As you take care of your plumbing, you must be aware of some substances that you should never put down your drain. This is especially true if you have older plumbing in your home, but even if you have a garbage disposal you should avoid putting certain things down your drain. Here are some substances that can clog up your pipes, cause water pollution, and create serious issues with your plumbing:

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can cause serious issues with your plumbing, especially if you’re a daily coffee drinker. The grounds get into the bends and twist of your pipes and build up over time, creating clogs that may need a plumber to remove. If you drink coffee daily, scoop the used grounds into your trash instead, then rinse the coffee machine parts and wash them normally or run them through the dishwasher. Avoid running the entire pot’s worth of grounds down the drain, as this is how severe clogs develop.

Grease, Fats, and Oils

Avoid putting grease, fats, and oil down the drain. They may be liquid after you’ve cooked with them, but as they cool, they’ll solidify in your plumbing and create thick clogs that can be extremely difficult to remove. You may not be able to get grease clogs out of your drain on your own or with over the counter products, and may instead need to call in a professional for assistance.


In the past it was common to put extra liquid medications down the drain or to flush extra pills that you no longer needed. However, this has led to a large amount of pharmaceutical water pollution in the United States. If you have surplus medication from a prescription that you no longer need, set it aside and save it for a prescription turn-in event at a pharmacy or police station. This allows you to dispose of the medications safely without polluting your local water supply.

If you fail to follow these guidelines, you may find that you need a professional plumber to unclog your pipes. There are several common signs that you have a problem and need a plumber to assist you, including odd smells from your drain, low water pressure, and odd sounds coming from the pipes. If you experience any of these issues, reach out to a professional plumber to help you solve the problems before they worsen. Plumbing companies can assess your situation and provide you with an estimate to solve the problem.