How diligent are you when it comes to controlling what goes down your drains? Do you let just anything flow into your pipes? If you regularly deal with slow drains or experience recurring drain blockages, chances are your drain habits are to blame.

But any habit can be altered with a little diligence and the right information. To help you keep drain blockages to a minimum, the experts at Drain Blaster Bill’s Sewer & Drain Cleaning share seven things that should never end up in your household drains.

Napkins and Paper Towels

If you run out of toilet paper unexpectedly, you might be tempted to use napkins or paper towels in a pinch. Most of us have probably done it, and when it’s a rare occurrence, it probably won’t pose much of a risk to your drains. But when you regularly flush paper towels or napkins down your commode, drain problems are almost inevitable.

Neither paper towels nor napkins are designed to break down in water the way toilet paper does. As a result, they can cause toilet drain blockages and even septic system problems with chronic use. When you’re in a toilet paper pinch and must resort to using alternate paper products, always toss them in the trash when you’re done. It might sound off-putting, but a backed-up toilet is pretty gross too. 


Hair is one of the most common culprits behind recurring drain clogs in bathtubs and showers. But it’s not just human hair that can cause a problem; if you wash your pets in the bathtub or shower, their hair — although it’s rather short — can also contribute to drain blockages.

When hair washes down your drains, it can get stuck to the film that naturally accumulates along the interior walls of your pipes. And if you don’t have your drains cleaned regularly, chances are that film buildup is fairly thick. As hair continually gets stuck in that residue, it forms a dense, slimy clog that can lead to slow draining or a complete drain blockage.

Fortunately, preventing this issue is easy: install drain traps on any drains you regularly and schedule annual drain cleaning to keep the interior of your pipes free of residue.

Oils and Grease

Even if you have a garbage disposal, you should never pour grease or oil into it. The same idea applies to your shower, bathtub, and sink drains and oily cosmetics or bathing products. When oily substances flow into your drains, they can stick to the interior walls of your pipes. As you continue to allow these types of substances into your plumbing, they accumulate and trap incoming particles. While it might take some time to develop, a substantial drain clog can form, and if it’s oil based, professional drain cleaning is the only way to eliminate it.

To avoid oil-based drain blockages, always dispose of greasy substances in your trash can. You can fill up an old jar and toss the whole thing or scrape oils into the trash as you use them.

Sanitary Products

There’s a reason many public restrooms have signage addressing proper disposal practices for sanitary products: they can create serious drain clogs. Your household toilets are no different.

Like paper towels and napkins, sanitary products are not designed to break down in water like toilet paper. Even the product packaging claims the item is flushable, it’s probably not a good idea to flush it if you’re not thrilled with the idea of unclogging your toilet.

Always dispose of sanitary products in your trash can to avoid severe toilet drain blockages and septic system problems. If you consistently deal with toilet clogs and you’re prone to flushing hygiene products, schedule a drain cleaning appointment. Professional water jetting may be the only way to get that trash out of your drains.

Coffee Grounds

Ever heard a rumor that coffee grounds can clean out your garbage disposal? Don’t fall for it. Coffee grounds never belong in your disposal as they can cause serious drain clogs in a relatively short timeframe. Since they’re thick and sludgy, the grounds can accumulate inside your pipes, especially if your house has low water pressure.

In some drains, it takes just days for a coffee ground clog to form and in others, it might take a few weeks. Regardless, if you repeatedly pour used grounds down your disposal or standard sink drain, be prepared to call in a drain cleaning specialist because a blockage is inevitable. 

Need Drain Cleaning in the Twin Cities? Contact Drain Blaster Bill

If your drains are slow or you’re dealing with a complete blockage, get in touch with our team at Drain Blaster Bill’s Sewer & Drain Cleaning. We specialize in a wide variety of drain cleaning services, including water jetting, camera drain inspections, and standard drain cleaning and we proudly serve the entire Twin Cities metro. To learn more or get started, request a free estimate, contact us online, or call our Stillwater, MN office at 763-913-8719.