It’s easy to think of your kitchen and bathroom sinks as mini-trash cans. That is, whenever you have substances or tiny items to get rid of, it’s simple to just wash them down a drain.

However, home plumbing systems and residential pipes are more vulnerable to damage than many people realize. On top of that, when you send certain substances down the drain, you could be hurting the environment or even contaminating your hometown’s drinking water.

Keep in mind, too, that your garbage disposal can’t handle all food waste — far from it. Garbage disposals are ideal for softer foods and thinner liquids. Many common kitchen items are just not garbage disposal-friendly.

With all of that in mind, here are some materials that you’ll never want to send down the drain.


Those little grains can lead to big problems. Grains of rice often stick to each other, and they can also expand. Thus, they can lead to pipe blockages and backups.


Like rice and other foods that are rich in starch, pasta swells. And, when pasta is stuck to residential pipes, that swelling can be quite problematic.

Coffee Grounds

It’s possible that your garbage disposal can process coffee grounds. However, if it can’t or if you’re not sure, it’s best to find a different way to get rid of them.

In fact, the chemical makeup of coffee grounds — in particular, the nitrogen they contain — is nutritional for plants. For that reason, you could always use coffee grounds in your compost.


If you routinely shave or cut your hair over a sink, you might be in the habit of sending little hairs down the drain. But hair can clog pipes, and you may soon have a leak detected inside your home.

Thus, it’s wise to gather your hair and throw it in a trash can. And that tip applies to bathtub and shower drains, too.


Yes, they break easily. Even so, pieces of wet eggshells can cling to pipes and harden. With that unwanted pipe coating, you may soon require some plumbing repair.

Cooking Fats and Cooking Oils

When they’re hot, cooking fats are liquid. However, when they cool, they tend to solidify. Consequently, you could have solid fats sticking to your pipes and wreaking havoc. Just as bad, those fats can emit strong and lingering odors.

Some cooking oils will stay in liquid form even when they cool. Nevertheless, they’re thick enough to stick to plumbing fixtures.

For these reasons, the fats and oils you cook with should go in your regular trash. As an alternative, you could keep leftover cooking oils in your freezer for a few weeks or so. Then you might sprinkle them on some of the dishes you make.


Avoid pouring paints of any kind into your sink. Paint is yet another substance that adheres to pipes. Even worse, the chemicals in paint become pollutants when they’re poured down the drain. They can harm soil and water supplies, hurting plants, animals, and people in the process.

If you have plenty of extra paint that you’ll never use, you might tell your social media friends about it. Someone may want to buy it from you. Or you could donate it to a worthy organization that’s in need of some paint.

Many other things should stay out of your drain as well, including flour, bleach, shreds of cotton, and medications. In short, if you don’t know whether a particular item could go down your pipes, just dispose of it in a different way.

TDT Plumbing: For All Your Pipe Needs

Have you been dealing with a clogged sink, or has there been a leak detected in your home? If you’re facing these or similar issues — and if you live in the Houston area — TDT Plumbing can help.

Whether you need a drain cleaning, leak repair, pipe replacement, or another type of plumbing repair, we’re always on call. We can fix the problem quickly, affordably, and effectively.

In the end, everyone makes mistakes. And, if you’ve been throwing harmful materials down your drain, we can make sure they never bother you again!