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clogged plumbing

Have you ever tried to unclog a drain, only to find out it was a 5-foot boa constrictor causing the clog?

Not many people have, but many people have had a clogged drain in their lifetime.

People throw anything down the drain and expect it to go away magically, sometimes it does, and other times you are left with a major problem.

Looking for items that you shouldn’t put down the drain to avoid clogged plumbing, keep reading on!

1. Hair

Sometimes it is hard to avoid getting hair down the drain. It happens without you even knowing sometimes.

Other times, for example, when you are shaving, you just allow it to run down the drain. It is recommended to get a “hair catcher” to make sure you are not leaving any behind and putting your plumbing at risk.

Hair sticks to everything, it is inevitable. The longer the hair, the more likely it is to stick to other items like soap and dirt that clog your drains.

2. Grease

When you are pouring oil or grease down the drain, it is in liquid form. But most fats, when cooled, will turn back to a solid and clog your drain.

Grease will buildup over time, causing poor drainage. The more grease that gets poured down the drain, the more likely it is that you will need a drain cleaning.

You should never ever pour grease down the drain. The best thing you can do with grease is to let it cool off and solidify. Then, just throw it out in the trash for proper disposal.

3. Mineral Buildup

Depending on where you live, you may be living in an area with particularly hard water. This hard water contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and brass.

These minerals can cause serious damage to your plumbing system. One way of noticing to see if you have hard water is checking to see if you have stains on your sink or tub. These are usually caused by one of the minerals and can be costly to repair.

It is recommended if you see stains and watermarks to get a water softener to help remove these minerals and prevent further damage.

If you believe you have mineral buildup and are not sure what to do about it, contact a professional, and they can help you make the right decision.

4. Wipes and Diapers

Sometimes it seems like the only solution to getting rid of diapers and wipes is to flush them down the drain. This can cause severe damage and clog your plumbing.

Cosmetic wipes might seem like the same consistency as toilet paper, but they are not. Cosmetic wipes do not break down like toilet paper in water and can cause damage to not only your plumbing, but they can clog pipes wherever they travel.

When cosmetic wipes and diapers clog your plumbing, you will most likely need to call a plumber. These items do not come out easily and will not be easily handled with a plumber.

5. Toys

Sometimes it is out of your control; before you know it, you hear the toilet running and see your child standing over it saying “oops.”

Out of curiosity, children will flush anything to see what happens to it. Even their favorite toys they will sacrifice to see what happens when it goes down the water.

If this happens to you, it is not recommended to stick your hand down the drain to see if you can find what toy they decided to flush this time. It’s best to contact the professionals in this case and let them do what they do best.

6. Hygiene Products

Many personal hygiene products you assume can be flushed down the toilet shouldn’t be.

Many of these products will not break down and can cause serious damage to your drains and pipes. Some of the items that should be avoided include:

  • Dental Floss
  • Q-tips
  • Toothbrush
  • Wipes
  • Any paper product other than toilet paper

Some of these items can be easier to unclog than others. But they can all cause drain clogs, and you should avoid throwing them down the drain.

Wipes will not break down in the water and can also leak oils that will buildup over time and clog your drain.

Feminine products should also not be put down the drain as they can clogs. Tampons especially should be avoided as they absorb water and swell up. The swelling can cause clogs in not only your pipes and drains but can cause damage to water treatment facilities as well.

The National Association of Clean Water Agency has started a campaign called “Toilets Are Not Trashcans” to help protect clean drinking water and protect the pipes, pumps, and plants.

The campaign has stated that “Products such as wipes, paper towels, and feminine hygiene products should not be flushed, but often are, causing problems for utilities that amount to billions of dollars in maintenance and repairs.” And those repairs get passed on to the consumer.

It’s best to avoid flushing these items down the toilet and save everyone the hassle.

7. Food

It seems impossible to not put food down the drain. When you are cleaning out your refrigerator, it’s easy just to wash everything down the drain and call it a day, but too much of this food is being left in the pipes and causing clogs.

Certain foods that should be avoided going down the drain include:

  • Fruit Peels – These peels are very hard to break down and most likely will sit in your drain until a clog happens.
  • Starches – This includes potatoes, oats, pasta, rice, and cereal. The reason you should avoid putting these down the drain is that starches swell and can clog pipes.
  • Eggshells –  Eggshells do not break down, and when crushed, can create a sand-like texture that will cause damage to drains.

Not sure if food particles are safe to wash down the drain? Err on the side of safety and just toss them in your trash or compost.

Further Assistance For Clogged Plumbing

If you only take one thing away from this article, it should be this:

Avoid putting these items down the drain at all costs. And, if you are unsure if something can go down the drain, it’s probably best to avoid it.

If you are experiencing clogged plumbing or any drain issues, contact us, and we can help!

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