14 Items You Should Never Put Down the Drain

No one wants to worry about their toilet overflowing or their sink refusing to drain. Luckily there are ways to avoid the build-up that leads to these unfortunate scenarios. We have 14 items you should never put down the drain. These things will either clog up the pipes in your home or leak chemicals into our marine environment. Regardless, they should be avoided whenever possible.

graphic of a household cleaning productgraphic of a household cleaning product

1. Household cleaners

Many household cleaners contain chemicals like bleach that mix with the water and leak into the waterways. These chemicals can be deadly for marine life and cause erosion in your pipes.

How to dispose of household cleaners

Read the label on the cleaner to find the correct way to dispose of the product. Be sure to recycle the container if it’s recyclable.

Eco tip

Purchase all-natural cleaning products that are water-soluble and designed to safely go down the drain.

graphic of medicationgraphic of medication

2. Medication

If you are getting rid of unused, unwanted or expired pills, it’s important that you don’t flush them. The city waste treatment isn’t able to filter these medications, so they end up in the ocean. These pills leak chemicals that can impact aquatic animals by interfering with growth and reproduction.

How to dispose of medication

The FDA suggests discarding your unwanted medicines by mixing them with an unappealing substance like dirt, cat litter or coffee grounds in a sealed plastic bag. Then dispose of this in the garbage can. Be sure to remove your name and information from any prescription bottles before tossing them.

Eco tip

Rather than tossing these medications, bring them to a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day or controlled substance public disposal location. These programs have a secure process that disposes of them in a way that protects the environment.

graphic that shows paintgraphic that shows paint

3. Paint

Whether you’ve just repainted your home or are working on an art project, don’t pour your leftover paint down the drain. Paint is flammable, releases dangerous fumes and will stick to your pipes. The chemicals in the paint also can get into the waterways and be deadly to marine life.

How to dispose of paint

When done painting, be sure any excess paint is off the brush by scraping it against the edge of the can. If you have a large amount of paint you need to dispose of, find a household hazardous waste facility in your area that will take care of it.

Eco tip

Plan for your project. Use a decorating app to envision the color on the wall to make sure it’s the right one and then calculate the exact amount you’ll need. If you have too much paint and don’t want to take it to a disposal facility, try listing it for free on a selling app.

graphic that shows microplastics in a facial cleansergraphic that shows microplastics in a facial cleanser

4. Microplastics

Microplastics or microbeads are little bits of plastic that are used as filler in many health and beauty products. These plastics get into the oceans and are harmful to marine life. Not only is it bad for fish to consume these plastics, but humans can end up eating the fish that have this dangerous plastic in them.

How to dispose of microplastics

It’s impossible to catch these microplastics from going down the drain. Instead, you have to actively avoid products that have these plastics.

Eco tip

Avoid products that have colorful beads or list polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) as an ingredient.

graphic that shows coffee groundsgraphic that shows coffee grounds

5. Coffee grounds

A highly debated topic is if it’s okay to dispose of coffee grounds in the sink. While many foods can be put down the garbage disposal, coffee grounds pose a problem. They tend to clump up in water and create a build-up in your pipes.

How to dispose of coffee grounds

These coffee grounds should be disposed of in a trash can, added to your compost pile or repurposed into a coffee ground DIY project.

Eco tip

Use the coffee grounds as fertilizer in your garden. If you don’t have a yard, add them to the plants on your balcony or windowsill.

graphic that shows plant growing in an egg shellgraphic that shows plant growing in an egg shell

6. Eggshells

While some garbage disposals can handle eggshells, most sinks can not. To err on the side of caution, resist putting the remnants of your breakfast down the drain. The shells break up into small, sticky pieces that attach to the inside of your pipes, causing a clog.

How to dispose of eggshells

You can throw these shells in the garbage or add them to your compost pile.

Eco tip

Try repurposing the shells by using them as containers to grow an herb garden in. You can even keep the herb plants in the original egg carton.

graphic that shows pastagraphic that shows pasta

7. Pasta

Another food that can cause a sticky situation is pasta. The noodles grow in size when they absorb water so if you put them in a wet drain, they will become enlarged and block the passageway.

How to dispose of pasta

Be sure to scrape any leftovers into a garbage bin.

Eco tip

It’s easy to cook too much pasta and be left with a feast. Instead, read the packaging to see how many servings of pasta it makes. This way you won’t have too much left over.

graphic that shows a flour baggraphic that shows a flour bag

8. Flour

You’ve probably experienced the thick paste that combining flour and water creates. Avoid producing this paste in your pipes whenever possible.

