15 Things You Should Never Put Down the Drain

In our 2 decades of serving homeowners & businesses throughout the Tampa region, we have see & dealt with many different things put down Tampa drains. Drains are cunning things; agents of deception. They act as magic portals to rinse our messes away, and once we’ve dispatched something down the sink or toilet, most people rarely think of it again. In reality, there are many things we pour down the drain that can cause mayhem in Tampa household pipes, and in turn can be especially vexing for water ecosystems and their inhabitants. Water treatment facilities can remove many contaminants, but a lot of deleterious chemicals and substances still end up in our rivers, lakes and the ocean.

For the sake of a healthy Tampa environment and healthier water habitats, here are some of the more common contenders for things that Cass Plumbing has seen over the years and Tampa homeowners should NOT send down your pipes.

1. Coffee grounds: Some people seem confident that coffee grounds down the drain will not present a problem; we at Cass Plumbing disagree, nothing causes more blockages than coffee grounds and grease.

2. Eggshells: Even with a garbage disposal, eggshells create granular waste that loves to hook up with other waste to form clogs. Eggshells often mix with fats, oils & grease and create clumps that block up plumbing systems.

3. Grease: Including cooked and/or melted fat from meat, bacon, sausage, poultry, skin from boiled poultry, and even gravy.

4. Fats: Including meat trimmings, uncooked poultry skin, cheese, ice cream, butter, milk and other dairy, nut butters, shortening and lard.

5. Oils: Including cooking oil, olive oil, salad dressings, condiments and mayonnaise.

6. Produce stickers: Believe it or not, the tiny plastic-containing identification stickers on fruits and vegetables are regularly washed down the drain and create problems. They can get stuck in your drain and pipes as well as stuck on wastewater treatment plant pumps and hoses, or get caught in screens and filters. And if they get past all that, they end up in the water.

7. Flushable cat litter: Flushing “flushable” cat litter presents two problems. One is that cat feces can harbor the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which lives in cat feces and causes the disease toxoplasmosis. It’s not destroyed during water treatment and is a threat to marine species, especially sea otters. Part two: Flushable cat litter clogs drains and is a mess for septic systems.

8. Paper towels: Although they may be biodegradable, the absorbency inherent in paper towels makes them perfect for clogging up pipes. Instead of flushing them, compost them or switch to cloth kitchen towels.

9. Condoms: It’s not like latex will disintegrate in water. Your condoms will live a long and illustrious life in the sewer and many will escape for a life at sea. Nobody wants to see condoms and marine life doesn’t want to choke on them. Condoms should be thrown in the trash.

10. Cotton balls: They don’t break down like toilet paper and eventually they will clog up bends and tees in your pipes. It’s much better to wrap them in toilet paper and place them in the trash bin.

11. Flushable wipes: Often, wipes combine with other materials, like congealed grease, to create a sort of super-knot. Wet wipes do not disintegrate like toilet paper does and they cause no end of chaos for sewer systems throughout the Tampa region.

12. Paint: Never dump latex or oil based paint down the drain. All oil based paints should be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.

13. Conventional cleaning products: Phosphates, antibacterial agents and other assorted compounds make conventional cleaning products disruptive to water ecosystems. Avoid the mess and harm by using all-natural cleaners.

14. Car fluids: Keep motor oil, transmission fluids, anti-freeze and other automotive chemicals away from pipes, including household and storm drains, in order to protect our waterways.

15. Medications: Studies have found everything from ibuprofen and antidepressants to birth control hormones in our natural waterways. Much of that comes from human urine, but an estimated one-third of medication sold in the U.S. is left unconsumed. Rather than flush old medicine down the toilet, as was once advised, it’s much better to drop it off with a medication take-back program if there’s one nearby, or you can mix it with something unpalatable like coffee grounds sealed in a plastic bag and place it in the trash.

The next time you put something down the drain, think twice and make certain it’s not something listed in this article.

If you do have a backed up drain & need expert drain cleaning service fast, call the Tampa Bay drain cleaning experts at Cass Plumbing. We can be reached at (813) 265-9200.