Fact or Fiction: Busting the Plumbing Myths

We’ve all heard them. Those tales passed down from family to family. They’re the secret recipes to fixing every household problem you can think of. And more often than not, they’re wrong.

Let’s debunk a few, right here:

Myth 1: Lemons clean your garbage disposal

It is highly likely that you’ve heard that placing a lemon in the disposal will help clean it. Many people believe that if your drain smells clean, then it is clean. While it may make your drain smell better, it won’t actually get it clean. If you’re looking to clean it, you’ll need soap, warm water and a brush. You can save the lemons.

Myth 2: You can put anything down the disposal with running water

Let’s be clear on this – not everything was made to go down the disposal. Pastas, rice, coffee grinds and food with thick skins like pumpkins or bananas should be avoided. And in case you were wondering, the same goes for stones, metal and wood. You’d be surprised what people try to put down there. Hard or thick food items can cause damage to the disposal blades and/or block the drain. If it’s in doubt, be safe and use the trash.

Myth 3: Wet wipes and the toilet

One of the main reasons a plumber gets called out to a toilet blockage is that wet wipes have often been flushed down the toilet as a means of disposal. Not all wipes are biodegradable, like toilet paper. So they are simply flushed away and in the long term can potentially pile up and clog the drainage system resulting in the need for a plumber to be called out to remove the backlog of wipes.

Myth 4: Ice cubes sharpen garbage disposal blades

Actually, they won’t. What they will do is help clean the blades. And this could help if your sink is starting to smell. But no, they will not sharpen the blades. In fact, ice cubes could actually dull them.

Myth 5: Water flushes counter clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere

This notion is based on the Coriolis effect, and has been featured on shows like The Simpsons and Wedding Crashers. Unfortunately for those eager to find out, it doesn’t apply to such small bodies of water as found in a toilet. The actual direction of the flush is determined by the design of the toilet itself. Sorry.