How to dispose of flour

If you’ve spilled a large amount when baking, use a vacuum to clean up the mess. For smaller counter spills, wipe the extra flour into a garbage can.

Eco tip

Transfer your flour to a reusable container that’s easy to use. This will keep the flour fresh for a long period of time and prevent spills.

graphic that shows oil in a mason jargraphic that shows oil in a mason jar

9. Grease, fat and oils

Grease, fat and oil should never be disposed of down the drain. These liquids, hot or cold, will dry and easily cling to the sides of the pipes. This plumbing backup will prevent water from coming through and can cause issues for your whole apartment complex or even neighborhood.

How to dispose of grease, fat and oils

Grease, fat and oils should be disposed of in a trash can. Let them cool and then spoon the solid leftovers into a container that can be thrown away. We suggest putting this container in a plastic bag that can be zipped or tied closed so animals won’t get into your trash.

Eco tip

It’s not advised to compost this leftover grease. The smell will attract all kinds of unwanted animals. However, you can reuse the grease and fat. After cooking, let it cool and strain the room temperature liquid into a mason jar to use for another recipe. You can store the mason jar in the fridge until you need it.

graphic that shows cotton ballsgraphic that shows cotton balls

10. Cotton balls

Cotton balls and Q-tips are commonly used in the bathroom, so it can be tempting to dispose of them in the toilet. This is a sure way to cause a clog. Cotton absorbs water and gets caught in pipe corners.

How to dispose of cotton balls

These should be disposed of in the trash can.

Eco tip

Try using reusable materials like a washcloth whenever possible. If you do use cotton balls or cotton swabs, be sure they are made of cotton rather than synthetic materials. Cotton can be composted.

graphic that shows collecting produce stickersgraphic that shows collecting produce stickers

11. Produce stickers

When you wash your produce in the kitchen sink, it’s likely that a produce sticker comes off. While this little paper might seem harmless, it doesn’t dissolve in water and can block screens, filters or pumps at the water treatment plant.

This has also become an issue for those who compost. They peel the fruit with the sticker and all the waste goes into their compost bin. Unfortunately, these stickers won’t decompose because they are made from vinyl or plastic.

How to dispose of produce stickers

Remove any stickers you find on produce and throw them in the garbage. Most produce stickers are not recyclable.

Eco tip

While there is a push for creating more sustainable PLU sticker alternatives, nothing has stuck. Rather than throwing them in the garbage, you can try collecting the stickers and have your kids create sticker art. Check out Stickerman Produce Art for some inspiration.

graphic that shows hair in a hair brushgraphic that shows hair in a hair brush

12. Hair

Have you ever had to deal with a clogged shower drain full of hair? It’s not a pretty sight. The same clog can happen if you flush hair down the toilet or bathroom sink. Whenever possible, try to prevent hair from going down the drain.

How to dispose of hair

Get a sink hair catcher and dispose of it in the trash.

Eco tip

Brush your hair (with an eco-friendly bamboo hairbrush) before you shower to prevent any loose hairs from going down the drain.

graphic that shows paper towelsgraphic that shows paper towels

13. Paper towels

While paper towels might seem interchangeable with toilet paper, the material is very different. They are thicker and not able to dissolve in water. This means paper towels should not be flushed because they will get stuck in the pipes and create a clog.

How to dispose of paper towels

Paper towels are usually made from recycled paper, so the fibers are too short to be recycled again. They also can’t usually be recycled because they contain dirt, food and chemicals that aren’t able to break down. This means to dispose of paper towels, you’ll have to throw them in the trash.

Eco tip

Try removing paper towels from your life. Replace them with cloth napkins and dish towels. If you have a large spill, use a sponge to clean it up.

graphic of kitty littergraphic of kitty litter

14. Kitty litter

Some brands of cat litter claim to be flushable, but it can still have a negative impact on your pipes and the ocean. Cat litter is designed to be absorbent, so when it’s flushed it absorbs the water and grows in size. This may cause a clog. In addition, the chemicals from the cat litter and the toxins in the feces can get in the local waterways and harm marine life.

How to dispose of kitty litter properly

Instead of flushing kitty litter, throw it away in a trash can. Be sure the trash can has a lid, or else other neighborhood animals might get into it, making a mess.

