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    What can and can’t go down the drain?

    Think twice before committing any of these sink sins

    Hannah | Oneflare

    If you really think that the drain pipes in your sink are connected to some kind of black hole that makes the remains of food magically disappear, you should know that you are infinitely wrong. The last thing we all want to do after a meal is wash the dishes; we often become too lazy to properly dispose of all the small food scraps and find ourselves shoving them down the drain (guilty, right?).

    It’s more than clear that we should not throw out any solid element for simple ecological reasons but when it comes to organic things, we imagine that they will disintegrate easily with a little water. After all, how much damage can they really do? Answer: A LOT.

    Save yourself the trouble and dispose of the below elsewhere.

    Can you put bleach down the sink?

    Pouring bleach down can be harmful if the bleach mixes with other residual chemicals in the system. Ensure bleach is diluted enough to remain safe with running water and small amounts of bleach at a time. Generally speaking, it is safe to pour bleach down the sink if you are connected to a mains water supply. If you are connected to a septic tank, any amount of bleach or drain cleaner can be very harmful to the septic’s ecosystem.

    Can you pour boiling water down the sink?

    Do not pour boiling water down the sink if you have PVC pipes as you can damage the piping. Also, be careful if you have a porcelain bowl as the boiling water can cause cracks in the surface. If you are pouring boiling water down the drain to try and clean away a blockage you may need additional products to help it along. Grease or food scraps may require manual unclogging, instead of just boiling water.

    Can you put fat down the sink?

    No. Even if the fat is in liquid form when it goes down the drain, it will soon cool in the cold pipes and harden. Over time this will collect and you will clog your drain. If you need to dispose of fat the best way is to pour it off into a container or dish, let it solidify and then dispose of it in the garbage. If the fat does make it to the water treatment plant it is very difficult to clean out of the water supply and often will end up our waterways and oceans.

    Can you dump grease down the sink?

    No. Any kind of grease or fat down the drain will likely harden and set in the pipes. Over time this will lead to blockages and smelly drains. Avoid putting any grease or fat down the drain by setting it aside to cool and harden, before disposing of in the garbage bin wrapped in paper.

    Can you put dry ice down the sink?

    Dry ice in any confined space can cause dangerous levels of carbon dioxide. Also, due to the extremely cold temperature, dry ice in the sink or down the drain can cause damage to the surface and linings of the fixtures. Avoid putting it down the sink and let it sit in a well-ventilated area until it is completely melted/evaporated.

    Source: Shutterstock

    Can you pour chemicals down the sink?

    As a general rule of thumb, any chemicals that are not designed to go down down the drain (drain cleaner, toilet cleaner etc) should not be discarded in large quantities in this way. There is a high risk of pipes, especially older pipes, being damaged and potentially leaking contaminants into local drinking water supplies or groundwater. Lower the risk of damage or contaminants by reading the instructions on the individual product for the best way to discard.

    Can you pour ammonia down the sink?

    Ammonia is found in a lot of cleaning products and is not considered a hazardous household chemical. It is safe to be poured down the sink, however, ensure it is well diluted by running cold water at the same time. There should be more water going down the drain than ammonia. You can also flush it down the toilet safely. Never mix bleach and ammonia together as they create a harmful gas when combined. If you have a septic system, avoid flushing or pouring ammonia out as it can end up seeping into the earth and contaminating the groundwater.

    Can you pour cooking oil down the sink?

    Avoid pouring any kinds of oil or fat down the sink. When oil cools down it will harden and can create blockages in the pipes. It can also lead to a smelly sink if you make a habit of pouring fats and oils down the drain.  Over time this will lead to blockages and smelly drains. Avoid putting any grease or fat down the drain by setting it aside to cool and harden, before disposing of in the garbage bin wrapped in paper.

    For cooking oil, first let it cool down in the pan, then wipe it up with a paper towel and throw it where it belongs – the bin. This applies to questions such as “can you pour vegetable oil down the sink?”, “can you pour olive oil down the sink?” and more.

