Never put these down your drains

Drains. Those boring holes in the floor, sink or shower that make water disappear. You never really appreciate just how important they are until they stop working. In the latest blog from Grate Tips we’ll be looking at things you should never put down your drains. The list below is just the beginning and in a future blog (or blogs!) we’ll be looking at even more things that belong anywhere but in the drain.

1. Any kind of cooked or uncooked flour

It doesn’t matter what kind of flour it is, don’t put it down the drain. Flour is dry and your drains are wet, mix the two together and suddenly your plumbing is full of glue.

2. Pasta or rice

These are another no-no, especially if they are uncooked. They readily absorb water and expand inside the drain causing blockages that can be difficult to remove.

3. Hair

This one is a no-brainer. Nobody likes pulling hair out of a drain - it is pretty gross and the hair can be slimy and smelly. Excess hair in drains can cause blockages and it can also lead to venting issues, leading to sewer gas intrusion (find out more here). The bottom line is, pulling one or two hairs out of the drain after a shower is much, much better than 20… or calling a plumber.

4. Tampons, cotton balls or makeup wipes

All of these cotton based products can swell up inside your drains and are a leading cause of blockages. Make sure you keep a small rubbish bin in your bathroom to dispose of these products safely.

5. Paint

Paint is awesome on walls and cars and anything it is designed to go on. It is not good to put down the drain though as is pretty terrible for the environment.

6. Condoms

Condoms are designed to last. If you put them down the drain they can become a problem that lasts. Condoms can also trap air (picture a nasty balloon) causing them to be quite buoyant, which makes it even trickier for them to leave the system.

7. Expired or leftover medication

Now these items may not necessarily affect your drains, but they can dissolve in the sewer system leading to wider environmental problems. Once antibiotics and the like enter the waterways, they stick around and can have unintended and highly undesirable consequences like the creation of superbugs.

8. Any fats or oils that go solid at room temperature

If you’ve just cooked with but/animal fat/coconut etc it’ll be in a liquid form and it is all too easy to just tip the leftovers down the drain. The problem with this of course is your drain isn’t as hot as your pan and the fat/oil will solidify in your pipes, leading to a blockage. Things like olive and vegetable oils don't get a free pass either. While they may not necessarily affect your own sewer system, they can combine with other waste and are difficult for municipal sewer systems to process.

9. Baby wipes

These are one of the greatest, and worst inventions of all time. As any parent can testify, they are super convenient and can be used to clean up just about anything. They resemble toilet tissue though and it is easy to flush them down the toilet. They are a lot more durable than toilet tissue and don’t break down easily though so don’t.

If you want to find out what happens to wipes and fats after they enter the sewer, watch this fascinating video from the BBC below (sorry if there is and ad, we don’t own this video and have no control over it).

You should put this down your drain

The Grate Seal is of course something you should put in your floor or shower drain. It is a durable Australian made one-way valve that stops bad sewer smells and insects from coming into your living area or place of business through your drains. You can find out how the Grate Seal works here and if you want to stop drains smells and insects coming out of you drains, you can purchase a Grate Seal here. If you need any more information on how the Grate Seal works or which product is best for you, you can contact us here.

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