Drains are one of those things we never think about until there’s a problem. Day in and day out they endure our abuse as we dump everything from that half-finished latte to the dregs of the frying pan down them.

We tell ourselves we know better: to avoid clogs, there are some things you should never pour down the drain. Even so, some of the most common causes of clogs and backups might not be familiar. Here’s a few of the ones you should know about.

Some bulky or dense foods are a no-no. Butter, for instance, should never be put down the drain, whether melted or solid. That’s because butter will stick to your drain and pipes, creating a sticky, water-resistant layer that will trap food particles and other debris.

Believe it or not, pasta is another food to keep far away from your drain. Since it’s soft, it may seem like pasta would wash away with no problem. But there are two issues. First, pasta is sticky, like butter. Second, any bits of pasta that get stuck and wet will swell up and cause backups.

If you have any butter or pasta you need to get rid of, that’s easy–just throw it in the trash. Some other kitchen culprits are harder to deal with. Take grease and oil, for instance. Never put those down your drain. Water won’t wash them away, so they’ll just cling to your drain and pipes.

So what should you do with the grease instead? Rachel Ray suggests pouring it into a jar or coffee can and throwing it away. Alternatively, she says, you can set a bowl of grease in the refrigerator or freezer to harden, then scoop it into a bag and toss it out.

Another thing that will wreak havoc on your drain is coffee grounds. I am so guilty of this one! I’ve been pouring coffee grounds down mine forever–now I know why I’ve been dealing with clogs over and over. The grounds cause clogs because they tend to clump up. If these clumps come into contact with any grease, the problem just gets worse.

You could just throw the grounds away. But before you do that, you might think about using them for one of the many miracles that coffee grounds can work around your home. Seriously. You can use them as fertilizer, spread them on icy sidewalks, keep a container of them in your fridge to banish food odors, and much more.

Coffee grounds are also a great addition to compost. While you’re at it, throw your used or out of date flour there as well, instead of down your drain. If you’ve ever tried to wash flour off of your hands, you’ll remember what a sticky mess it makes. Imagine that in your drain and pipes! If you don’t compost, you can also just toss unneeded flour in the trash.

And in case you were wondering, these tips apply even if you have a garbage disposal. While they can break up some foods, disposals won’t stop sticky or clog-prone ones from causing problems. Watch the video below for more on things to keep out of your drain, including one item you really may not have thought of.

Have you had any issues with other things clogging your drain? Do you have any tips for keeping yours clean and clear?