What You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Drain after Thanksgiving Dinner

What You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Drain after Thanksgiving Dinner
crawfordmech November 12, 2015

Clogged or sluggish drains are one of the most common household complaints when it comes to plumbing. In fact, they are so common that you have probably already dealt with one yourself. The good news is many problems with clogs can be avoided with a little care and attention in the kitchen and bathroom. So before you start cleaning up after your Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you know what foods you shouldn’t be putting down your drain.

In the Kitchen

Nearly everyone knows that pouring grease or fat down the drain is a no-no, but not everyone realizes that there a host of common foods that also contribute to grease buildup in the drain. Fats from cooking should always be poured into a can or other container and discarded in the trash once the grease cools. Dishes used to cook or serve the following foods should be scraped thoroughly before washing in the sink.

  • Gravy and Sauces: It seems logical to rinse these foods down the drain, but you are asking for trouble if you do. They typically contain high amounts of fat and grease that will cling to the insides of your drain pipes.
  • Cheese and Dairy Products: Cheese is a high-fat food that also contributes to drain problems. Dishes from casseroles, dips and sauces that contain cheese and dairy products can add grease to the drain.
  • Soups: Many homemade soups, especially those made from homemade broth, contain fat and grease.
  • Meat Drippings: Those drippings in the bottom of the pan might look like juices from the meat, but most are laden with fat.

Bits of food, coffee grounds and eggshells should also be avoided as they will stick to any grease and buildup already in your drain. Put greasy food in the trash and avoid putting them in the garbage disposal, too.

In the Bathroom

Bathroom drains are just as notorious for clogging, except with hair and body oils instead of food. While you can’t prevent body oils and soil from going down the drain, there are some things you can do to prevent problems with clogged drains.

  • Drain Strainers: Using a drain strainer in the bathtub and sink drain will help keep hair out and will prevent small items from slipping down the drain.
  • Hair Snares: If you, or someone in your home, has long hair, a hair snare may be needed to clean the drain out occasionally. This device slips into the drain and grabs onto hair which can then be pulled out of the drain.
  • Oils and Lotions: Avoid applying body oils and lotions while you are standing in the shower. The residue from the oil will run down the drain where it will gradually coat the pipes. Stand on a bath towel or mat outside the shower to apply lotions and oils.

Drain Cleaning

Regular drain cleaning will go a long way toward keeping your drains flowing smoothly and avoiding clogs. There are a number of products on the market for routine drain cleaning, but you can also use baking soda, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, or simply pour a gallon of hot water down the drain and then follow by running warm water for about five minutes to flush the gunk out of the drain. A once-per-month treatment should keep your drains flowing freely.

Contacting a Plumber

If your drain is sluggish or clogged and doesn’t respond to cleaning or flushing the drain, you might need to clean out the trap below the sink. If this isn’t something you are comfortable doing, or if you suspect a more serious problem, call your local plumber to check out the situation. He or she will have the expertise to identify and correct any issue that might be causing your problems with clogged or sluggish drains.