What Not To Put Down Your Drains

Water down sink plug

Our drains do an almighty amount of work throughout the course of a day, draining our sinks, baths, toilets, dishwashers, washing machines to ensure our properties run smoothly and hygienically. However, our drains can’t cope with everything, and there are certain things we should avoid flushing down the toilet or putting down our drains. Here, we’re going to detail what these no-gos are and why they can’t be flushed or poured away.

Grease, fats and oils

It’s tempting to pour melted fat from a pan of bacon or tray of cooked sausages into the sink, but this grease is one of the main causes of blockages in pipes around the world.
The same goes for fats and oils – from uncooked poultry skin to cheese, butter, olive oil and salad dressings – these materials can join together and form things known as ‘fatbergs’, which are as disgusting as they sound. Collect fat in containers and put In the bin!

Should grease/fat/oil go down the drain? NO

Paper towels

Paper towels are very absorbent, which means they can clog pipes, despite their biodegradable status. It’s not like toilet paper, which is designed for drains and will disintegrate when flushed – (kitchen) paper towels will stay together and clog the pipes. Instead, put them in the bin.

Should paper towel be flushed down the toilet? NO

Produce stickers

Even though they’re tiny, stickers on products (e.g. fruit and vegetables, or a bread tie) can cause problems for our drains and pipes. They get stuck on the pipes, the filters and the hoses and pumps of treatment plants, and even if they don’t get stuck, they require processing at the water plant, which can be easily avoided so simply placing in the bin!

Should product stickers go down the drain? NO

Baby wipes

These can be tricky, as the packaging for these kind of wipes often labels them as ‘flushable’, when, in fact, they aren’t.
Of course, they’ll disappear if you flush them down the toilet, but they won’t break down like toilet paper does, and they will actually combine with other materials in the drains to create a problem in sewers and water treatment plants. Instead, place them in a sealed bag and put them in the bin.

Should baby wipes be flushed in the toilet? NO

Motor fluids

Avoid pouring any liquids like antifreeze, motor oil, brake fluid and windscreen wiper fluid down your drains.
If you’re replacing fluids in your vehicle, contact your local authority to see what their guidelines are on the recycling of these oils and liquids, as many are now accepting antifreeze and waste oil in recycling programmes.

Should motor fluids go down the drain? NO

Coffee grounds

Once you’ve brewed a fresh coffee for yourself and/or your guests, it can be tempting to rinse out the pot and pour it down the sink. However, coffee grounds are actually a real nuisance to our drains and pipes, and instead they should be put in the bin when done with.

Should coffee grounds go down the drain? NO

Cat litter

This cannot be poured down the toilet or drain. As well as clogging the pipes, when it is flushed away, the waste carries a high risk of harboring a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause the disease toxoplasmosis in other creatures that come into contact with it. It does not get destroyed during water treatment, and marine species, like sea otters, are severely threatened by it. To dispose of it, seal it in a plastic bag and put it in the bin.

Should cat litter go down the toilet? NO


The requirements for disposing of paint can differ between local authorities. However, one thing is for certain – oil-based paints need to be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.
For other types of paint, check with your local authority to see what their regulations are – some may even advise against rinsing your paint brushes down the drain when using water-based paints.

Should paint go down the drain? NO


If you’ve got expired medication in your home, or medication you don’t need anymore (whether open or unopened), it can be tempting to flush it down the toilet. In fact, this was once the recommended procedure!

However, there are now other recommended methods that can help prevent medication ending up in our water systems. One such method is a medicine take-back programme with your local chemist / doctors. Alternatively, seal the medicine in a plastic bag and pop it in the bin.

Should medicine go down the drain? NO


What is the correct way to dispose of eggshells? Putting them down the drain is not one of them. The shells create granular waste, and this granular waste can combine with other forms of waste to clog pipes and drains. Dispose of these eggshells in your bin, or add them to a compost bin if you have one.

Should eggshells go down the drain? NO

As you can see, among the countless materials we use in our homes, there are plenty that should be kept away from our drains. By taking care to avoid putting the aforementioned materials down your drains, you can help prevent drain blockages, as well as damage to the environment.

If you need professional drainage services in your commercial or residential property, please feel free to get in touch with Express Drainage Solutions today and we will be more than happy to help you.

Want more information?Contact us today on 020 8979 5444

EDS unblocked and repaired over 20,000 drains last year for the residents and businesses of London.

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