Self-care is important, but so is caring for your drains. Whether you like to indulge in the occasional at-home spa day, or you’ve got a strict skincare regime, there are some body products that are straight up bad news for your pipes. Keep your drains problem-free by making some simple changes to your self-care routine!
1) Bath Bombs
Bath bombs usually have some ingredients that are totally fine for your drains (like baking soda and Epsom salt), and some ingredients that are best left out of your drain (like essential oils, dried flower petals, glitter, cocoa butter, cornstarch, and more). You might’ve heard advice about how you should never put cooking oil down the drain. Essential oils and body butters can clog up your pipes just like cooking oils! And don’t get us started on cornstarch. Cornstarch is often used as a thickener. When you add water to it, it turns from a powder into a thick, gloopy mess. It’s definitely not something you want in your pipes. As for flower petals and glitter—these things just don’t dissolve at all. They can collect in your pipes and build up over time, causing a nasty (but sparkly) clog.
Just because bath bombs sometimes have ingredients that can hurt your pipes doesn’t mean you have to give them up entirely! Just put the bath bomb inside a mesh bag or old piece of pantyhose with a rubber band. The material is perfect for letting your bath bomb dissolve and make your bath just as soothing as you like it, but without letting some of those other ingredients gunk up your pipes. If nothing else, just make sure you scoop up any petals and pieces that could cause a clog before you pop the drain.
2) Coconut Oil
Some people swear by coconut oil as a shaving cream replacement. While it might leave your legs feeling softer than ever, it can harden in your pipes and cause massive clogs. Did you know coconut oil solidifies at around 74-76 degrees Fahrenheit? That means anything at or below that temperature is gonna harden that coconut oil in your pipes. While your shower water is plenty hot enough to melt it in the moment, coconut oil can stick to hair and other stuff in your pipes on the way through, slowing things down and getting stuck. Then, when your shower is done, any bits of oil still hanging out in your pipes will harden up and make their home there! Even if you’re not using coconut oil on its own, a lot of body butters and body scrubs also contain coconut oil, so make sure you check the ingredients list before putting your shower drains at risk.
3) Body Scrubs
Remember how we said coconut oil is bad for your drains? A lot of body scrubs contain coconut oil! And even beyond that, they often use coffee grounds, crushed seeds, or oatmeal that are used as exfoliants. While these are great at making your skin soft, they’re not so great for your pipes. These ingredients don’t dissolve in water, and they’re often small particles that can get trapped, building up over time. Even dissolvable exfoliating ingredients like sugar can be problematic. When it dissolves, it’s sticky and might not break down all the way before going down the drain.
Have you ever worn waterproof mascara? Even if your makeup isn’t labeled as “waterproof,” beauty companies make their products to withstand at least some sweat so you can stay looking your best all day. Unfortunately, that means most makeup has at least a bit of that “waterproof” (hydrophobic) quality. That means the products repel water, rather than dissolve into it. If this makeup gets washed down your drains, it can sometimes stick to the insides of your pipes and refuse to properly dissolve and wash away. Try removing as much makeup as you can with makeup wipes or cotton makeup pads first.
5) Clay Face Masks
If you use clay face masks, you’re familiar with how they harden on your skin. Unfortunately, they can do the same thing in your pipes when you rinse them off. Bits of clay can stick to the sides of your pipes and harden there, narrowing the space in your pipe and increasing the odds of a future clog. If you’re gonna use clay face masks, try using a damp paper towel or cotton makeup pads to wipe away as much of the clay as you can before washing your face. Another option is to use a mesh cloth over your drain. The mesh can at least collect some of the bigger pieces of clay that would otherwise go down your drain.
6) Antibacterial Soaps
This one isn’t necessarily an issue for everyone, but if you have a septic tank, listen up! Septic tanks rely on bacteria balance. Your septic tank has good bacteria in it that breaks down waste and keeps the tank from overfilling. Antibacterial soap doesn’t just attack bad bacteria, it attacks the good bacteria too! This can throw off the balance in your septic tank. If this gets too messed up, your septic tank and drains can overflow. To avoid that risk altogether, switch to a normal hand soap.
7) Toothpaste in the Shower
Have you ever had to clean up toothpaste residue on your sink? It’s hard and really stubborn to clean off. While it’s not an issue for your sink, it can cause clogs in your shower (your sink is used a lot more frequently, so it’s getting flushed out more than your shower). Maybe think again before trying to save time in the morning by brushing your teeth in the shower!
Too Late for Your Drains? Give Us a Call!
We don’t wanna ruin all your self-care fun! While these things can cause problems with your drains, it doesn’t mean you have to give them up entirely. Just be mindful of the ingredients in your products, and make sure you take extra steps to keep them out of your drains when you can. If it’s too late and you’ve already got a clog, don’t panic! Our plumbers have everything they need to clear out even the most stubborn clogs. We can get your water flowing the right way again in no time so you don’t have to miss a single step in your skincare routine!
Wanna make things even easier? When you become a Priority Advantage® Member, you get FREE drain cabling visits* whenever you need them.
*up to 75 feet with proper access