Can I pour this down the drain? NO!

In the rental business, you witness all kinds of strange accidents. Especially when it comes to plumbing. Ask any maintenance man or plumber, and he’ll tell you he’s seen it all. o this week, we thought we’d share some of the basic rules when it comes to protecting your plumbing.

Kitchen Sink

If your kitchen sink doesn’t have a garbage disposal, your basic rule of thumb should be that nothing except soapy water should ever go down the drain. Before you wash dishes, wipe as much of the leftover food particles as you can into the trash. The best thing to do is to take a paper towel and wipe everything down before putting it in the sink.

natural cleaning
Baking soda and vinegar is a cheap cleaning solution with a variety of uses. Pittsburgh’s own Heinz sells cleaning vinegar by the gallon. Image attribution: By katerha ( [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
You may have heard that coffee grounds are good for keeping the drain open. This is couldn’t be farther from the truth. Coffee grounds can seriously clog your drain, so either put them in the trash or put them to use.

Grease is another food waste that should never go down the drain. If your home economics teacher didn’t tell you this in middle school, we’re here to tell you now that grease should never go in the sink. Want to know why? The next time you fry bacon or have leftover cooking oil, let it sit in the pan and watch it congeal. That is what’s building up in your pipes each time you pour grease down the drain. So take a paper towel and wipe that mess into the trash can with all the other food waste before washing your pots and pans.


Your toilet is a more sensitive appliance than you might think. It can handle human waste and regular toilet paper. And that’s it. Regular toilet paper is designed to break up in water, and any other wet wipe that claims to be flushable is not. The list of things that can’t go down your toilet also includes baby wipes, condoms, and feminine hygiene products.

If you have a toddler, invest in a child safety lock for your toilet seat. Kids are fascinated by flushing things that have no business being flushed.

If you don’t have a toddler, keep your toilet lid closed at all times. You’d be surprised how quickly accidents happen like knocking a toothbrush into the bowl. If it does happen that you should drop anything into the toilet, pull it out. Never flush, no matter what it is. This is what rubber gloves are made for.

Drain Cleaners

If you have a clogged drain, it’s rarely a good idea to use acid cleaners such as Drano because they can corrode pipes and cause a bigger problem. When you have a clog, call your maintenance supervisor instead of trying to handle it yourself.

To maintain clean drains, use a trap that keeps hair or food particles from going down, and use a natural, homemade cleaner regularly. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar followed by boiling water can flush things out if water is draining slowly, but don’t use it as a substitute for your maintenance supervisor having a look, especially if you have a persistent problem.

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