9 Items You Should Never Put Down Your Drain

9 Items You Should Never Put Down Your Drain
29/06/2021 Joshua George

Most drain blockages are entirely avoidable.

There are a surprising number of household items that should not be flushed down our pipes, which tend to be the main culprits in drainage issues.

Here are nine of the most commonly flushed items that cause the most significant issues in our homes.


Whilst most medications do not pose an immediate threat to your home drainage system, they can be highly damaging to the local environment.

Particles from both over the counter medication and prescription drugs have been found in soil and drinking water. The human effect of this is still being investigated, but the damage to our environments is abundantly clear.

You should return unused medication to your local doctors or chemist, who will safely dispose of them on your behalf.


Eggshells themselves are not enough to block your drain. However, they can cause a nuisance by acting as an effective binding agent. They will catch pieces of debris, building up over time and eventually creating a substantial blockage in your sink.

This will almost always require professional attention, as cleaning agents will not be tough enough to break down the wastage jammed in the pipe.

Interestingly, eggshells are an excellent fertiliser for your soil. Grind down the shells and sprinkle them into your compost heap or directly onto your soil. The calcium and other nutrients will be absorbed, allowing your garden to thrive.


You should never flush any food debris down the kitchen sink, but flour can cause particularly serious issues.

The residual flour will bind with the water to create a sticky mess in your pipes. This will easily attach to the walls of your drains, catching other pieces of food waste as they are washed away.

Over time, this will accumulate and can cause substantial blockages.


It is tempting to flush coffee down the kitchen sink when washing out a cafetiere.

There was a myth that encouraged many to wash their ground coffee down the sink. The theory was that the abrasive nature of coffee would clean the pipes as it was washed through. However, this is not the case at all.

Over time, the used coffee grounds will clump together, forming large blockages in your pipes. These are extremely difficult to remove, and professional help will likely be required.

Used coffee grounds can instead be added to your soil to incorporate some much-craved nutrients. Adding them to your soil can increase drainage, water retention and aeration. For those without outside space, coffee grounds should simply be placed in the bin with your other household waste.

Wet Wipes

Most people are guilty of flushing some form of wet wipe down the toilet. However, they are one of the most prominent causes of blocked drainage systems in the UK.

Shockingly, even the wipes marked as ‘flushable’ are generally not.

Wet wipes do not disintegrate in the same way toilet roll does, which can cause massive problems for our homes.

Most home drainage systems have some form of imperfection. These may be caused by a debris build-up or by a tree root penetrating a pipe. Wipes will snag on these defects and often become attached. Over time, the wipes can join together and cause severe problems.

Instead, dispose of makeup wipes in the bin with the rest of your rubbish. Alternatively, consider trying the more environmentally friendly muslin cloth, which can be washed and reused.

Cotton Buds

Many individuals use cotton buds to clean their ears when they get out of the shower before carelessly disposing of them down the toilet.

Firstly, cotton is very bad for any drainage system. Combine this with the plastic rod used in these products, and you have an almost guaranteed blocked drain.


Of course, most people are not flushing whole tins of paint down their sink or toilet. However, most of us have rinsed rollers or brushes in the bathroom without giving it a second thought.

Paint will quickly clog your drains, which can be disastrous for your plumbing. Additionally, rinsing paint can release toxic chemicals into the water system.

Instead, scrape the brushes on the inside of the tin, removing all excess paint from them. Next, they should be emerged in the appropriate solvent, depending on their base. Once the stubborn paint has become loose, you will be able to wash the brushes easily in a bucket.

You will then be left with a bucket of paint and water, which should be placed to one side for a few hours.

Over time, the paint solids will settle to the bottom of the container, meaning you can carefully pour the water away. The paint solids will then dry out and can be disposed of with the rest of your rubbish.

Feminine Hygiene Products

You should never flush sanitary products such as tampons or pads down the toilet.

They are designed to absorb liquid, which will obviously be hugely detrimental to your plumbing system.

Grease and Oil

Many homeowners are not away of the impact rinsing a small amount of oil or grease down the sink can have.

Oil will congeal, sticking to the edges of the pipes and catching anything else that is flushed away.

The primary job of dish soap is to break down fats and oil, but it is not strong enough to combat a considerable accumulation. So, although a tiny amount daily may not seem like a huge deal, it can be massively detrimental over a period of weeks or months.

Instead, pour the hot oil into a disposable container and allow it to harden. Once the grease has set, it can then be disposed of with your regular rubbish.

FS Drainage

Drainage maintenance can run away with us all from time to time.

If you have got a blockage or believe your drains need a little TLC, FS drainage can help.

We have a range of tools at our disposal, including relining, jetting, and innovative no-dig technologies.

For any drainage issues in the South-East, contact FS drainage today on 0800 689 3497 or email info@fsdrainage.com.

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