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Triple O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Blog

5 Liquids to NOT Put Down Your Sink

It’s often easy for people to think of the sink drains in their homes as similar to the trash: you can put anything you don’t want down them and it will simply disappear. But sinks and the drains connected to them are not designed to handle just any type of liquid. There are several liquids that we recommend you never put down your sink.

We offer drain cleaning in Bergen, NY and have extensive experience with the proper care of sinks and drain pipes. Below is our list of five liquids you should never put down any sink in your home.

ONE: Liquid Drain Cleaners

Got a clogged bathroom or kitchen sink? You can try to use a plunger to remove it, and then a simple drain auger. After that, the next step isn’t to use a store bought bottle of liquid drain cleaner. These products promise a lot, but no professional plumber recommends using them. They are extremely caustic and will eat away at the inside of pipes, often leading to corrosion and early deterioration. If you have an obstinate clog, please call for professionals to clean your drains using safer methods. 

TWO: Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)

This is perhaps the biggest foe of kitchen sinks, and unfortunately far too many people assume that fats, oils, and grease (collectively known as FOG) are harmless because they are in liquid form when hot. They don’t remain in liquid form when they cool down, however! They change into waxy solids that cling tenaciously to the walls of pipes, accumulating until they start to create clogs, bad odors, and lead to drain flies. We recommend pouring all fog into a separate container and removing it to the trash. 

THREE: Household Cleaners

Aside from cleaners specifically designed for dishes and cleaning sinks, never put any synthetic household cleaners down your drains. Similar to liquid drain cleaners, these cleaners often contain caustic chemicals that will harm the drains. They also pose a risk to the water supply. 

FOUR: Medication

People used to dispose of unused medication into sink drains (and toilets) all the time rather than putting them in the trash—but this has caused numerous medications to end up getting in the water supply. A US Geological Survey in 2002 discovered that personal care and pharmaceutical products were one of the main reasons for the presence of multiple harmful chemicals found in water supplies. So put those unused medicines in the trash, not the sink!

FIVE: Paint

Not only do we not want you to pour paint down your sink drain, but it’s probably illegal to do so in your jurisdiction. This restriction applies to all paints, both water- and oil-based. Pouring paint down a drain includes washing paint brushes out in the sink. 

What’s the problem with paint? Why is this such a major restriction for sinks drains? It’s not that paint will necessarily harm your drain pipes or plumbing system (although it’s possible for them to dry out and create problems similar to FOG). The real concern is the high number of toxins and chemicals in paint that can end up contaminating the water supply. 

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