You Did What?! (Things You Shouldn’t Flush Down the Toilet)

Have you ever called a plumber to unclog a toilet? If so, you probably remember the cause. It wasn’t toilet paper or human waste. More than likely it was a collection of baby wipes, feminine hygiene products or perhaps cotton balls. Maybe it was something even more ridiculous that no one admitted to flushing? One of the easiest, yet somehow hardest, ways to keep from stopping up your toilet is simply NOT flushing anything down that doesn’t belong there. Though it might seem a bit comical to even approach the subject, millions of dollars are spent each year on chemicals and plumbing services to unclog toilets. Most of these incidents could be avoided by using common sense and a little self-control. Sure, it’s easy to throw your dental floss into the toilet and forget about it. But your toilet has a long memory – and days or weeks later it will most definitely remind you. Want to save money and heartache down the road? Commit the following list to memory and NEVER again flush any of these objects down the toilet. Your toilet, septic tank and local water treatment plant will thank you! 

Feminine Hygiene Products

This is probably the number one cause of clogged toilets. We get it. It’s convenient. But these products are not designed to be flushed, in fact most tampons are made from cotton or rayon – or a blend of both. These materials are used for their absorbency (rayon is made from cellulose fibers derived from wood pulp!) and are even more problematic for landfills.   

Baby Wipes/Wet Wipes

These are another huge problem, partly because many brands are sold as “flushable.” Lies, all lies. Again, if the product isn’t toilet paper it needs to be thrown in the trash.  

Dental Floss

While floss might seem harmless, none of the brands available are biodegradable. There are many different kinds of dental floss, some are made from nylon, some from Teflon, some from synthetic wax – all can cause serious environmental damage.   

Q-tips/Cotton Balls

Cotton does not break down (see tampons). Cotton clumps together and can wreak havoc on your septic tank. ALL cotton products need to be thrown in the trash.   

Diapers

This one is a bit mystifying as diapers are clearly too large to be flushed - and yet they are another recurring cause of clogging. Maybe it’s because of its similar function to the toilet? But even designs marked biodegradable come with instructions not to flush.  

Pills

Flushing pills down the toilet might sound like a good idea. Pills are designed to dissolve – and flushing them is an easy way to get rid of expired or potentially harmful prescriptions. While pills might not have an adverse effect on your toilet or septic tank, they have toxic effects on the environment.   

Cigarettes/Cigarette Butts

These are also filled with toxic chemicals that can harm the environment. A substantial buildup of cigarette detritus can also clog up your toilet, so they can cause twice the damage.   

Paper Towels/Tissues

Like those pesky wipes, towels and tissues are not compatible with flushing. Neither was created to dissolve in water – even the biodegradable designs.              

And Also:              

Every item on this list has been the cause of countless clogged toilets. As bizarre (or even reasonable) as some of them might seem, none of them are appropriate for flushing. As a matter of fact, the only materials that should ever be flushed down a toilet are toilet paper and human waste. But mistakes happen. And if your toilet should ever back-up, make sure to give us a call! Our experienced team of plumbing professionals have seen it all - and will have your toilet running again in no time.


For more information on what not to throw in your toilet click here.