More than 6million homes in the UK suffer from blocked drains, according to findings from the AA’s Home Emergency Response unit.
A vast amount of these problems are caused by householders who treat sink plugholes as places where they can dispose of all sorts of food stuffs that should either be thrown into the bin, onto a compost heap or discarded in some other way.
Here’s four foods that block up your sink plugholes:
Fat, oil and grease
In liquid form, fat, oil and grease (or FOG as it is sometimes called) does not appear to be harmful, but as it cools it congeals and hardens. This substance can stick to the inner lining of drainage pipes and restrict the wastewater flow – meaning your sink waste water pipe will be less efficient and in the worse cases become blocked.
But the problem does not just stop at your waste pipe. Large amounts of congealed fat can join up in sewers to form ‘fatbergs’ that can cause damage and blockages. A fatberg recently discovered in London’s sewerage system measured 40metres across and weighed 10tonnes.
Tips for disposing of FOG include scraping fat and sauces from roasting trays into a heat resistant container and when they cool put it in the bin, or wiping away grease on plates and pans with kitchen roll and throwing it into the bin.
Pasta and rice
Regardless of how much water you run down your plughole it is very difficult to break down rice or pasta into small enough chunks because rice and pasta swell when they come in contact with water.
This means the small pieces will become bloated and accumulate in the trap of your pipe until it becomes clogged.
Coffee grounds can build up and cause blockages in your waste pipe trap, so don’t put them down your plughole. Instead, dispose of coffee by putting it on your compost heap or straight onto the garden.
If you are imaginative, coffee grounds can be put to many uses, including to remove food odours, to exfoliate skin or to make soap.
Vegetable peelings and fruit peel
Fibrous items like vegetable peelings are another food waste that should not go down the plughole. Starchy peelings like potato skins are a particular problem: as they get wet they become slimy and cling to the side of pipes – just right for collecting other waste and starting a blockage.