How These 8 Common Household Items Can Harm Your Kitchen Sink

If you find your kitchen sink requires frequent drain cleaning, consider the things you put into it. Many people assume garbage disposals can take care of everything they throw at them, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. There’s an extensive list of things that can seriously harm your disposal system and should never find their way into your pipes.

Foods That Can Harm Your Drain

While the garbage disposal is for breaking down uneaten food, there are certain ingredients that should never be tossed into your sink because of the damage they can cause your pipes and garbage disposal blades.


Humans are unable to digest animal bones, and similarly, garbage disposals are unable to grind them up. As your disposal blades attempt to pulverize the bones, they will wear down more quickly than they should. To avoid this, professionals recommend tossing leftover bones in the trash, not the disposal. Fish bones are the only exception to this rule because they are fine and fragile.

Coffee Grounds

A long-standing DIY fix for a smelly sink has been to dump coffee grounds and beans down the drain. While this may make your sink smell like fresh coffee, it can clog the trap in your garbage disposal and act as a magnet for grease. In turn, this will create a sludge-like mixture that will prevent other food scraps from getting through. Rather than sending grounds down the sink, throw them away or use them for composting.

Starchy Foods

In North America, the average person consumes about 15 and a half pounds of pasta per year. That number doesn’t account for the amount that ends up going uneaten. If you’ve ever cooked pasta, you know that it expands and absorbs waters. When starchy foods like pasta and rice are rinsed down your drain, they create a sticky mixture that obstructs your pipes.

Fibrous Vegetables

Stringy vegetables like rhubarb, pumpkin, asparagus and lettuce should be kept away from your garbage disposal. Their fibers can wreak havoc on your disposal blades by tangling themselves and forming a giant ball that makes it impossible for other foods to pass.

Oil and Fat

As they cool, cooking oils and fats congeal and turn into thick, solid, white substances. Pouring them down the sink does not stop this process. Oils and fats that sit in your drain will eventually clog your pipes.

Dangerous Household Items

Unfortunately, the kitchen sink is treated as the catch-all for unwanted household items – not just food. People across the country often place or pour hazardous substances down their drains as a simple solution to get rid of them.

Cleaning Chemicals

Part of what makes cleaning supplies so effective is their combinations of harsh chemicals, compounds and antibacterial agents. Many of these combinations are harmful to both humans and wildlife and are resistant to destruction at water treatment plants. Introducing harsh chemicals to the water supply by pouring them down your drain could harm wildlife and members of your community.


If you’ve ever received a prescription for medication and never ended up using it all, you might have tossed it down your sink or toilet. Much like cleaning chemicals are harmful to the environment, medication is too. The chemicals are meant for human consumption and could harm any wild animals that happen to ingest it.


No matter which kind of paint you use for your walls or latest masterpiece, never pour excess supply down the drain. Paint will stick to the sides of your pipes and prevent other foods from making their way through. If you have paint you need to dispose of, take it to a hazardous waste facility or save it for a future project.

Residential Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Services in Seattle

If you’re a Seattle area resident in need of plumbing services because of a clogged drain, South West Plumbing is available 24/7 to help get your kitchen back in business. Our certified plumbers perform a variety of drain cleaning and unclogging procedures, including sewer line camera inspection and debris removal with a hydro jetting machine.

To request your service appointment, give us a call or contact us online.

Things To Never Put In The Kitchen Drain