You may think that your own kitchen sink is fair game when it comes to dumping waste products, but what you pour down the plughole could cause major problems for your drainage and even the environment. To help save the flora and fauna around us, as well as avoiding any nasty plumbing bills as a result of a blockage, here are just some of the foods we should always avoid putting down the sink courtesy of The Drain Guys who just so happen to have unblocked quite a few sinks in our lovely town!
Ever made a cake and then poured the excess gloopy batter down the sink? Most of us probably have but if you’ve ever left the bowl and gone back to wash it later, you’ll know how hard it is to clean. Imagine the same thing happening to the inside of your drain – the hardened flour mix won’t be doing any favours to the flow of water. Instead, be sure to put any leftover flour batter in the bin instead of down the sink to avoid a nasty blockage.
Your morning coffee comes with the downside of having to clean up the leftover coffee grounds, but don’t be tempted to throw them down the drain as they can stick together and block the pipes. There are actually countless things you can do with coffee grounds, from body scrubs to adding them to the garden to ward off pests, so get creative.
This one might surprise a lot of people, but milk is best avoided when it comes to the kitchen sink as it can have disastrous environmental consequences. In fact, businesses in the UK can actually be fined for doing so. The reason for this is that milk requires huge amounts of oxygen to be broken down in the environment, which leads to other organisms being deprived of the air they need for survival. Make sure you consume your milk products before they expire to avoid having to pour them down the drain.
Oils and fats
Ever left a greasy pan to cool and noticed it transform into a thick, solid mess? The same thing occurs when you pour oil or fat down the sink. Not only does this pose a risk to your own plumbing system but it can actually cause problems for water treatment plants further down the line too. Instead, wait for the fat to cool and harden and then dispose of it in the bin before washing up the pan. And don’t forget that items such as mayonnaise and salad dressings contain oils, so these shouldn’t be poured down the sink either or they’ll have the same effect. If you want to know just how bad it can get have a look at this – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/12/total-monster-concrete-fatberg-blocks-london-sewage-system
Meat-eaters may think that smaller bones are fine to toss down the sink, but they’d be wrong. While fine bones from fish are fine, as these break down easily, anything larger should be put in the bin so as not to clog the drain.
Fibres from vegetables such as asparagus or celery and corn husks can quickly build up in the drain and cause what can be thought of as a food hairball in the pipes. Be sure to prepare your veggies away from the sink and put any scraps and fibres into the bin or the compost before washing them to avoid these fibres from getting caught in the drain. And when pumpkin carving season rolls around, follow the same practices as all that stringy gunk is a real issue for drainage and is better served on top of your compost heap than down the sink.
Rice and pasta
When you cook rice and pasta, it swells considerably but this process doesn’t stop once the cooking time is up. It continues to swell once it’s been flushed down the sink too, which can cause plumbing problems for the future. If you can, strive to purchase organic alternatives as these are free from coagulating ingredients and won’t cause as much of an issue if a few pieces happen to slip through the plughole.
Cherry pits, corn kernels and, more specifically, chia seeds, are a problem for pipes to deal with. The latter may look harmless and small, but they continue to expand in water and can build up to cause a blockage. Instead of putting them in the sink, put them in the bin or on your compost heap, or even look at which seeds can be thrown out for the birds to provide them with a treat they’ll appreciate more than your pipework will.
Well, I have to admit, I am guilty of a few of those, especially milk!? Thanks, Drain Guys!