Eco tip

Look for more “green” litter that is made from recycled newspaper, wood shavings or other more natural recycled elements. This will be safer to dispose of because it doesn’t produce dust that clay litter does.

How to unclog your drain the natural way

Even if you’ve avoided putting these items down the drain, there can still be build-up that causes a clog in your drain. Rather than pouring another chemical down the drain or waiting for a plumber to arrive, try unclogging it with baking soda and vinegar.

  • Step 1: Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
  • Step 2: Add 1 cup of baking soda down the drain and then pour in 1 cup water and 1 cup of vinegar.
  • Step 3: Wait about 10 minutes for the solution to mix in the drain.
  • Step 4: Pour another pot of boiling water down the drain to clear the pipes.

If this natural cleaning method doesn’t work, you should contact your landlord or property management with a maintenance request. Professionals will have a better idea of what the issue is.

infographic of items to never put down the draininfographic of items to never put down the drain

Sources:

The Nest | mnn | Independent

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How To Cut Those Scary Halloween Costs

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While Halloween is nowhere near as expensive as Christmas it can still be an expensive holiday especially if you have children or are planning to have a Halloween party.

If you reduce your spending at Halloween, you will have more money for the holidays.

If your funds are tight, or you simply want to save money, here are some ideas for cutting those scary Halloween costs. These homemade projects are also a great way to spend time with your family.

cut halloween costs

cut halloween costs

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Candy Corn Recipe

  • Cookies – cookies are easy to make, and you can make Halloween themed cookies. You can even make small cookies and bag them up for children who are trick-or-treating.
  • Toys – you can also hand out inexpensive Halloween themed toys, like spider rings or whistles. You can often buy these in bulk from party stores, and it is often cheaper and healthier than giving out candy.
  • Inexpensive Halloween Party Decorations

    Having a costume party can be great fun, but it can be expensive to decorate your house. Instead of rushing out to buy expensive decorations, you can use inexpensive items and some things that you already own in order to decorate your home.

    • Black trash bags – you probably already have these in your home, and they make great decorations. For example, you can cut out cats and bats and hang them around your home. You can also cover tables with these bags in order to give your house a spookier ambiance. This is a great option for food tables, and it makes clean up easy.
    • Fake spider webs and spiders – these spider webs are often inexpensive, and you can find them at party stores. You can also buy a roll of white string and make your own web that way. Hang this handmade web with pipe cleaner spiders, and you are ready to go. Here’s some instructions on making your own pipe cleaner spiders: Pipe Cleaner Spiders
    • A black light – you might have a black light, and if not, they are inexpensive, especially if you buy a black light bulb. Replace your normal light bulb with a black light bulb (make sure it fits before you buy it). White and light colored cloth will glow under this kind of light. You can also buy some black light paint and decorate with it, and it will glow under black light. For example, you can cut shapes like cats, pumpkins, gravestones, etc, out of cardboard or foam board and paint it with black light paint.

    These are just a few ideas to make your Halloween more fun and affordable.

    Do you have any ideas for making inexpensive Halloween costumes, treats or decorations? Let us know!

    This is an article by Dominique Brown from yourfinancessimplified.com. If you want relevant, witty and easy to follow finance guidance subscribe to his newsletter by clicking here!

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    Source: biblemoneymatters.com

    How the Home Buying and Selling Process Has Changed During COVID-19

    Summer is usually a busy season for home buying and selling, but in this season of the coronavirus, it’s anything but typical.

    As states are in various staging of opening up, sellers are dealing with new procedures with putting their homes up for sale and buyers are working hard to thoroughly search while still practicing social distancing.

    I’ve found myself in the middle of this as I’m helping my mom this summer. She’s looking to retire in a few years and wants to be closer to the grandkids.

    She’s already found work here in Raleigh and now during summer break, she’s selling her house and hunting for a place.

    Being a Smart Home Buyer or Seller During This Pandemic

    If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home during the pandemic, you need to be extra prepared and willing to adjust as needed.

    I had the pleasure of speaking with Louis Guillama, VP of Real Estate Operations at Coastal Credit Union a few times to get his take on what it takes to be successful with buying and selling.

    Here are some ways my mom and I have adapted. I hope they help you get a great deal while still practicing social distancing.

    Selling Your House

    Every seller I know wants to get the most out of their house when they list it. With the pandemic, it can be a real challenge.

    However, there are some crucial things you can do to really make your house shine.

