It may be tempting to throw a lot of things down the drain.  However, abusing your plumbing system may end up costing you big in the long run.  Avoid this costly disaster by taking a look at our top 5 common household items and materials that should never go down the drain.

Coffee Grounds

  • Your garbage disposal may be able to handle used coffee grounds, but your drain can easily become clogged with overall buildup. This could eventually cause issues for a septic system if you have one.
  • Used coffee grounds can be used as compost or should be disposed of in the garbage.

Paint & Motor Oils

  • Disposing of paints and motor oils down the drain can pollute the environment, contaminate water & soil, and can even clog pipes after drying. In some places it may be illegal.
  • Oils can be disposed of through a local recycling or waste center.
  • Paints should be allowed to harden before being thrown in the trash. Larger amounts of paint can be donated to local charities who use the materials for community projects.

Grease, Fat, & Oils

  • Grease or fats left over after frying that are put down the drain will most likely cool and solidify inside your pipes. This can cause clogs and rancid smells.
  • These types of oils should be disposed of in a container or wiped up with a paper towel. They can also be reused for cooking.


  • Prescription medications that are disposed of in drains can cause significant damage to the environment and animals. Once they enter plumbing systems, they can pollute groundwater and soil, along with harming livestock, marine animals, or other wildlife along the way.
  • The EPA recommends bringing unused medications to drug take-back locations, like pharmacies. They can also be disposed of in the trash when mixed with kitty litter or coffee grounds and put in a disposable container.

Flour, Pasta, Rice, & Eggs

  • Starches like pasta and rice tend to swell and clump together when wet and that can mean blockages in your drain.
  • Eggshells when wet become sticky and will easily coat your drain or disposal blades. Once this coating hardens, it can be very difficult to get rid of.
  • Flour and water or extra dough can lead to a glue-like paste that will coat pipes and harden, causing them to clog.
  • Where possible, food scraps should be used for compost. Think carefully before sending other food down the drain.  Use the trash where possible.

Being more aware of what goes down the drain will better protect your home’s plumbing system and your wallet.  Take care and be watchful for clogs.  Act quickly if you do notice a problem.  Putting in some extra time and vigilance may save you a lot of money in the future.


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