6 Things You Should Never Allow In Your Home’s Pipes

Sink Basin by Brett Hondow via Pixabay

The plumbing pipes are the arteries of your home and just like arteries, you want to be proactive in making sure they don’t clog. There can be some confusion about what can and cannot be allowed down your home’s drains. Below is a list of substances you should avoid flushing and draining into your pipes. Believe us, your plumber will thank you.

1. Food

Scrape those plates! Rinsing dishware and cookware is fine but chunks should not be allowed down the kitchen drain. Running water can create a good rush, but it’s not enough to get it all through the system. When the food breaks down, it becomes muck and clogs the pipes. Using a strainer basket over the drain can help catch anything accidentally left behind.

2. Grease

This food by-product may be mostly liquid, but you should never pour it down the drain or flush it through your toilet. Ever let a greasy pan sit after cooking meat? The grease solidifies as it cools, right? Well, it will do that in your pipes, and not only will it clog up your home’s pipes, but the sewer, as well. Out of the annual 36,000 sewer overflows in the U.S., fat and oil are the causes of 47% of them. So, if you don’t want sewer water backing up into your home and your neighbors’, dispose of grease in the trash.

3. Non-Biodegradable Wastes

Just as non-biodegradable wastes like plastic and glass are clogging up nature, they will also clog up your pipes. That’s why you need to be very careful around openings to your plumbing system. Take it from the girl who accidentally flushed a small perfume bottle when she was a teenager – you don’t want to get any of these things stuck in the plumbing. Not only will it take 50 to 1 MILLION years to go away, but you will also make someone very angry when they have to take apart the bathroom to get it out. #StillSorry

4. Wipes and Feminine Hygiene Products

Sometimes wipes and feminine hygiene products are advertised as “flushable”. Just ask your plumber – lies! All lies! These things can seriously clog your toilet and pipes. The only thing that should be put in your toilet are bodily wastes and toilet paper.

5. Medication

For years, people have flushed unwanted medication down the toilet. What they didn’t realize was that medicine was going through the filtration system and entering the water supply. It eventually made its way into drinking water and, consequently, humans and animals. So, while medicine may dissolve and not clog pipes, it’s a very bad idea to flush it. Instead, dispose of it at a local drop-off point hosted by a pharmacy or medical center.

6. Paint

Paint is another one of those liquids that doesn’t break down like you would expect. Not to mention, paint (and paint thinner) can get into the water supply, just as medication does. If you don’t want to be drinking all those chemicals, best to dispose of it at a local hazardous waste drop-off point. As a good rule of thumb, don’t pour any chemicals down your drain. Not only do they affect the drinking water, if you have a septic system, they can kill the good bacteria that helps to breakdown wastes and can cause the system’s parts to corrode.


Remember, just because something can fit inside a pipe does not mean that it should be flushed or allowed to go down the drain. Substances can build up over time and clog the passageways of your plumbing system and sewer. This can be very expensive to fix but is completely preventable.

Ever had to replace plumbing due to a clogged pipe? How was your experience?

6 Things You Should Never Allow In Your Home's Pipes

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About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.