    Create buzz for your house with incredible pictures and videos. Great photos will help you sell in any season, but are especially more important now. Photographs were a wonderful way to attract interested buyers for a tour, but in some cases where restrictions are strict, they are the tour!

    Some tips to make your house looks its best for photos include:

    • Stage your home. Make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your home by taking the time to define and decorate your space.
    • Declutter and depersonalize your space. You want your buyers to imagine that this is their home, so pack away your photos, certificates, and other personal stuff for your next place.
    • Take photos with natural light. If possible, choose a sunny day to take pictures as it can make your house look more inviting.
    • Shoot from the corner of the room. You can highlight rooms better based on where you stand. The ‘directly in front’ method isn’t usually the way to go. Instead, tuck yourself into the corner so you can get a wide shot of the space.

    Video is practically a must now as there are potential buyers who have health conditions. Being able to see your home online allows you to cast a wider net. Many agents today are able to create a video based on your photos.

    If this all seems overwhelming, then you may want to talk to your agent and ask for a referral. They may know someone with experience who can showcase your home perfectly!

    Pictures are wonderful, but there are still some other key pieces you want to watch.

    Be objective in your pricing. One huge mistake sellers typically make is mixing up sentimental value with market value. Sit down with your agent and review comparable sales so you can get a clear idea of the best price to list it.

    You also have to be mindful if the market has shifted in your area. Hard hit cities may become buyer’s markets now.

    Be prepared to go virtual with closing. The closing process has changed to accommodate the social distancing requirement. My mom had a choice of signing at home with digital documents or meeting up at an office.

    Buying a House During the Pandemic

    Buying a house under normal conditions can be stressful under normal conditions, with a pandemic, you can understandably be anxious. Preparing for your house hunt can make it more enjoyable.

    According to Louis Guillama, VP of Real Estate Operations at Coastal Credit Union, snagging a great deal when buying a house requires doing some key legwork.

    Run your own numbers. Yes, this is especially true when you’re the buyer. Some lenders will approve you for a loan higher than you can comfortably carry. When you consider other goals -like saving for retirement, taking care of kids, and yes, vacations  – you want to be conservative with your finances.

    While 30% of your income is given as a guideline, you may want to use 25% of your net income as a better guide so you can have a good financial buffer in your budget.

    Nail down your need and wish list. Now is not the time to tour every single house that comes on the market. You have to be strategic about the houses you visit, so sit down and define what you absolutely need and what would be nice to have.

    For my mom, she was adamant getting a house with about 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and that was 15 mins or less from her job and where we live.

    She was flexible on the yard size and the town she was in (there are several great ones around Raleigh).  With that information and her budget, we’ve been able to weed out many homes and focused on one that she would absolutely love.

    Being a Savvy House Hunter

    Adding a layer or two of stress, besides being out of town, my mom also has an underlying medical condition.

    To assist, I volunteered to do the actual tours with her real estate agent. If you don’t have someone to go to the in-person visits for you, you’ can still work with your agent and have a successful house hunt.

    First off, go through the virtual tour of any home you’re interested in. This will allow you to get a general feel of the layout and whether or not it’ll work for you.

    You’ll also want to comb through the photos to see which areas you need to check out further. Are there any signs of damage like cracks, stains, or are certain rooms missing? Either can be a sign of trouble. You can then have your agent call you through video and go through those details.

    Don’t be an HGTV kind of buyer, where you focus on things like paint and decor. Instead, Louis advised that you hone in on key systems like electrical, HVAC, and plumbing. You don’t want to get hit with a big repair after you buy your house.

    Speaking of home tours and taking a careful look, please make sure you protect yourself. While some areas have restrictions on visits, that doesn’t mean it’s enforced.

    In one house I looked at, the agent and I were alone to inspect while the next interested buyers were outside waiting. Another house had us make an appointment as well, but halfway through our tour, several other buyers and agents were in and around the property.

    Since part of the in-person tours involves checking around appliances, cabinets, switches, and so forth, you want to bring gloves and a mask.

    During your tours, make sure you check the neighborhood as well. When you have neighbors who are taking care of their property it can give you more confidence about your choice.

    Speaking of neighborhoods, if you’re looking for a great deal, don’t limit yourself to only the popular neighborhoods (which can be overpriced). Instead, dig for the hidden gems in your city or town.

    Stay Safe!

    I hope these tips not only help you sell and buy a house during these unprecedented times but also give you ideas on how to stay safe!

    I’d love to get your take – how have you adjusted with buying and selling your home?

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    Source: mint.intuit.com