Your drain is a vital fixture in your home, but you may want to avoid hiring a professional drain cleaning service whenever possible. You can do a lot of good for your home’s drains and your wallet by making sure you never wash any of the following down.

Coffee Grounds

Many homeowners assume they can flush coffee grounds down the sink because the particles are small enough to go through the pipes easily. That is not the case. Instead, you should sprinkle the coffee grounds around outside to ward off ants, slugs and snails.

Grease

After cooking some bacon, you will have a lot of leftover grease. Grease congeals in pipes, eventually hardening and preventing any liquids from moving through. You should place grease in a jar to let it cool first before you place it in the regular trash.

Eggshells

After cracking some eggs, it is easy to simply toss them into the sink. When the shells break apart in the garbage disposal, the tiny pieces stick to other oily substances to create a thick mess. This will clog up your pipes fast. The best thing is to throw them away in the trash.

Paper Towels

A lot of people wrongly assume they can flush paper towels because the package says they are biodegradable. In actuality, they are absorbent enough to block the flow of water. You could also opt for washable cloth towels to clean up spills instead of using rolls of paper towels all the time.

Produce Stickers

Plenty of homeowners do not think twice about tossing produce stickers found on bananas and apples into the garbage disposal. The adhesive can cause them to stick to the pipes. Even if the stickers make it to the water supply, it can be detrimental to the local environment.

Paint

Washing paint away is a huge problem. Many cities have laws and regulations about how you need to dispose of paint, so you need to follow those rules precisely. Numerous chemicals and toxins can end up in the water supply otherwise. Find a hazardous waste facility near you to get rid of paint.

Medication

You have likely seen television shows where an addict flushes medication down the toilet. It seems symbolic, but all those chemicals end up in the water supply. Everything from birth control to ibuprofen has ended up in local water supplies over the years, resulting in serious issues.

“Flushable” Cat Litter

A lot of cat litter is marketed as “flushable,” but you should never flush any of it. Not only can it create clogs, but cat feces can contain parasites that cause disease. These parasites are tough to destroy, even during water treatment, so leave it out of your drains.

Household Fluids

Avoid flushing household cleaners down the drain when possible. You also need to be cautious of how you dispose of fluids from your car. Oil and coolant should be disposed of at your local auto shop. These chemicals are toxic to put down the drain, so be careful.

 Flour

When flour is mixed with water, it essentially turns into glue. It will block the flow of water over time, especially if you send butter, cooking oil and other fats down the drain that also tend to congeal.

Rice

Washing rice off a plate may not seem like a big deal. However, rice grains absorb water, causing them to expand. It will not be long until you have a blockage in the system.

Keep Your Drains Clear

In the event you develop a blockage, do not hesitate to contact drain cleaning specialists near you. As long as you do not flush any of these items down the drain, you will generally not have to worry about many issues.

Katy Peterson is the marketing and communications specialist at Southern Air Heating and Cooling, a professional HVAC and plumbing repair company in northern Louisiana. Katy has been in the industry for almost ten years and enjoys writing about topics that homeowners keep their home repair at minimum expense.