Plumbers Tell-All: 8 Things that Clog Your Pipes

Plumbing is definitely a messy topic. When we think of pipes clogging, we cringe at the image of all our nasty house hold items (and other gross things), piling in a pipe. Plumbers report house calls from $150 to $460. What they find can sometimes be embarrassing or just shocking when they pull out globs of food. To save yourself some money and embarrassment, here are 8 of the most common items clogging your pipes.

1. Fruit peels and rinds

While we all may have a handy-dandy garbage disposal these days, it’s still not best to test its limits. Fruit peels and rinds don’t break down easily, even with a garbage disposal.

2. Starches and other fibrous foods

This may be surprising, but any starchy or fibrous foods like potatoes, celery, corn, corn husks, onion skins, asparagus, and artichokes will expand in the garbage disposal. It wraps around the blades and damages the motor, which leads to backup.

3. Grease, oil, and fats

You should never put grease down the kitchen sink. It can coat the pipes, creating sludge. It builds up over time and prevents good drainage. Poor your grease into an empty container and let it solidify, then throw it in the trash.

4. Feminine products and cotton swabs

Plumbing professionals find these things clogging pipes all the time. Anything made from cotton expands as it gets wet, causing build up. It’s gross, but so are clogged pipes.

5. Wipes and cosmetic towelettes

Even if your wipes claim to be flushable, they still shouldn’t be flushed. It may go down the toilet and past the drainage system, but then it plays with the municipal system. Toilet paper falls apart quickly and is meant to – towels, towelettes, and wipes are not.

6. Kitty litter

Kitty litter is usually made from clay, silica, or sand, and this can cause a lot of problems for your plumbing system. These materials are meant to absorb moisture and create clumps, which clog your system immediately.

7. Egg shells

Some may think they egg shells are good for your disposal and the blades, but this isn’t true. The membrane layers in the shells can wrap around the blades and cause them to malfunction. The sand-like consistency of shells can also clog pipes.

8. Dental floss, hair, and other stringy stuff

Dental floss is on the top of the list with the most common clog “culprits”. Floss and string are not biodegradable. Adding hair to the mix creates knots and clumps, trapping odors and causing major clogs.

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