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  • Writer's pictureClearpath Drainage

3 Things To Never Put Down Your Drain

Updated: May 8

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you have leftover grease or oil after cooking dinner, and you dispose of it by pouring it down the kitchen sink? Or, have you ever had expired medication that you thought could be disposed of by flushing it down the bathroom toilet?

Improper disposal of certain materials down your home's plumbing system can lead to significant long-term costs. Many of us adopt the mindset "out of sight, out of mind" when it comes to our plumbing system, but it is crucial to know how to protect your pipes against clogs and damage.

As a starting point, here are three things you should never toss down your pipes: 

Fat, Grease and Oils

This point may seem obvious, but it never hurts to reiterate it. Fats, oils and grease are natural byproducts of cooking and are a leading contributor to drain clogs in your home. So, how do clogs occur if these substances are in a liquid state when dumped down the drain? When hot, it’s easier to wash them down your pipes since it’s liquid. However, as it cools, it solidifies and sticks to the interior walls of your pipes. Over time, this buildup can lead to blockages, restricting the flow of water and causing backups in your plumbing system. 

Grease and cooking oil can also attract other debris, such as food particles and hair, exacerbating the issue and potentially leading to costly repairs. Instead of pouring grease or cooking oil down the drain, it's advisable to let them cool and solidify in a container before disposing of them in the trash or recycling. This simple habit can help prevent clogs and ensure your plumbing system remains in tip-top shape. 


Tossing medications down the pipes might seem like a convenient solution, but it can be harmful to aquatic life. While some sources recommend flushing unused medications down the toilet instead of throwing them in the trash, this has led to various medications, such as paracetamol and birth control, contaminating water sources. This can pose risks to both wildlife and human health. That’s why it’s crucial to dispose of medication responsibly through designated take-back programs or by following pharmacy guidelines. This will not only keep our waterways clean but will also ensure your plumbing system doesn’t turn into a makeshift medicine cabinet. 

Coffee Grounds 

We understand you can’t live without your morning and afternoon cups of coffee, but coffee grounds are another major cause of blocked drains. Coffee grounds don’t break down easily in water and can accumulate in pipes, leading to blockages and potential backups in your plumbing system. If you dispose of food waste down the drain, it can cause blockages in your pipes. Even if blockages don't happen immediately, the gritty texture of food scraps can scratch and damage the pipes over time, leading to expensive repairs. To prevent plumbing issues, it's best to consider composting food waste or throwing it in the bin.

Signs Your Pipes are Blocked

While the thought of having a blocked drain may leave many homeowners with a headache, the good news is that it’s easy to spot. Here are a few signs your drain may be blocked: 

Slow Draining Tubs & Sinks: 

When water takes longer than usual to drain, it suggests that there may be a blockage or obstruction in the pipes. If left unaddressed, the problem can worsen over time, leading to complete blockages and potentially causing water backups and damage. Therefore, it's essential to address slow-draining tubs and sinks promptly to prevent further complications and ensure the smooth functioning of your plumbing system.

Gurgling Noises:

These sounds occur when air becomes trapped in the pipes, usually due to blockages or obstructions hindering the normal flow of water. As water attempts to pass through the narrowed or obstructed pathway, air bubbles are forced to escape, resulting in a distinctive gurgling sound. Ignoring these noises can lead to more significant problems down the line, such as slow draining or complete blockages. 

Foul Odours: 

Foul odours emanating from drains are more than just unpleasant. These unpleasant smells are typically caused by the buildup of organic matter, such as food particles, grease, hair, and soap scum, within the pipes. As this organic material decomposes, it releases foul-smelling gases like hydrogen sulfide, resulting in the characteristic stench that wafts up from drains. Ignoring these odours can lead to more significant problems, including clogs and blockages, as well as potential health hazards from bacteria and mould growth.

Visible Water Pooling:  

Visible water pooling around drains or pipes is a clear indication of a potential plumbing issue that requires immediate attention. This pooling occurs when water fails to drain properly due to blockages, leaks, or other obstructions in the plumbing system. It often manifests as puddles or standing water around sinks, showers, or toilets, indicating that water is not flowing as it should. If left unaddressed, this pooling can lead to water damage to surrounding surfaces, such as flooring or walls, as well as potential mould and mildew growth.

Speak To The Professionals 

If one of the above signs has you worried about your plumbing system, it’s best to talk to the professionals to prevent further damage and ensure your pipes are in excellent condition. Our team at Clearpath Drainage can quickly help you unblock your toilet, sink or shower drains and unclog your pipes in no time! 

Get in touch with one of our experts today!

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