Skip Navigation

Home / Blog

What Can and Cannot Go Down The Drain

Apr 01, 2011

Ever wondered if it’s okay for hair to go down the shower drain? Or coffee grounds down the kitchen sink? These might seem like simple questions, but not knowing the answer can create complicated drain cleaning problems. That’s where we come in! Here are a few tips and tricks on how to avoid clogged drains by not letting certain items and substances down your bathroom and kitchen drains.

Common causes of a clogged drain

If your drains experience frequent and recurring drain problems, it’s time for a drain inspection! Contact Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

What Can (And Cannot!) Go Down the Shower Drain

Clean the hair out of your shower every time you wash your hair or shave. The same thing goes for your bathroom sink (if you wash your hair there or shave over it). Simply remove the trapped hair and – voila! – you’re one step closer to preventing a clog. Most of the time liquid soaps like shower gel and shampoo aren’t a problem.

It might seem like a chore at first, but cleaning hair out of the shower drain every time you use it can help you avoid serious clogs.

However, if you do experience soap build up in your shower drain, simply pour boiling water down the drain to remove it. The only exception to this rule is bar soap: Because it’s a solid, small pieces of bar soap can actually get caught in your shower drain and cause problems in the future if you don’t clean them out.

How to Dissolve Hair Clogs in the Sink or Shower

If you’re experiencing a clogged drain from built-up hair (such as a clog in the bathroom sink or shower drain), harsh chemicals should be your last resort. If you’re unable to reach into the drain to remove the clog by pulling it out, baking soda, vinegar, and hot water may do the trick.

Simply pour one cup of baking soda followed by one cup of vinegar down the drain. Give it a few minutes to fizz (at least five, preferably longer), then rinse the drain with hot water. If the clog persists, you can try this method a second time. If the clog doesn’t seem to be improving at all, it’s time to call a drain cleaning service professional.

Good Sink Disposal Etiquette

Things you CAN put down the drain:

  • Coffee (without the grounds)
  • Milk
  • Tea
  • Anything you can drink
  • Almost any liquid substance

Food and grease should never go down the drain of the kitchen sink. It is not a garbage disposal. So, use a strainer or trap to catch everything when washing the dishes. Occasionally use boiling hot water to flush the drains to help prevent clogs. You can dump coffee without the grounds, milk, tea, anything you drink that is solid-liquid in a kitchen sink.

Can you pour honey down the drain?

While honey may seem closer to a liquid than a solid, pouring it down the drain or garbage disposal is not recommended. Because honey is extremely sticky, it could cause other debris to get stuck in the drain or blades of the disposal. Additionally, honey can crystalize (especially high-quality or raw honey), which could increase the likelihood of a clog.

That said, honey is soluble. This means you can dissolve it in water. If you must dispose of unwanted honey and aren’t able to toss it in the trash, dilute and dissolve it in warm water first and rinse it down the drain instead of pouring it in straight.

Can I dump coffee grounds down the drain?

No. Contrary to popular misconception, coffee grounds do not dissolve in water. Thus, they should not be poured down your kitchen drain or any other drain in your home. In fact, coffee grounds are one of the primary reasons kitchen drains and garbage disposals get clogged!

How to unclog a sink clogged with coffee grounds

Just like with any plumbing emergency, unclogging your sink is best left to a professional. If you’re dealing with the small clog, though, you may be able to get the coffee grounds out with a plunger:

  1. Partially fill the sink with water
  2. Stop the drain in the other sink with a drain stop
  3. Place the plunger cup directly over the clogged drain
  4. Push down and pull up until the coffee grounds loosen

Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air serves customers throughout San Diego, CA – from the Rancho Bernardo area to Point Loma, San Marcos, Escondido, Vista, El Cajon and everywhere in-between!

Back to Top '