Keeping Your Kitchen Drain Flowing

February 20, 2012

Your kitchen sink is the hardest-working drain in your house but if you put the wrong things down there, it’s a recipe for disaster. Drain enemy number one: grease. Other items which are potentially harmful include stringy vegetables, egg shells, and coffee grounds, not to mention a host of lesser offenders. 

  • Grease.  Yes, when it’s liquid, it goes down like water.  But, when it cools down and solidifies it sticks to the sides of your pipes, builds up over time, and then…ick.  Greasy clog.  Even pouring hot water down the drain helps only until the water cools off, allowing the grease to congeal further down the pipes. Simple solution: Let grease cool in a cup, bowl, or pan.  When it’s cool, toss it in a sealed container, such as an old coffee tin, and put it in the trash.
  • Vegetables and fruit. Some foods are good for your body but not your drain and disposal.
    • Potato, apple and carrot skins stick to the sides of your drain like glue, and then accumulate to cause a blockage.  Put these items in the trash instead. 
    • Stringy foods, such as corn husks, celery, asparagus, onion peels, and banana peels will wrap themselves around your disposal’s blades and freeze them up. Not fun to remove, especially since you may not notice until there’s a clog. 
  • Flour, bread, rice, and pasta. Know how this stuff expands in your stomach and makes you feel so full?  Does the same thing to your pipes—except after it dries in your pipes, it hardens like cement.
  • Eggshells.  Even the smallest, ground-up eggshell can stick to the sides of your pipe, just waiting for eleven of its friends to meet up and create a clog.
  • Coffee grounds.  Think about how, if you get a couple of wet grounds on your hands, they are hard to shake off.  Now think of 365 days’ worth sitting in your pipes, sticking together. What did you think would happen?
  • Animal bones are simply not grindable by almost any household garbage disposal.  Give them a proper burial in the trash.

So what can you do?  Simple: Seriously limit what you put in the garbage disposal.  Use the trash can.  If it’s a convenience issue, put a small trash can near the sink or even on the counter, and empty it into a larger bin at the end of the day. Much easier than clearing grease, potato, egg shell, and coffee ground clogs.  Not to mention more pleasant. You can also make a habit of:

  • Keeping the food strainer in the drain at all times to catch small particles.
  • Running plenty of cold water before, during, and after every time you use the disposal.
  • Once a week, pour a pan of boiling water down the drain to unstick any fat or grease on the sides of the pipe.

Clogged kitchen drains are an easily preventable problem.  Simply by keeping the wrong things out, you can virtually ensure that you won’t have to deal with clogs, burst pipes, or backed up sewers.


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Last Updated: June 09, 2023