13 Everyday Items to Never Put Down Your Drain

A girl looking into a clogged drain.
Some Things Belong in the Trash

Curious to know what is okay and what is not okay to flush down your drain? If so, you’ve come to the right place. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pomona Valley, we encounter household plumbing issues every single day due to avoidable mistakes. Some of the most common plumbing problems we run into are caused by individuals flushing something that should have gone in the trash. Today, we’re here to discuss 13 everyday items that you should never put down your drain.

Cotton Balls & Paper Towels

Sure, paper towels and cotton balls are biodegradable. Over time, they will eventually dissolve. However, they won’t dissolve as quickly as you may think. Designed as absorbents, cotton balls, and paper towels are naturally predisposed to clog pipes. Prevent this scenario by putting them in the trash bin.


Anything made of rubber isn’t biodegradable, which means it won’t dissolve in water. Therefore, when a rubber object gets stuck in your plumbing, it will remain there until someone gets it out. If a piece of rubber gets lodged, it is just a matter of time until a significant plumbing problem occurs. In most instances, the only way to clear an obstructed pipe is by using HydroScrub® jetting technologies or a cutting-edge plumbing snake. You’ll likely need a professional plumber to perform these tasks, and the rubber will still end up adrift in the local water supply.

Chemical Cleaners

From household cleaners to car fluids, toxic chemicals can corrode your pipes. Even worse, they will pollute the water supply. We recommend checking the product labels for disposal guidelines.

Flushable Kitty Litter

Sadly, the description of certain kitty litter products as “flushable” can be misleading. Despite the valiant attempts of manufacturers to make cat litter soluble, many “flushable” litter products still wreak havoc on drains and septic systems. To avoid a clogged drain, we recommend never flushing cat litter of any kind down any toilet or sink. Furthermore, cat litter contains bacteria resistant to chemical water treatments. This means it can contaminate the water supply and harm aquatic animals.

Coffee grounds

Another prevalent cause of clogged kitchen pipes is coffee grounds. When wet, coffee can develop adhesive-like properties and get stuck in your piping. The idea that ground coffee particles are too fine to get stuck in pipes is a common misconception that gets many households in trouble.

Grease, Fat, & Oil

Avoid flushing grease, fat, and oil down your drains at all costs. After all, they are responsible for over 47 percent of all sewer overflows. These three thick and sticky ingredients will naturally bind to debris and create significant plumbing woes as they coat your pipes. The next time you need to discard meat fat, bacon grease, and olive oil, wipe the substance up with a paper towel or let it harden in a jar before throwing it away.


Eggshells appear harmless. However, when a kitchen garbage disposal grinds up an eggshell, the tiny bits can get stuck to grease, fat, and oily substances. If this clump of gunk gets large enough, it can obstruct your pipes.

Produce Stickers

Another seemingly harmless culprit of drain clogs is a produce sticker. These stickers can attach to your pipes and even obstruct wastewater treatment filters, causing significant complications with the equipment we rely on to treat city water.


This advice is more concerned with public health than plumbing. For many years, it was considered safe to flush unused medications down the toilet. This decision was seriously misguided – contaminating our water supply and streams with the hazardous toxins and ingredients in pharmaceutical products.


Most localities have strict rules and regulations prohibiting the disposal of water- and oil-based paint down the drain. We urge you to dispose of excess paint at a hazardous waste facility instead. Even rinsing a paintbrush in the sink will pollute the water supply and harm your plumbing system. Take the eco-conscious route and avoid sending toxic paint residues down your pipes altogether.

Avoid Drain Clogs by Making That Extra Effort

We’ve all confronted the temptation to rinse something down that drain instead of discarding it properly. We hope that by understanding the long-term consequences – both to your plumbing system and the environment at large – you’ll think twice before taking detrimental shortcuts. Take responsible action and keep harmful products out of your pipes and the water supply. The decision will pay dividends over time.

Even if you take every precaution and avoid flushing harmful products down your drain, clogged pipes can still occur. If your plumbing system gets obstructed, don’t panic. If you want to attempt an immediate fix, we recommend giving the old-fashioned plunger a try. In addition to toilet plungers, there are also plungers specifically designed for kitchen/bathroom sinks and tubs.

If plunging doesn’t succeed, give our trusted team a call! Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pomona Valley is here to deliver affordable plumbing services fast and seamlessly. With quality technicians, quick response times, and dependable guarantees, we are proud to be your go-to local solution for plumbing maintenance and repairs.

Let us unclog your pipes today! Give us a call or contact us online anytime to schedule an appointment!