Dispose Of These Myths Down The Drain: Employee Sink Habits That May Be Ruining The Office Plumbing

If you manage an office building (or any property that may have an office kitchen, like a factory) and have noticed that the maintenance department has been dealing with a lot of clogs lately, take a good look at what is going down the sink. The employees may be following common myths about what can be safely put down drains and in garbage disposals. While most people know not to put cooking oil down the drain, they don't realize that drains and disposals aren't super-receptacles that can take everything. As a result, your building's plumbing can have clogs and rusted-out spots appear much more frequently than they should. Here's a look at three common drain and disposal myths that your employees need to drop.

The Garbage Disposal Will Take Care of Everything

Garbage disposals are not able to destroy everything. There are still some people who think the disposals can grind anything into a powder that flows easily down the sink, but that's not the case. Ensure your employees use the disposal to take care of bits of food left over after they've scraped plates clean into the garbage can.

Running the Hot Water Will Take Care of Everything

Running the hot water will work to wash things out of the immediate surface drain. As the water runs through the pipes, though, it cools down, and any food that it was taking with it can harden and form clumps. This is one of the main problems with greasy foods in an office kitchen; people think something like a little peanut butter will wash away easily when they use hot water to keep it loose and liquidy. But once the water cools, the greasy substance cools too, and clings to the side of the pipe where the food can build up into a clog. This is a problem whether your office sink has a disposal or is just an open drain, so don't let your employees be lulled into a false sense of sink security if you don't have a disposal.

Small Items Aren't a Concern

Small items -- a grain of leftover rice from someone's microwave lunch, a few coffee grounds -- are thought to be harmless because they're so small. They'll just wash down the drain, right? No, it's not right at all. Those small items can cause some of the most annoying backups imaginable. Rice, even one grain, can dry on the blades of a garbage disposal and cause the disposal to jam up. While getting the disposal running again is easy, you still have to get maintenance to spend time unjamming the disposal and cleaning it out so it doesn't stick again from the same object.

Coffee grounds are even worse. Despite internet advice to do things like deodorizing your drain with the grounds, the grounds can clump up inside the pipes. You're left with sand-like sludge that hardens and blocks the drain. The grounds can actually cause the pipes to rust out by trapping other food against the pipe, too. Even if the pipe is unblocked, once that coffee starts to build up, you have a food trap problem.

In fact, if your employees are reporting a smelly drain very often, be sure they aren't creating a vicious cycle where they drop grounds down the drain, which then clump and trap food that begins to rot and smell, so they drop more grounds down the drain to get rid of the smell, and so on.

If you want to know about other drain and disposal myths -- or if your employees still aren't getting it and you need to buy more plumbing supplies to unclog drains -- contact a plumber or a plumbing supply company. They've seen it all when it comes to clogged drains and can help you retrain your employees to use drains and disposals properly.

For plumbing supplies, contact a company such as Barstow Industrial Supply.