Don’t Strain Your Drain

Whether it’s your kitchen sink, your tub or your toilet, sending the wrong liquids and solids down the drain can damage not only your plumbing, but pipes in the sewer collection system and wastewater treatment plant as well.

Some things just aren’t meant to go down the drain. They may be small. The package may even say “flushable.” But don’t be fooled. Items like premoistened wipes, tissues and dental floss don’t dissolve well (or at all) in water. That means they can get caught in the pipes in your home or in the sewer collection system, causing build-up that can lead to a sewer backup. Stash them in the trash!

Use the Where Does it Go? Search Tool for information on how to reuse, recycle and dispose of items that don’t belong in your drain.

What NOT to Drain

Everyday Items

When chemicals from medications, supplements and certain household cleaners go down the drain they become part of the water. Wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to remove these chemicals. When water is discharged from these facilities, they can find their way into natural water bodies and potentially harming aquatic or marine life. You should throw away old medications or drop them off at a drug take-back site. Cleaners and chemicals should be disposed through the Household Electronics and Chemical Collection Center.

  • Pre-moistened Wipes
  • Bandages or Dressings
  • Cotton Balls or Swabs
  • Catheters
  • Wrappers
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Facial Tissues
  • Dental Floss
  • Test Strips
  • Topical Creams, Lotions or Solutions
  • Medications or Supplements
  • Cigarette Butts
  • Diapers
  • Hair
  • Condoms
  • Paper Towels
  • Hypodermic Needles
  • Nail Polish or Nail Polish Remover
  • Dust, Dirt or Lint
  • Cat Litter (even the “flushable” kind)

Cooking Items

  • Meat Fats
  • Cooking Oil
  • Butter, Margarine or Shortening
  • Sauces and Dressings
  • Solid Dairy Products
  • Pieces of Food
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Flour or Other Baking Ingredients
  • Egg Shells
  • Produce Stickers
old fashioned red gas can with spout and white lettering

Household Chemicals

Household chemicals should be properly disposed, not go down the drain. They may cause build-up in pipes and could also be hazardous.

  • Motor Oil
  • Gasoline
  • Other Flammable or Explosive Substances
  • Transmission Fluids
  • Anti-freeze
  • Solvents
  • Paints
  • Turpentine
  • Acids
  • Hazardous Cleansers or Disinfectants
  • Other Corrosive Substances