4 Common Household Items You Should Never Put Down Your Drain

4 Common Household Items You Should Never Put Down Your Drain

A home plumbing system is a modern marvel that many of us take for granted each and every day. However, home plumbing systems are also complex and intricate. At times, they can even be delicate.

While it may be tempting to easily dispose of certain common household waste with a little running water and a drain, certain household items can actually cause major problems for your plumbing.

At The Plumbing Works, we’ve seen and done it all. Unfortunately, not everything we’ve seen is recommended. Without further ado, here are four common household items you should never put down your drain.


Gas and motor oil doesn’t really belong anywhere but inside a machine or an automobile. Pouring either substance down a drain is not only a bad idea, but it is even against the law in many areas.

Fossil fuel substances like these can easily find their way into surface and groundwater supplies, potentially contaminating local drinking water and plant life. Just one gallon of motor oil is enough to contaminate over 250,000 gallons of drinking water, so be sure to think twice before disposing it via a sink or toilet. In addition, gasoline vapors that remain in the air after pouring the fuel down a drain are highly flammable, potentially putting you and your family in danger.

To avoid these issues, be sure to follow government-approved regulation for disposal of hazardous materials. This often means turning your used motor oil into your local recycling facility.


Washing machines have lint catchers for a reason! Over time, the lint that comes out with the water in washing machine discharge can cause a nasty clog deep in your laundry drain, leading to overflow.

An overflowing washer drain can quickly coat your entire floor in a layer of dirty water, causing significant damage and perhaps even posing a risk to your physical health. Thankfully, this is preventable.

Modern washing machines are equipped with a lint catcher, which is a metal mesh sleeve that goes over your washer’s discharge hose and catches debris before it can reach the drain. Be sure you are regularly cleaning and replacing your washing machine’s lint catcher! This task often goes overlooked by many people who don’t even realize it exists.


Pouring paint down your drain is bad for a variety of things, including your plumbing, your environment, and well, you. Paint has the potential to coat the interior of your drain pipes and harden, eventually causing major clogs. In addition, paint can leak into ground and surface water, leading to contamination. Paint is also known to release toxic and flammable fumes into the environment.

Instead of disposing of excess paint via your drain, it’s always a better idea to donate unused paint so that it may be used by others. However, this is only possible for certain types of paint. For other types, like latex paint and oil-based paint, should be turned over to your local hazardous waste disposal facility.

Kitty Litter

Many people are under the impression that kitty litter is flushable, and this is likely due to certain companies claiming as much in an effort to generate better sales. The reality is however, that the extra solids added to kitty litter can become far too much for many plumbing systems to handle, leading to serious clogs. Septic systems are particularly prone to this issue.

In addition, pet waste can carry bacteria and other organisms that are harmful to humans. For this reason, flushing pet waste is also illegal in many states.

It’s always better to think before you flush, but if you’re unsure whether certain objects can be disposed of via your home plumbing system, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at The Plumbing Works in Reading, PA! We’re always ready to help.