    Source: Shutterstock

    Can you put baking soda down the sink?

    Baking soda is a great way to clear our a blocked or smelly sink. Pour a medium amount of baking soda down the drain followed by 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup hot water. Then cover the drain to ensure the chemical reaction happens in the train and not back up in the sink. Let it sit here for 5-10minutes and then flush with a kettle full of hot water.

    Can you pour milk down the sink?

    Milk won’t necessarily break or block your pipes. But it is extremely harmful to the environment, letting milk mix with water. The fact is that milk, decomposes, absorbs oxygen from the water, thereby depriving the microorganisms of the opportunity to breathe that live in this very water. As a result, we get a small man-made environmental disaster. And if our neighbours also sin by pouring milk into the sewerage system, the scale of the catastrophe grows. In England, by the way, such action is fined.

    Can you pour acetone down the sink?

    The short answer is no, and for reasonable justifications. Since acetone is a powerful, solvent, it might appear to be sensible to utilize it to unblock a clogged drain and it would be a simple method to dispose of acetone waste. Be that as it may, regardless of whether you’re probably going to dissolve what’s blocking the pipes, it most likely won’t stop there. Since acetone likewise dissolves numerous, PVC pipes are in danger of getting damaged.

    What about orange peels, am I good to just throw them down the drain?

    There is an urban myth: putting orange peels down your drain will make it smell fresh – it won’t. Why not dispose of them in the compost bin? It’ll save you a headache and you’ll get brownie points from Mother Nature for being environmentally friendly.

    Can you put coffee grounds down the sink?

    Urban Myth 2: coffee grinds can clear your pipes. Fact: coffee grinds mixed with the oil in your pipes is a sure-fire drain destroyer.

    Souce: Shutterstock

    Eggshells should be safe down the drain, am I right?

    No, you are not. On the other hand, it is very common to leave some eggshells in the sink and then open the faucet to let the smaller pieces run down the drain. However, they are another of the most harmful things for the useful life of the drain because the membrane of the shells can adhere to the walls of the pipes.

    Are tea leaves allowed down the drain?

    Tea may be good for us, but not so much for the drain. If you use loose leaf tea, make sure that as few leaves as possible make it down the drain as they can build up and create a large problem.

    What about semolina?

    Most kinds of pasta are made with semolina, which can become very sticky when wet which can create a hefty blockage if found in your pipes. When draining pasta in your sink make sure nothing but water makes it down the drain.

    Is it a good idea to run down Metamucil and other medication down the sink?

    Expired liquid medicine is not always best down the drain. Metamucil for example, can turn into ‘hard jelly’ and will be a nightmare to get rid of. Instead, read the manufacturers guide to disposal and save yourself a sick drain.

    Will potato peels be fine in the kitchen drain?

    Potato peels can become very sticky in water. Avoid getting into ‘sticky situations’ and place it in the compost bin with the orange peels.

    Jelly is supposed to go down the drain?

    Anything with gelatine in it is a no-go for your drain. There are 2 options – your tummy or the bin.

    Should I dump my leftover rice in the sink?

    Although grains of rice can be hard to keep track of, they can become a sludgy mess if they’re backed up in your drain. Try your hardest to avoid any of these trouble makers making their way down your sink.

    So what is and isn’t safe? Here’s a helpful summary of some of the more common queries. Try sticking it to your fridge to remind yourself next time you’re washing up to be kind to your pipes.

    ItemCan it go down the drain?
    BleachDiluted, and depending on your system
    Coffee/TeaYes, excluding grounds and leaves
    Anything you can drinkYes
    Leftover solid food No
    Fat/Grease No
    Dry iceNo
    Cleaning chemicals (aside from toilet/drain cleaner)Avoid
    Cooking oil (vegetable, olive oil etc.)No
    Baking sodaYes
    Fruit and vegetable peelsNo
    Egg shellsNo 
    Expired medicineNo

    Already committed these sink sins? We’ve got plumbers ready to help with any situation, simply post a job and we’ll help you get it sorted.

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