Things You Should NEVER Do to Your Plumbing

6 things you should never, ever do to your plumbing

Sometimes, plumbing problems are complicated. Repairing a broken sewer pipe, for instance, is a production involving camera systems, water jets, and specially-engineered molten resin. Interesting as it may be to read about the intricacies of sewer pipe repair, it’s probably not super helpful. That’s why this time, we’re keeping it simple.

Here are six things you should never, ever do to your plumbing if you want to avoid problems. Now, we’re not saying if you successfully avoid these things, you definitely won’t have problems, mind you. We’re saying if you do any of these things, you definitely will have problems. Can’t make it any simpler than that. If you don’t want to deal with plumbing clogs, then DON’T…

Use liquid drain cleaner

We know, it isn’t fair. It doesn’t make sense. That store-bought drain cleaner is supposed to help with plumbing clogs. That’s the whole reason it exists! The thing is, liquid cleaners you pour down the drain are caustic.

Sure, they’ll eat away at a clog, but they’ll eat away at everything else, too. Everything including the metal that makes up the pipes themselves. Drain cleaners can warp pipes or even cause leaks. It’s not worth it. Stick with a plunger, a snake, or BioBen. You’ll be glad you did.

Pour coffee grounds down the kitchen sink

Coffee grounds seem like they were designed for the express purpose of clogging pipes. They’re sticky. When they’re wet, they get heavy and clump together. When they clump together, they become surprisingly dense. They can retain a surprising amount of water. If they stay wet, they stay sticky, heavy, and clumped together.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Dont pour coffee grounds down the sink. Just don’t do it. Just throw them out instead. We don’t even love to see little flecks of stray coffee grounds end up in the drain. Try using a paper towel or washcloth to collect stray grounds before they can flush away. It’s a pain, but if you don’t deal with grounds now, the clog they make will be a worse pain.

Pour grease down the kitchen sink

There’s only one substance worse for your kitchen sink than coffee grounds, and that’s grease. Not only does grease get stuck inside pipes, it catches other things and forces them to stick around, too! Grease only gets stickier the wetter it gets, too, so once it’s in the drain, it’s never going away.

As other materials get stuck to the grease, they eventually form a particularly gross clog. If organic material like fruit or vegetables get stuck to the grease, they may begin to rot. Then, not only does your kitchen sink not drain, it stinks too. Find another way to dispose of your cooking grease. Your pipes will thank you!

Flush garbage down the toilet

Unfortunately, toilets are not magical. We should know. When you flush something down your toilet, it does not disappear. Instead, it enters a series of pipes until it finally gets deposited into the sewer. If whatever you flushed gets caught in one of those pipes at any point, then you have a problem.

So, what constitutes “garbage”? More bad news. Anything that isn’t explicitly “for” the toilet shouldn’t be flushed down it. That includes tissue paper, wet wipes (even the ones called “flushable), or any other toiletries other than toilet paper. You certainly shouldn’t flush grease or coffee grounds down your toilet. Not that you would ever think of doing that. Right?

Use hot water when running the disposal

Only use cold water when you’re actually running the disposal. Where cold water helps the disposal grind food more efficiently, hot water does the opposite. Food particles stick to the drain and the disposal blades more easily in hot water.

Running hot water during disposal use makes the disposal less effective, wears it out, and makes clogs more likely. Turn off the disposal and wait at least 10 seconds after it stops before you turn on hot water.

Keep garbage cans under the sink

Here’s one that really trips most people up. Isn’t “under the kitchen sink” just where everyone puts their garbage can? It makes so much sense! Unfortunately, though it might make sense, putting your garbage can under your sink is bad for your plumbing.

The pipes beneath your kitchen sink, including the disposal and p-trap, are important. They need to stay in good shape in order for your kitchen sink to remain effective. When you’re constantly pushing around your garbage can under the sink, you could damage these pipes. It sounds silly, but being silly never stopped anything from happening and inconveniencing everyone. Look at disco.


Like we said, avoiding these mistakes is no guarantee that you won’t have plumbing problems. Sometimes, you could do everything right and still end up with a clog.

When that happens, know that Ben Franklin Plumbing always has your back. Just give us a call any time and we’ll figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. We’ve seen it all, and we’ve fixed it all, too.

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One Response to “Things You Should NEVER Do to Your Plumbing”

  1. John

    Thank you for these great tips!
    I usually try to fix things myself as, of course, it’s also a great way to save some money. But there are things I just can’t do, like the one you mentioned in your article – a broken sewer pipe. In that situation, I always look for the help from professionals. And I think it’s important to know what you are able to do and what not, and if you’re not so sure something, better call the services.


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