What Goes Down The Drain And What Doesn’t

At Ace Pelizon Plumbing, we understand the importance of maintaining a well-functioning plumbing system. A part of that responsibility involves being mindful of what you pour down the drain. Whether it’s grease or other substances, you should know what doesn’t belong in your pipes. Our experts will walk you through the dos and don’ts of what you can safely dispose of down your drains. Follow these tips to avoid clogs and other plumbing headaches in the long run!

What To Avoid Putting Down Your Drain

While some items may not immediately clog your kitchen sink or toilet, they can still harm your plumbing system over time. Here’s a list of items that you should avoid pouring down the drain:

  1. Starchy Food: Rice, pasta, and oatmeal can swell and cause blockages if washed down the drain. Scrape these foods into the trash before rinsing your plate.
  2. Eggshells: Eggshells may seem harmless, but they can become trapped in other substances, causing blockages.
  3. Paint: Paint can cause immediate and severe drainage issues. Never rinse paint down the drain; follow the proper disposal methods on the product label.
  4. Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds are a frequent cause of kitchen sink blockages, as they are harsh on pipes and do not grind well in garbage disposals.
  5. Grease: Grease, fats, and oils are also common culprits for kitchen plumbing issues. When fats cool down, they congeal and rapidly clog drains. Instead, collect them in jars or cans and dispose of them in the trash.
  6. Flour: Avoid pouring flour down the drain, as it can create a dough-like consistency that leads to clogs.
  7. Harsh Cleaning Products: While these products may not clog your drains, they can damage your pipes and pose health risks. Always check the labels on cleaning products for proper disposal instructions.
  8. Flushable Products: Despite what some packaging may claim, items like feminine hygiene products and baby wipes can significantly strain your drain. It’s best to avoid flushing them altogether.
  9. Medication: Flushing or draining unused medication may not immediately clog your drains, but it can contaminate water supplies. Dispose of medication properly to protect your household and the environment.
  10. Paper Products: Avoid putting anything other than toilet paper down the drain. Items like paper towels, wipes, sanitary products, and packaging can lead to clogs that require professional assistance.
  11. Fibrous Fruits and Veggies: Tough-shelled fruits and vegetables like pumpkin and corn husks can quickly clog your kitchen sink. Dispose of them in the trash or compost.

Remember that many everyday products can clog your pipes, so think twice before pouring an unfamiliar substance the next time you do some cleaning.

Mainline Clogs: More Than Just A Clogged Sink

While minor drain clogs and obstructions may seem like simple issues, it’s essential to recognize the signs of a more severe problem: a mainline clog. A main sewer line blockage can lead to property damage and water contamination.

Look out for the following signs of this significant plumbing problem:

  • Sewage Backup: If water cannot flow through your main sewer line, sewage or wastewater will escape elsewhere, such as through your sewer cleanout or floor drains.
  • Multiple Backed-Up Drains: If multiple drains suddenly clog, especially if you haven’t experienced this issue before, you may be dealing with a mainline clog. You’ll notice several drains gurgling, draining slowly, or emitting foul odors.
  • Water Backup In The Shower: You may notice water backing up in your shower when you flush the toilet. The toilet may also overflow when using the dishwasher or washing machine. These are signs that displaced wastewater has nowhere to go.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s not the time for DIY fixes. Contact the professionals at Ace Pelizon Plumbing to prevent costly damage and protect your home and health.

Safe Vs. Harmful Substances

Not all items and substances are harmful to your drains. Some can actually help clean your pipes and contribute to their longevity. Here are common items you may wonder about pouring down the drain:


In small quantities, alcohol is generally safe to pour down the drain. If you need to dispose of a large amount, consider diluting it or staggering the drainage to avoid over-stressing your pipes.


While not as harmful as grease, Vaseline (petroleum jelly) can still lead to clogs and should be disposed of properly.


While milk may not damage your pipes and drains, it can harm the environment when poured down the drain. It’s best to dispose of it in containers or compost your milk.


Antifreeze should never be poured down the drain. Ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze, can harm your pipes and water supply. Dispose of it safely, following proper procedures.

Paint Thinner

Do not dispose of paint thinner down your drain. Like antifreeze, it can damage the pipes and contaminate your water supply. Follow the recommended disposal methods for paint thinner and other mineral solvents.


Ammonia is water-soluble and safe to drain, but it’s essential to dilute it with plenty of water to avoid harmful effects. Don’t mix it with other household products if you pour it down the drain.


Colas like Coke can serve as decent pipe cleaners due to their phosphoric acid content. They can help break down certain buildups in your pipes.


Vinegar is a natural cleaning remedy that is safe and beneficial for your drains. It can remove clogs and harmful bacteria that are causing foul smells.

Boiling Water

Boiling water is generally safe to pour down most drains, but exercise caution if you do it. Hot water can degrade the plastic seals on old and damaged pipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Explore these common questions about keeping your drains clean, or call us at Ace Pelizon Plumbing for further tips and tricks:

1. Can you use baking soda and vinegar to clean drains?

Vinegar and baking soda, along with hot water, is a helpful drain-cleaning solution for some clogs. While we do not recommend it as a long-term solution, it may treat minor blockages in your sink.

2. Why pour salt down the drain?

Salt can break down grease and emulsified fats. We recommend combining it with vinegar and hot water to help keep your pipes clear.

3. How do I get rid of foul drain smells?

To eliminate foul odors in your sink, combine baking soda and vinegar, boiling water with citrus, or a soap and water mixture. The key is to clean all buildup from disposals and drains, as this is typically what causes foul odors.

Contact Ace Pelizon Plumbing Today

At Ace Pelizon Plumbing, we have years of experience helping homeowners maintain healthy pipes and drains. Our plumbing services include drain-cleaning solutions that can prevent unexpected clogs. So, don’t wait until you’re ankle-deep in water; contact us today to learn how we can save you time, money, and stress. We’re here to ensure your plumbing runs smoothly so you can enjoy peace of mind at home!

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