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11 Things Notorious for Clogging Up the Kitchen Sink

A clogged up kitchen sink is never fun, but it happens in most homes, although it's actually preventable. And while we've already warned you not to flush things like coffee grounds and chewing gum down the drain in a previous article, in this post, we'll stress the importance of disposing of common food waste properly. Even your garbage disposal won’t be capable of handling these 11 things if you dump them in your kitchen sink, so make sure to toss them directly into the garbage.

1. Rice

things not to dump into kitchen sink rinsing Rice in the kitchen sink
It's just so convenient to rinse rice in the sink, but it turns out that it's also really bad for the pipes, as soft foods, such as pasta and rice, tend to absorb a lot of water and expand in size when they get stuck in the pipes, clogging up the sink. To prevent any rice from escaping into the sink, we recommend using a fine-mesh sieve for rinsing. When it comes to leftover rice in plates and bowls, it's important to clean it away completely before putting these into the sink.

2. Mashed Potatoes

things not to dump into kitchen sink a bowl of Mashed Potatoes
Since mashed potatoes are not solid, you might think it's safe to simply wash away any leftovers in the sink. Unfortunately, this is a common mistake, and starchy foods are often the reason for a clogged-up sink. Starches are sticky like gum and tend to clump up into chucks and cling to the pipes and any other trash particles that will be washed down the sink - a recipe for disaster.

3. Fruit and Vegetable Peels

things not to dump into kitchen sink throwing out banana peel into the trash
Fruit and vegetable peels seem like an easy job for the garbage disposal since they're quite soft, but this, too, is a dangerous misconception, as in reality, these peels turn into a sticky paste once they go through the garbage disposal and can not only slow down its blades but also contribute to pipe clogging. Banana peels, in particular, can also be quite stringy, too, so they can tangle the garbage disposal.

4. Eggshells

things not to dump into kitchen sink an egg carton full of eggshells
Eggshells are among the most common culprits behind clogged up sinks, and even relatively small pieces can settle down in the pipes and further accumulate dirt and other small pieces of food waste. The main problem with these is that they're not water-soluble, so once they get into the pipes, they will stay there until dissolved using a chemical cleaner or removed manually.
The main problem is that many people believe that ground-up eggshells can clean pipes, but this is a myth, and using them in a partially blocked sink can result in a complete blockage instead of clearing it out.

5. Fibrous Veggies

things not to dump into kitchen sink asparagus
Much like banana peels, vegetables like asparagus, celery, and corn husks are all quite stringy, and the fibers they contain can be very dangerous if they get into your garbage disposal and sink, as they can tangle the blades of the garbage disposal and entangle other trash particles in the pipes, resulting in a blocked sink.

6. Bones

things not to dump into kitchen sink chicken bones
Dumping bones into the garbage disposal may be something you've done for ages, but the fact that they didn't clog up the drain immediately doesn't mean it's fine to do so. Plumbers point out that bones can significantly dull the blades of your garbage disposal. Apart from that, the surface of the bones can also be covered in pieces of cartilage, meat and fat, which are widely known to contribute to sink blockages, so just throw all the bones into the trash instead of the kitchen sink.

7. Leftover Grease on the Frying Pan

things not to dump into kitchen sink bacon frying
Speaking of grease, are you in the habit of rinsing down the skillet with warm water right in your sink after frying up some bacon and eggs? If so, this may be the reason why your sink keeps malfunctioning, as sticky grease and oil is the primary cause of a clogged up sink. Instead, we recommend wiping down the frying pan with a paper towel prior to rinsing or cleaning it. This will help remove most of the grease from the surface of the pan.

8. Tea Bags

things not to dump into kitchen sink a cup of tea tea bag
People who throw used tea bags into the sink, we know you exist. Please know that what you're doing is a recipe for disaster, even if you have the most powerful garbage disposal in the universe. This is not only because tea bags literally contain strings, but also because some tea bags are made of a mesh fabric that is insoluble and will eventually block the pipes. Apart from that, the tea leaves themselves can be quite hydrophilic, which means that they absorb water, so you're risking a pipe blockage even if you're throwing loose leaf tea into your kitchen sink.

9. Food Packaging and Stickers

things not to dump into kitchen sink tangerines with stickers on them
Image Source: Mike/ Flickr
Food packaging is another threat of your kitchen sink's integrity and functionality, as the vast majority of the various stickers and plastic wrap don't dissolve and end up clogging up your kitchen sink. The worst offenders are all those little stickers you find on fruit and vegetables, with plumbers reporting countless occasions where they were forced to replace an entire section of the pipes because of these seemingly-harmless culprits.

10. Fruit Pits

things not to dump into kitchen sink peaches
Like bones, cherry pits and other stones you find in fruit can wreak havoc in your kitchen's plumbing, as they, too, rarely dissolve or get through the pipes without causing a problem. That's why you should always toss the fruit and vegetable pits into the trash and be quick to fetch out any that accidentally made their way into the sink before they move down the drain.

11. Flour

things not to dump into kitchen sink flour
The last item on our list is just flour, which just so happens to be among the worst things you can pour into the sink. Like you surely know yourself, adding water to flour results in a sticky substance we call dough, and the last thing you want is to create a plug of sticky dough in the drain. If you accidentally spill any dough in the sink, quickly wipe it down dry with a towel so that no flour residue gets down the drain.
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