Don’t Let These Things Go Down The Kitchen Sink

One of the most important parts of any kitchen is the sink. It’s used for doing dishes, cleaning dirt and germs off of food, and much more. Those with a kitchen sink probably know how easy it is for things to get stuck in the drain and clog the pipes. In order to prevent your kitchen sink from total destruction, here are some clever tips that will make a difference.

Butter Will Congeal

It’s common for people to use melted butter while cooking or baking in the kitchen. While dumping it in the sink at liquid form may seem like a good idea, it’s actually quite harmful.

butter melting in a pan
Joern Haufe/Getty Images
Joern Haufe/Getty Images

When butter gets cold it starts to congeal or turn back to a solid. This makes it a whole lot easier to clog pipes. Also, it doesn’t react with water well, so it can’t be washed away.

Flour Can Coat The Pipes

Flour is a common item to use in the kitchen and it can get a bit messy. However, people should avoid getting it anywhere near the kitchen sink.

chef mixing a bowl of flour
Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images
Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

Flour coagulates when it’s mixed with water, so it can coat the pipes. This can cause a huge backup, which is tricky and expensive to remove.

Eggshells Should Go In The Trash

While some claim that it’s okay to put eggshells down the garbage disposal, it can actually be very harmful. When eggshells get crushed in the disposal, they become very rough and sharp.

an egg cracked open with the shells
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

This causes the blades in the garbage disposal to become dull. It’s best to dispose of eggshells in the trash or in a compost bin.

Pouring Bleach Down The Drain Is A Safety Issue

Bleach is a cleaning agent meant to get rid of the toughest stains and germs, but it’s probably best that it doesn’t get poured down the kitchen sink.

Bottles of Clorox bleach sit on a shelf at a grocery store
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If the pipes have recently been exposed to a product with ammonia, the bleach can mix with it and form a dangerous chloramine gas.

Rice Will Easily Clog Pipes

One of the worst foods that could possibly go down the drain is rice. This food has a lot of starch and will expand when it touches water.

Cooked white rice full frame close up
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rice grains can swell up and clump together, which can cause bad blockages in the pipes. This does not allow other food to pass.

Oatmeal Sticks To Pipe Walls

After finishing a bowl of oatmeal, there’s usually some leftover gunk that sticks to the surface. This should never be washed in the sink.

Close-up of white powdery oatmeal flakes on a white surface
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Both cooked and uncooked oatmeal expands when mixed with water. Once the water evaporates, the oatmeal becomes gelatinous and can stick onto drain pipes and clog them.

Refrain From Pouring Milk Down The Drain

It may be assumed that most liquids are okay to pour down the drain, but one that should never go down is milk.

Cartons of organic milk sit on a cooler shelf
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Milk and other dairy products can cause dangerous effects on the environment. Milk requires large quantities of oxygen to be broken down, which deprives other organisms of the air they need to survive.

Potato Peels Are Going To Get Stuck

Peeling potatoes can be a time-consuming process, but this activity should never be done over the sink.

men peeling potatoes
Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Potatoes are one of the starchiest foods, so they can start clumping and get stuck in the plumbing if they go down the drain. Instead, peel over a trash can or put the peels in a compost bin.

Coffee Grounds Shouldn’t Be A Fix For Bad Smell

Coffee grounds are a common fix for trying to get a bad smell out of a sink, but this product should never be dumped down the drain.

Pails with coffee grounds
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

While it can stop bad smells, coffee grounds can actually clog the trap in the garbage disposal and act as a magnet for grease.

Always Remove Produce Stickers

Produce stickers may seem like a minuscule thing to worry about, but it’s important to take them off of fruit and vegetables before they are washed in the sink.

produce sticker on a grapefruit
Eve Edelheit/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Eve Edelheit/Bloomberg via Getty Images

These sticky labels are not water-soluble, so they can stick to the insides of pipes. This can cause a buildup, which leads to clogged pipes and backups.

Get Bones Out Of The Garbage Disposal

Even those with the most advanced garbage disposals should avoid putting any sort of animal bones down the drain.

Buffalo chicken wings on a plate
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Bones from animals such as chickens, pigs, and cows can cause the blades in the disposal to become blunt and weaken the machine’s mechanics. Since it’s difficult for the bones to be broken down completely, they can also clog the pipes.

Cooking Fat Leaves Smelly Odors

Cooking food with a high-fat content, such as bacon, leaves a lot of fat and grease in the pan. This starts to solidify when it gets to room temperature.

someone using a fork to turn over bacon cooking in a pan
Francis Joseph Dean/Getty Images
Francis Joseph Dean/Getty Images

Pouring cooking fat down the drain can lead to it hardening inside the pipes and causing drain blockages. Also, this can bring about bad odors.

How To Get Rid Of Stubborn Clogs

Kitchen sinks get clogged all the time, so it’s great to know how to fix the problem when it arises. In order to fix a stubborn clog, try disassembling the sink pipes.

man fixing a sink
David Stewart-Smith/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
David Stewart-Smith/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

One of the most frustrating things about doing this is maneuvering around a sink with too much stuff underneath. Make sure to clean it up, so there’s no extra mess.

Fibrous Vegetables Can Ruin Disposal Blades

Fibrous and stringy vegetables such as asparagus, rhubarb, and lettuce should not go down the garbage disposal.

asparagus piled up
Tom Stoddart/Getty Images
Tom Stoddart/Getty Images

The fibers on these vegetables can wreak havoc on the disposal blades by tangling themselves and forming a giant ball. This prevents any other food from being able to go down the drain.

