10 Items You Should Never Put Down the Drain

Responsible homeowners know that there are some golden rules you have to follow when it comes to keeping your plumbing in top shape. That includes ensuring that you aren’t unknowingly damaging your drains by pouring or flushing harmful products. So here are 10 things you should never put down the drain if you want optimal drainage for your sink.

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Flushable Wipes

Just because a wipe is labelled “flushable” in the store, it doesn’t mean you should flush it down the toilet or do so without consequence. No matter how the wipe is created, it won’t break down in the plumbing like toilet paper will. Eventually, the wipes will collect in your pipes and form a clog that is costly to fix.

Makeup Products

Bathroom sink not draining? Any kind of makeup product flushed down the drain will not break down well in your plumbing system and could lead to clogs. You also have to think about the environmental impacts. While most makeup products are safe to put on your skin, most should never be put back into the water supply for human consumption.

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Cotton Swabs

You might think that a cotton swab is so tiny that it can’t possibly get stuck in your drain. You would be wrong! The cotton swabs can bend and get caught on the interior of the pipes, eventually collecting other cotton swabs or debris and leading to a costly clog.

Greases, Fats, and Oils

People often think that pouring some old bacon grease down the drain is no big deal because it’s a liquid. Well, as soon as the grease cools, it hardens and will often harden inside of your pipes.

Egg Shells

Many people like to put eggshells in the garbage disposal assuming that the fragile shells will be completely incinerated on contact, but that’s not the case. The tiny pieces of shells can get stuck on the edges of your pipes and catch other food or debris that gets put down the drain leading to a buildup of debris and inevitable blockage.

Coffee Grounds

You might expect that old coffee grounds would break down easily once you pour them down the sink. Unfortunately, they tend to clump up, which is one of the most common reasons people end up needing a drain cleaning service.

Produce Stickers

Be careful when you’re washing your fruit! Peel off those produce stickers before you put that apple under the tap. If a sticker falls into the drain, chances are that it will stick to the sides of the pipes becoming a permanent roadblock.

Paper Towels

Flushing paper towels is never a good idea because they do not break down like toilet paper. Paper towels are designed to withstand excessive moisture so you can use them for an extended period of time while cleaning.

Household Fluids

It’s bad for the environment and irresponsible to introduce these potentially harmful substances into the water supply. Second, you never know how the chemicals will react with your pipes, even possibly causing damage and requiring replacement.


Aside from the environmental concerns of dumping paint cans down your drains, you should also be thinking about what happens when that paint dries. Many homeowners have had to call a drain cleaning service for this very reason. Don’t be one of those calls!

Contact Us

If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to go for a very long time without needing a drain cleaning service. However, if you think you have a clog in your plumbing, call the experts at Summit Drain to book your appointment. We use the latest blockage-busting equipment and tools to get the job done fast!


A main sewer line blockage can cause water to backup in random places. For instance, you run your washing machine and notice your sink overflowing – this can be a clear sign that you have a clogged drain line.

If you have ruled out a potential sewer drain clog, you can rinse your sewer drain by flushing it with water. When you flush your lines, try adding a bit of drain cleaner to the water. A great place to flush your sewer line is the toilet – a larger amount of water and drain cleaner can enter your system quickly and easily. Unfortunately, if you do this when you have a clog, it can cause backup and potential flooding – if this is the case, clear the clog first.

You should generally know if your sewer line is blocked with slow drainage. The purpose of the sewer line is to take all the water drainage away from your house via sinks, bathtubs or toilets – if you find that there is slower drainage in one drain then you can essentially clear that yourself using a drain snake or a plunger.

There is confusion regarding when you are responsible for sewer line repair. While some may believe that the homeowner is only responsible for repairing the part of the line that’s on their property, this is not the case. Sewer lines consist of multiple sections, the upper lateral, lower lateral and the main line. The city is only responsible for repairing the main sewer line.

If issues with the main sewer line cause damage to your lower lateral, which is most likely where the damage would generally first start – the city would repair this damage when they work on the main sewer line. Unfortunately, if there is backup and flooding on your property from the main sewer line, then the city would not be responsible. It is best to follow up with the city to see if they will repair any damage in these cases.

Unpleasant smells coming from your drains is indicative of sewer line issues and damage. You should always take these types of smells seriously as it could be toxic fumes slowly releasing from the sewer below into your home.

There are a number of ways to clear a slow drain using products found around the home:

Bent Wire – If you do not have a drain snake, you can try using a stiff wire – like one from a clothes hanger, leaving the hook to enter pipes and pull out any clogs. Try to make sure you don’t push debris further into the pipe.

Homemade Flush – Mixing baking soda and vinegar can dissolve any materials that are potentially clogging your drain pipes. This is a good and much safer alternative to store-bought chemical cleaners.

Toilet Plunger – Like plunging a toilet, you can try using this on your drains. Using a plunger on your drains can help get things moving by using suction. This should be enough to fix any mild blockages.

Aged drain pipes are at risk for corrosion which can lead to breaks. Summit Drain has both the technology and expertise to fix this if necessary.

Yes. Drain pipes are durable, but not meant to last forever. If you live in an older home in Ottawa, most likely the pipes are made from copper and can collapse in this day and age.

When it comes to a collapsed drain, call Summit Drain. We use trenchless technology to replace sewer pipes made from original materials without ruining your property.

Rock salt
Rock salt helps by removing moisture from the roots, which in turn kills them. Two lbs should do the trick, pour 1 down the toilet. Flush until gone. And repeat with the next. Then leave for 12 hours and don’t run any water.

Foaming root killers
Another effective way to treat roots in pipes is with foaming root killers. Pour powder into toilet and flush. It will foam upon contact with water. Not only does it help dissolve current roots, but also helps to protect against future ones.

Copper sulfate
Copper sulfate is another good option. Available at most hardware stores, pour roughly half a cup into toilet and flush until gone. Leave the home and take all pets and family members along. This is a toxic substance and banned in some places.

Should I replace old pipes?
There does come a time where it makes sense to replace your pipes. Over time they crack and corrode. It is recommended to begin routine inspections once your home reaches 50 years in age. For plumbing Services in and around the Ottawa area, nobody does it like Summit Drain.

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