You Should Never Put Rice Down The Kitchen Drain. Here's Why

There are certain things that should never go down your kitchen drain, including egg shells, which can stick to pipes, and bacon grease, which can harden and cause clogs.

Something you might never have thought twice about, however, is rice. As you know from cooking rice, it absorbs water and swells to about three times its size when cooked (via Cook's Info). But you don't have to cook it to get this effect. Dry rice can get caught in your pipes and swell as water runs down the sink and through your plumbing, causing starchy, sticky clumps and backed-up pipes. Even cooked rice can continue to swell and wreak havoc with your plumbing, according to Insider.

But is it safe to put rice down the garbage disposal? Mr. Plumber Atlanta advises caution, noting that you should never treat your disposal like a garbage can. While small amounts of rice won't likely cause a problem, the site points out that cooked rice, as well as sticky, starchy pasta shouldn't go down your disposal. This is because the blades of the disposal mash the rice or pasta, producing a "thick paste" that can stop the disposal from working or clog the drain as well.

Other things to keep out of your drain

Besides rice, there are other "don'ts" when it comes to what should go down your kitchen sink or garbage disposal. According to Insider, you should avoid putting flour down the drain as much as you can. Just as wet flour sticks to your countertops when you're baking, when put down the drain, it can turn into paste that adheres to your pipes.

Mr. Plumber Atlanta says they also commonly see problems with garbage like celery or even lettuce, which have long, fibrous strings that can become wrapped around the blades garbage disposals, causing them to stop working. Corn husks also fall into this category, although we can't imagine putting these down the disposal. It should also go without saying that bones or stone fruit pits can also damage the blades of the disposal. As a general rule, the website points out, if you can't chew it with your teeth, keep it out of the disposal.

Another word about fats: Even vegetable fats, which don't harden at room temperature like bacon grease does, should also be kept out of your drain as much as possible. Mr. Plumber says oils can stick to other scraps of food, eventually causing clogs.

The bottom line? Small bits of food won't likely cause clogged pipes, but remember to scrape your plates before rinsing them in your kitchen sink.