Tossing things down the drain when you’re in a hurry might seem convenient—after all, if it goes down, it’s basically like throwing it away, right? Wrong. When you toss the wrong things down your drain, they can get caught in your plumbing, potentially contributing to severe clogs. At Steve’s Plumbing and Heating, it’s our job to keep your plumbing functioning as efficiently as possible. To help you keep your pipes in top form, we’ve put together this list of eight things you should never put down your drains. Take a look.


Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds don’t belong in your drain—ever. You may have heard it might be a good idea to toss some grounds down the drain to help mitigate pipe odors, but if you heed that recommendation, you’ll end up with a clogged drain. Rather than tossing grounds down your disposal, pour them on your outdoor plants, compost them, or throw them in the trash.


Cooking Oil or Grease

Cooking oil and grease stick to the inside of your pipes, where they collect small particles that make their way into your drain. As these particles accumulate, they also stick the inside of your pipes, eventually resulting in a clog. Grease and oil trap food particles, hair, and anything else that they come into contact with, so avoid dumping anything oily down your drains. Instead, collect grease and leftover oil in a small, disposable container. When the container is full, toss the entire thing in the trash.


Paper Towels

If you’ve ever substituted paper towels for toilet paper in a pinch, think twice before you take that route again. Paper towels don’t dissolve the same way toilet paper does; in fact, they break down much slower. As a result, they can cause clogs in your septic system that may necessitate sewer repair. While they may be biodegradable, your plumbing system simply cannot handle an accumulation of paper towels. Always toss used paper products (except toilet paper) in the trash.


Sanitary Products

Even if your sanitary product packaging states the products are flushable or septic safe, that doesn’t mean you should flush them down the toilet. The cotton used in these products can very easily snag on anything inside your pipes, getting caught and contributing to a massive pipe clog. Instead of flushing these items, dispose of them in the trash.



You might be surprised to learn that flour is bad for your plumbing—but it can be a major contributor to clogged drains. Because flour is very starchy, it can stick to the interior of your pipes. Take a second to think about what happens when you mix flour with water to make a basic dough; you get a thick, sticky paste, right? Flour accumulation can result in terrible pipe clogs and can even stop your garbage disposal blades from spinning. Always toss flour and any other starchy foods in the compost or trash.


Fibrous Foods

Foods like celery and asparagus that contain tough, fibrous strands should never go down your drain. Even if you have a garbage disposal, those fibrous strands can get caught in the blades and prevent the apparatus from functioning. And if you don’t have an in-sink disposal, fiber can catch inside your pipes where it will contribute to a clog. If you’ve ever pulled a big, gooey chunk of old hair out of your drain, a food fiber clog looks much the same—but smells even worse. Compost fibrous foods or toss them in the trash.



Install hair traps on your drains if you have trouble with any type of hair making its way into your pipes. Long-haired ladies aren’t the only culprits here—facial hair is just as bad. Hair accumulates quickly inside a drain because it gets caught on virtually anything. Do your best to collect hair with your hands while shampooing, and if you shave over the sink, sweep up fallen hair and toss it in the trash.


Contact Steve’s Plumbing and Heating for Your Plumbing Needs

If you’ve discovered a hopelessly clogged drain, it’s time to contact the professionals at Steve’s Plumbing and Heating in central Wisconsin. We’re standing by 24/7, so whenever you need our assistance, we’ll be there. Whether you need professional drain cleaning, plumbing repair, or even sewer repair, our knowledgeable and experienced team can help. For more information about our drain maintenance and plumbing services, or to schedule your appointment, contact our team today. Or, if you’re ready to get started, feel free to request your free estimate for service.