6 Things to Never Pour Down Your Pipes

eggshells in a metal sink

The sink drains and toilets in your home often pull double duty as trash cans. You might use a paper towel and casually flush it, pour grease in the kitchen sink after cooking a big meal, or let hair go right down the shower drain. Well, all of these things are bad for your pipes.

Find out what you should actually never put down your pipes to avoid clogs, backups, and issues that could create a great deal of damage in the long run. Start treating your drains a lot better and you'll start saving money on plumbing problems that you don't need.

What Not to Put Down Your Pipes

Kitchen scraps, paper products, and many other things shouldn't go down your pipes at all. Find out which common items you should never be putting in the sink or flushing down the toilet and save yourself a lot of future grief by avoiding some pretty big plumbing problems.


They seem so fragile and they shatter easily, so it seems reasonable that they can be washed right down the sink. But this is wrong.

Eggshells have sharp edges that could allow them to get caught up in the pipe, rather than sliding smoothly down it. These little pieces of shell can, in turn, capture pieces of food, hair, and debris that eventually becomes a clog.


greasy pan in sink under running water

It's common practice to pour this morning's bacon grease down the kitchen sink drain before you clean the pan. Get out of this habit immediately. Grease should not be poured down your sink at all. Grease coats the inside of the pipe on its way down.

As it cools, the grease hardens. It becomes a thick residue that builds up inside the pipes over time. This can lead to serious clogs. Instead, allow the grease to cool and throw it away in the trashcan. Alternately, you can take the pan with the grease outside and empty it into the grass.

Oil-baed products and grease of all kinds will do this. Mayonnaise, salad dressing, and butter should also never be poured down the drain, if you can help it.


No type of medication or drugs, legal or illegal, should be flushed down the toilet or put down the drain. This won't cause a clog or plumbing problem in most cases but it will cause those chemicals to break down and leak back into the drinking water.

You can properly dispose of medication and controlled substances at the pharmacy or the police department.

Coffee Grounds

coffee grounds and mug in sink

Many plumbers say that coffee grounds are the source of many clogged drains. Always put your coffee grounds in the trashcan or in the compost pile. Coffee grounds are a very rich fertilizer for your outdoor garden and landscaping areas.

So-called "flushable" items. Baby wipes, makeup wipes, feminine products, and cat litter that claim to be flushable still should never be flushed. Despite the promises, these items do not always properly break down in the water and remain in large pieces that clog your pipes. Go ahead and throw these items in the trash, rather than trying to take a shortcut.

Paper Towels

It seems natural that if toilet paper can be flushed, paper towels can be flushed as well. But these two items are not the same, even when they're sold in the same aisle at the grocery store. Paper towels do not break down in water the same way that toilet paper does, so they're much more likely to cause clogs.

Pipe Cleaning Liquid

It may seem strange but pipe cleaning fluids may actually do a great deal of damage to your pipes. These chemical formulas are designed to eat away at clogs, which they do. The trouble is, they can also eat right through some pipes. This can create holes and damage in the pipes that create leaks.

The leaking water will attract plant roots, which can then grow into your pipes and cause massive damage. All this may lead to you replacing your drain line, which requires busting up floors or the ground in order to access these lines. The associated repair costs are huge. Try a natural option instead.