This Is What Happens When You Put Instant Mashed Potatoes Down The Drain

What do you do with half-opened boxes of food in your pantry that are well past their expiration date? Do you toss them in your trash can, leaving the food to attract bugs, or potentially stink up your kitchen until the garbage bag is finally full enough to make the trip to the barrel outside? Or do you throw the food in the kitchen sink, flushing it down the drain with water to never be thought of again?

While the latter may sound like a good and easy idea — especially if your kitchen sink is equipped with a garbage disposal — it's not always the best route to take, even more so when it comes to a leftover box of instant mashed potatoes. This food in particular, though a quick addition to round off a meal, is a major no-no when it comes to disposing of down the drain — a mistake that one Redditor made a few years back.

Taking to the platform in 2013, the user admitted to pouring a box of the dehydrated side dish down the drain, only to have it completely backfire, leaving them with a major mess to clean up and a lesson on things you should never put down the drain.

Pouring instant mashed potatoes down the drain makes a huge mess

The Redditor shared a photo of a double-basin kitchen sink fully clogged. They revealed that they disposed of their box of instant mashed potatoes down the sink after finding bugs in it. The move left both sides of the user's sink filled with dirty water due to the drain clogging up — a situation that, by the looks of their accompanying photo, seems unfit for a simple plunger. 

According to blogger drd-tech, disposing of instant mashed potatoes down the drain is "the absolute worst thing you can do," especially if you wash them down with hot water. Why? Just as they do in your pot on the stove, the combo will actually mix together in the pipes, eventually hardening into what our blogger friend describes as a "thick, impervious paste." warns of a similar fate if you're throwing any type of "starchy and fibrous" food like potatoes, celery, or asparagus down the drain, as they ultimately expand and can cause some major damage.

What to do if you pour instant mashed potatoes down the drain

Though it's best to avoid pouring your old box of flaky potatoes down the drain, if you happen to find yourself in that predicament, there are a few things you can do to try to take control of the situation. In response to the Redditor's dilemma, user "southpark" suggested renting a plumber's snake to do the clean-up. The user noted that the clog was likely due to a "half dry and half wet" plug, with the dryer side being the culprit of the backup. 

Others offered the solution of a "strong alkali" drain opener, while another user proposed that the original Redditor get under the sink with a bucket and start disassembling and cleaning the different parts of the pipe before putting it back together. Ultimately, it may just be best to enlist the help of a plumber and call it a day.