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Your sink IS NOT a garbage can.
We’ll say it again: your sink is not a garbage can. Just because the occasional meal remnant makes its way down your sink doesn’t mean this should be your go-to for disposing of anything on the smaller side. Even liquids don’t always belong in the sink. Some can clog your pipes, creating major -- read: costly plumbing issues
The solution? Treat your sink like a sink, period. And that means never putting these common items down your sink. When you need to dispose of them, use the trash can, even if it seems tempting to simply pour or rinse down the drain…
#1. Grease and oils
This is one of the most problematic items going down sinks -- and it makes sense. Grease and other oils are, often, liquid or close to, making it easy to pour or rinse right into your kitchen drain.
The problem? These items don’t typically stay in their liquid form. Instead, they harden and solidify as they cool, resembling lard or Crisco. Think about that wreaking havoc on your drain and pipes -- it’s hard, it’s slippery and it’s tough to fully remove, and that can cause serious back ups.
The alternative? Let grease or oils cool in a pan, mason jar or other heat-safe dish, they dump into your trash can. If it’s already in your sink, wait for it to cool then wipe it up and out with a paper towel and toss it in the garbage.
Different peels can cause different issues -- but, universally, assume these shouldn’t go down your drain. Potato peels, for example, are very starchy and can create thick pastes in your drain as you run your sink. Fruit peels and other veggie peels can stick together and stick to your pipes, causing serious blockages.
In that vein, avoid rinsing the stickers from fruits and veggies down the drain. While they seem innocent enough they, too, stick. Worse, they take years to break down fully, meaning when they do flush out they’re simply adding to landfills -- not ideal.
#3. Coffee grounds
Like peels, coffee grounds can bind together and block pipes and drains over time. Don’t rinse them. Instead, toss them in the trash or, better, collect grounds and add them to your compost. Plants love coffee grounds, believe it or not. Drains, though, don’t.
If you have a garbage disposal, eggshells can blunt blades, acting like tiny bits of sandpaper that eventually wear down your disposal. And if you don’t have a garbage disposal? Definitely don’t rinse shells down the drain. While they seem thin and lightweight, eggshells can obstruct pipes and cause costly, long-term damage.
#5. Starchy foods
#6. Seeds and kernels
Cherry pits. Pumpkin seeds. Chia seeds. Corn kernels. They wind up in your sink and, suddenly, they’re making their way down the drain. Given their size and slippery feel, it’s easy for them to wind up in your pipes -- and that’s a problem. No matter how small the seeds, grains and kernels, these items can cause major damage as they expand in water and, of course, are pretty hard and tough to break down to begin with. Do yourself and your drains a favor and toss these in the garbage or, again, the compost pile.
Got a back up? Whether it’s coffee grounds or cherry pits or potato peels, Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing can help. Get in touch to schedule a free consultation.