tricky to remove.

The same goes for melted caramel or other sticky ingredients that can turn into a solid. Not only will the sticky pieces create clogs within the pipes, but they also serve as a trap for other debris coming into the drain or sewer line. Over time, this can lead to a nasty clog.

You can safely get rid of these items by letting them cool into a jar or container before placing them in the trash.

Don’t Flush or Crush Medications

Whether they expired or you’re helping a loved one clean out their medicine cabinet, don’t take any medications and flush them or crush them to wash down the drain.

It might seem like a simple way to toss them and forget about them. But they’ll leak back into your drinking water or out to the environment and can cause harm. Everything you pour down the drain eventually gets into the food and water that you consume (as well as plants and animals).

Local pharmacies in Memphis as well as the police department will have medical waste disposal units for you to use to safely discard everything.

What Cleaning Products Should Go Down the Drain?

Chemical products (bleach, ammonia, chlorine, etc.) should never go into the drain to avoid water pollution.

Some chemicals interact with and react from exposure to another chemical, potentially creating something hazardous. An example would be ammonia and bleach, which will form a toxic gas.

The Shelby County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility is open for free to Shelby residents twice a week for proper waste drop-off. They reinforce the importance of the correct disposal methods to avoid both causing injuries to sanitation workers and contaminating septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems.

If you want to clean and deodorize your drain, instead of reaching for the chemical cleaners, pour a half cup of baking soda into the drain and then two quarts of hot water.

You Can Always Call Us for Drain Cleaning

If you've made a habit of pouring some of these items down your drain, we simply recommend that you stop.

If your have or ever experience a clogged drain, give us a call or contact us online for a drain cleaning service.

At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Memphis, we're locally owned and operated by Andy Johnson. Andy has a master plumbers license and has been a plumber for over 20 years. We've served thousands of customers throughout the Memphis area and would love to serve you, too.