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Don’t throw these 5 things down your sink drain

They can do serious damage to your pipes or the environment.
Kitchen sink, running water (light blue)

Author: Travis Pittman

Published: 6:00 AM EDT April 26, 2019

Updated: 6:16 AM EDT April 26, 2019

Some people think the kitchen sink with garbage disposal is a quick and easy way to take care of things you'd rather not throw in the trash. But there are some items people commonly send down the drain that can damage plumbing, the garbage disposal, and hurt the environment.

Here are five things you should never pour down the drain.


This can harden and clog your pipes when it dries. It may also contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate water and soil.

The correct way to dispose of leftover paint is to harden it or donate it. You can harden paint by mixing it in the paint can with kitty litter. Many garbage collection agencies or landfills will take hardened paint.

You can also search Earth911.com for a place near you that will take your leftover paint.


Pasta can tangle in the blades of your garbage disposal and then harden in the pipes, according to Hunker. Running tap water down the drain to try and clear it out could make it worse because the pasta can swell. But pouring boiling water down the drain could potentially help.


It may seem like these delicate shells would do no harm, but they likely are still wet. That can coat your pipes or garbage disposal blades and harden, according to Insider. You're better off throwing them away or using them for compost.


The big reason is the environment. Drugs can get into water supplies and groundwater, potentially affecting wildlife or humans if it gets into community drinking water.

Saturday, April 27, is National Drug Take Back Day in which several locations across the country will take your expired or unused medications.

The Environmental Protection Agency says another way to properly dispose of the medications is to take them out of their original containers, mix them with something undesirable like used kitty litter. Put the mixture in secure container with a lid or a sealed bag before throwing it in the trash. Also be sure to completely conceal the personal information from your medication bottle before throwing it away.

Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds can clump together in the drain and eventually clog and cause a backup. If you don’t want to throw them in the trash, consider using them in your yard. Some people use coffee grounds as fertilizer, compost or mulch.