Everything but the kitchen sink
This saying surprisingly does not apply to your home's kitchen sink and what should go down there.
With garbage disposals obliterating the food scraps we throw down the drain, it’s very tempting to chuck just about anything down the sink without a second thought. But, there are certain items that should never venture down the kitchen drain.
We won't lie - hot, greasy food is delicious.
But, have you seen what happens to hot oil when it cools down? It becomes thick and gluggy. Not so appetising.
Now, just imagine what will happen when hot grease cools down in your kitchen sink down pipe. Especially when it’s building up over time with multiple grease wash downs. Grease is one of the most common causes of a blocked drain. And trust us when we say your stomach won’t be rumbling when you see the resulting blockage pulled out.
To properly dispose of any leftover grease or oil product, opt to install a grease trap. This will catch any grease that that flows down your drain. Alternatively, you’ll need to cool the grease down before tossing it in the bin.
Eggs are the centrepiece of any good brekky.
But while we all love a good yolk, we should remember not to overlook proper shell disposal.
Yes, dumping empty eggshells down the sink and letting the garbage disposal handle the rest does seem like the easiest course of action. But crushed eggshells, no matter how small they are, can cause big problems.
Not only can eggshells cause blockages on their own, they can also collect other items that travel down the kitchen sink. This can form a massive clog in your drain pipe that will need to be professionally cleared. To avoid the blocked sink plumber bills, it’s best to leave eggshells in either your rubbish or compost bin.
3. Coffee Grounds
Ah, another essential morning staple.
Coffee is an absolute necessity in most households, but what do you do with the grounds after you’ve brewed your morning cuppa joe? Under no circumstances should you wash them down your kitchen sink. Ground coffee beans stick together in your pipes and can cause big blockage problems that running water will struggle to wash away.
Here’s a handy tip – coffee grounds actually make a great compost addition! Forgoing the drain dump and adding your grounds to your compost will not only save you money on a plumber down the line, but will also provide big savings on plant care! You really can’t lose.
4. Grains and Seeds
Small grains and seeds are more ingredients commonly seen flowing down our sinks.
If you’re in the habit of wiping down your kitchen benchtops before washing the collected crumbs down the drain, you may want to rethink doing so.
Both seeds and grains can take a while to decompose. In this time, they can cause a serious build up in your pipes and block your filters. Rather than spending the time and money to unclog your sink, we recommend throwing leftover crumbs straight in the bin.
This one might surprise you.
Despite its liquid form, milk should never be poured down your sink. While this popular beverage won’t clog up your drains, it can actually cause severe environmental damage.
Dairy products are considered highly polluting substances. This is due to their high oxygen demand. Bacteria feed off the discarded milk, using up its oxygen. This leaves small organisms such as fish with less oxygen which can cause ocean life to suffocate.
The obvious solution here is to just drink all of the milk you buy before it expires. Maybe break out the baking utensils if you find your milk is coming to the end of its lifespan. Or challenge your household to a milk drinking competition. Whatever you do, just don’t pour it down the drain!
Another kitchen staple that should steer clear of the sink is flour.
We’ve all seen what happens to flour when mixed with water – it transforms into a thick and sludgy substance. Now, imagine what will happen when this mucky concoction is formed in your kitchen drain. Not a pretty sight.
A strong water flow from your tap might not be enough to wash away this sticky matter. In fact, it will likely just gather other debris over time, creating a serious sticky clog.
7. Produce Stickers
The little stickers that you find on apples, oranges and other produce should also be kept away from your kitchen sink.
These stickers might seem harmless, but they’re made using special adhesives that water can’t dissolve. When they get lost down your sink they can stick to the sides of your drain pipe and clog up the passageway.
If the stickers make it past your pipes, they can even make it into wastewater treatment pipes and block the filters. This may cause issues with the equipment needed to treat your water. Either way, it isn’t worth the risk, so it’s best to leave produce stickers in the bin.
8. Starchy Foods
Here's a good rule of thumb: keep the carbs in your stomach and out of the sink.
Starchy foods, such as pasta and rice, should definitely not go down the drain.
These kinds of foods will absorb water and expand after they’ve been cooked. They’ll become sticky and soggy, especially after they’ve been absorbed in water for a long time. The resulting muck is the perfect ingredient for a blocked drain. And, much like flour, they’ll even make friends with the other scraps travelling down the pipe, leaving you with a nasty blockage to deal with.
9. Foods High in Fibre
While there is definitely some food waste that can be chucked through your kitchen garbage disposal, not every edible item can go down there.
Fibrous foods such as asparagus, celery and corn husks will become tangled around the blade of your disposal unit. This will lead to a big clog in your sink and a dulled disposal blade. Just remember to be careful with what you choose to send down the drain.