Keep Paint Away From The Sink

There are many substances that should never go down the kitchen sink. One of the most important to prevent from getting in the drain is paint.

little boy painting in a kitchen
Schöning/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Schöning/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Paint can stick to the sides of pipes, which prevents food from going down. Disposing of paint should most likely be done outdoors with a hose.

Cooking Oil Can Lead To Blockages

Cooking oils such as olive oil or vegetable oil are commonly used in the kitchen, but they need to be properly disposed of once the food is cooked.

A worker pours fresh olive oil into a container
Joseph Eid/Getty Images
Joseph Eid/Getty Images

Instead of washing the oil down the sink, it should either be collected in a disposable container or cleaned up with a paper towel. This is to prevent the drain pipes from being blocked.

Uncooked Meat Is A Clog Waiting To Happen

While raw meat is typically washed in the sink to get rid of germs or unwanted organisms, little remnants can easily fall off.

Close-up of uncooked ground beef in a glass bowl under a meat grinder
Tom Kelley/Getty Images
Tom Kelley/Getty Images

It can be harmful if raw meat goes down the drain because it leads to pipe clogs. The fats and oils from the meat coat the pipes, which make it harder for water to get through.

Medication Doesn’t Belong In The Sink

If medication is expired or is no longer needed, people tend to get rid of it. While pouring it down the sink or flushing it in the toilet may seem like good options, they can be dangerous.

pharmaceutical pills and capsules
Milos Vujinovic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Milos Vujinovic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Once the medication goes down the pipes, it can wind up being ingested by wild animals.

Seeds And Grains Are Small, But Powerful

Even the smallest items can cause a lot of damage to the kitchen sink. Things such as seeds, nuts, and grains can be a nightmare for drain pipes.

people grabbing wheat seeds
Tobias Schwarz/Getty Images
Tobias Schwarz/Getty Images

Instead of dumping these food items down the drain, throw them in the garbage, put them in the compost bin, or leave them outside for birds.

People Need To Stop Draining Pasta Over The Sink

Pasta is extremely high in starch, which makes it really easy for it to absorb water. When pasta is exposed to water, it starts to expand.

pasta in a strainer
Scrumdiddlyumptious/YouTube
Scrumdiddlyumptious/YouTube

If a lot of noodles, rice, potatoes, or any other starchy food goes down the sink, it can cause a major clog. This can be very expensive to fix.

Never Ignore Maintenance Needs

It can get easy to ignore little issues around the house. That may not be the best long-term plan when it comes to the kitchen sink.

Man using sealant gun in a kitchen
BuildPix/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
BuildPix/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

The kitchen sink will likely have some maintenance problems that arise and it’s best to get those taken care of as soon as possible.

Don’t Clean Your Sink With This

One of the ways to keep kitchen sinks from breaking down is to routinely clean them. However, certain cleaning materials can actually cause damage.

Aerial view of a clean stainless steel Kitchen sink
Tom Kelley/Getty Images
Tom Kelley/Getty Images

Never clean with steel wool, steel brushes, or highly abrasive cleaning pads. This can scratch the surface and dull the appearance. Also, if the bristles break, the carbon remnants can mix with the material of the sink and cause it to rust.

Stay Away From Harsh Cleaning Solutions

Cleaning the kitchen sink is crucial for its well-being, but certain cleaning solutions can be really harsh and cause a lot of wear and tear.

kitchen sink and a bowl of lemons
Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

These harsh chemicals can reduce the smoothness of the sink bowl and erode the walls of the drain pipes. Once this happens, it can be detrimental to the appearance and durability of the sink.

Dispose Of Motor Oil Somewhere Else

One of the worst substances to pour down the kitchen sink is motor oil. Not only is this horrible for the environment, but it’s actually illegal in some states.

man dumping motor oil into a car
Michael Springer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Michael Springer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, used oil that hasn’t been disposed of properly can contaminate the equivalent of one year’s water supply for 50 people. Motor oil should be dumped at a legal oil bank.

Be Careful When Carving A Pumpkin

Carving a pumpkin is one of the most celebratory activities during the Halloween season, but the clean up is a bit more difficult.

two young women carving pumpkins
JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images
JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images

People should never take the leftover innards of the pumpkin and dispose of them down the sink. Instead, toss the pumpkin in the trash or in a compost bin.

Fixing Low Water Pressure

Kitchen sinks can become a lot more clogged if the water pressure is too low. This usually happens if too many appliances are using the plumbing.

senior woman washing dishes in the kitchen
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Low water pressure makes it more difficult for clogs to clear from the pipes, so avoid running other appliances, such as a dishwasher, until the pipes are cleaned.

Faucets Are Delicate

Repairing or installing a sink can be really tricky when it comes time to deal with the faucet. If it becomes broken, never use a lot of pressure to force it to turn off.

tap water in a clear glass drinking glass
Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images
Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Faucet handles can easily snap, so just turn off the water main to the house. Then, look where the leak is coming from before turning it back on.

What To Do Before A DIY

Home renovations can be really expensive, so some people prefer to do DIY projects to save money. Installing or repairing a kitchen sink is no easy task.

Kitchen Installation Installing sink into a work surface
David Stewart-Smith/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
David Stewart-Smith/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

If someone is inexperienced when it comes to working on a kitchen sink, a good thing to do is take photos as you’re working. This helps with reassembly or figuring out where something went wrong.

Don’t Forget To Turn Off The Water

If there is any plumbing work that needs to be done around the house, the water needs to be shut off. Do not forget to turn off the water on the kitchen sink.

Woman fixing a new tap and kitchen sink
DIY Photolibrary/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
DIY Photolibrary/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Leaving the water on can cause the pipes underneath to flood. The water valve should be located next to the water meter.