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What Not to Put Down a Drain
By plumbing expert David Cruz, at MyJobQuote
"We're all guilty of putting things down the drain without a second thought. But did you know there are some things that you should never put down the drain? Some items can end up costing you a hefty amount in repairs if you're not careful.
There is no one that's seen this more than at MyJobQuote.co.uk - Drain problems are some of the most common plumbing issues that need to be dealt with. In the following list of items that you should never put down the drain, some of the items may surprise you. If you want to avoid some sizeable plumbing costs down the line, make sure to keep these items in mind and dispose of them appropriately rather than putting your plumbing at risk.
Grease, oils, and fats
Grease, oils, and fats are three substances that you should never, ever put down the drain. Many people make this mistake, and it's one of the most common causes of plumbing problems in a kitchen drain. Grease, oils and fats act as a binder for other types of drain waste and can create thick, sticky glops that coat your drain pipes, preventing anything from being able to pass through. The best thing you can do with these substances is leave them aside and allow them to cool before placing them in the bin.
Harsh chemicals such as car fluids or cleaners can be very dangerous if you put them down the drain. While they won't usually cause clogs in the drain, they could cause damage to your pipework which can result in some problems down the line. Also, these substances will make their way into the water, which could eventually make their way into the environment, causing harm to animals and wildlife. Check the packaging on your products to find out how to dispose of these substances appropriately. If you want to avoid these problems altogether, consider switching to natural cleaning products.
Coffee grounds are one of the most common items that can block a drain. Most people believe that they are small enough to flush through your pipework easily. However, they are not water soluble and over time, the grounds can build up in your pipework, causing a blockage. If you want to avoid hiring a plumber to come and unclog your drain, you should dispose of your coffee grounds in the bin or, if you have a garden, they are very beneficial for plants, so composting is a great way to dispose of them.
It is extremely dangerous to put any drugs or medications down your drain. Wastewater treatment plants can't remove medications from the water, which means they will enter the environment and could even return to our drinking water. This can lead to a range of problems. Instead, you should safely dispose of your medications as recommended by your doctor.
Paper towels and cotton balls
Even though paper towels and cotton balls are biodegradable, this doesn't mean that they will dissolve immediately. These products are designed to be absorbent, and this makes them one of the worst culprits for clogging up your pipework. If you use paper towels or cotton balls, it's best to throw them in the bin once you've used them. Alternatively, choose washable cotton towels that can be reused over and over again.
Feminine hygiene products
Many women still flush their sanitary products down the toilet, despite warnings not to do so. Even if the product is advertised as 'flushable', you should still avoid placing it down the toilet as it can still cause clogs in the pipework. Feminine hygiene products won't dissolve in the water. This means that they can potentially become stuck in the pipework. If they don't get stuck, they could make it all the way to the wastewater treatment site, which can cause problems in that area. As a general rule, all feminine hygiene products should be thrown away in the bin. It's not worth the risk of a hefty plumbing bill.
Paint can be extremely problematic when put down the drain. This includes all types of paint. There are many toxins in paint that can end up in the water supply, so paint is usually seen as toxic waste. Even the smallest amounts can be problematic. The paint can make its way to lakes and streams, causing problems for animals, wildlife and the environment. In most areas, there are certain rules on how to dispose of paint properly. It's best to check the packaging to find out the most appropriate means of disposal. If you're unsure, consider contacting your local authority for advice on the best way to dispose of your paints.
Flushable cat litter
Even though some cat litters are advertised as 'flushable', the truth is, they're far from flushable. They are known to clog up drains and can cause a range of issues in your plumbing work. Additionally, cat litter can harbour a range of germs and bacteria from your cat's faeces. These types of bacteria are resistant to chemical treatments used to treat water, meaning the bacteria will eventually make their way into the water supply. This could be a threat to many animals and wildlife.
It's been found that around 20% of men flush their used condoms down the toilet. Condoms are made from rubber which is not a biodegradable substance. When you flush a condom down the toilet, it won't simply dissolve in the water. Instead, it can either get stuck in your pipework, or it could end up floating around in the water supply. Flushed condoms can eventually make their way into the ocean, which can be very harmful to marine life. It is estimated that it would take around 30 years in total for condoms to break down in the ocean. The best thing you can do with old condoms is throw them away in the bin.
It's safe to assume most people won't purposefully put produce stickers down the drain. However, they can easily slip down the drain accidentally when washing fruits or vegetables. This can be a problem as these stickers are usually made from plastic and, therefore, are not biodegradable. When washed down the drain, these stickers can combine with other drain waste, which can eventually block the drain. If possible, try not to forget about those stickers. Remove them and dispose of them in the bin before washing your fruits and vegetables to prevent them from accidentally making their way into your drain."
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17th August 2023