5 Things You Should Never Send Down Your Pipes

Since the advent of garbage disposals several years ago, people have increasingly thought of their household drains as if they were trash receptacles. It is convenient to be able to send some material swirling on it's way out of your house, and at Dauenhauer Plumbing, we install garbage disposals for many clients. That said, here are a few things that you might be tempted to toss down the drain or flush down the toilet that are a bad idea.

  1. Bacon grease. It's amazing how fast hot, liquid grease cools and becomes a congealed solid in your pipes. Even if you run hot water with it, the grease will build up a sticky residue on the walls of your pipes that will grab hold of other solids like flypaper. Eventually, you'll be dealing with a clogged drain pipe. Either save your bacon grease to season some beans, or find a better way to dispose of it.

  2. Coffee grounds. It seems pretty safe, doesn't it? After all, coffee grounds are such small particles, surely they'll run right through your pipes, right? Wrong. Remember our flypaper example with the grease? Because coffee grounds are so small, they are the first things to get grabbed by a pipe wall made sticky with grease, conditioner or other residue. Espresso grounds are worse, because they are such a fine grind that they almost make a cement when wet. It's much smarter to add used coffee grounds to your compost heap.

  3. Old prescriptions. This one seems fairly obvious, but many people do it anyway. Adding antibiotics or other drugs to the water system can do unpredictable and unpleasant things to the ecosystem. Contact your local pharmacy and they'll tell you how to dispose of your old prescriptions safely.

  4. Automotive fluids. As with prescriptions, this one seems like a no-brainer, but we still see people sending toxic substances down their pipes and into the local water system. In addition to the health and safety hazard, automotive fluids like oil and antifreeze can corrode, damage or clog your pipes, requiring a licensed plumber like Dauenhauer come out and fix the problem. If you're not sure how to safely dispose of used oil or other fluids, contact your local solid waste company, a local mechanic, or even the store where you purchased the oil.

  5. Kitty litter. We've noticed that a few brands of kitty litter are now advertising themselves as "flushable.” Don't you believe it. It's a bad idea for the same reason that coffee and espresso grounds are a bad idea. The last thing you need is a clump of litter creating a concrete-like clog in your pipes.


We hope that you follow these tips, and your pipes stay flowing freely. However, if you do end up needing drain cleaning at some point, don't worry. It happens to the best of us. Just call Dauenhauer, any hour, and we'll be right out to get things flowing again.