We’re not insinuating that you’re as negligent as Barbie pictured above, but ask any of our experienced plumbers, and they will tell you that people often flush things down the toilet that have no business being flushed. Trust us, they’ve cleared enough clogs from toilet drain pipes that they could tell you a story or two about what they’ve discovered. Not sure about what’s flushable and what’s not? Check out our list below of 8 items that simply don’t belong in your toilet:
1. Wet wipes
They seem harmless, right? Often, baby wipes, wet wipes, and cleaning wipes are labeled as “flushable” wipes, but in actuality just because you CAN flush them, doesn’t mean you should. Wet wipes of any kind are likely to cause clogs – Not only in your drain pipes, but also in sewer lines or at your municipal wastewater treatment plant. Plain and simple, wipes just don’t disintegrate quickly enough to be safely flushed down the toilet.
2. Paper Towels
Paper towels are not the same as toilet paper. We’ve all seen the commercials where a paper towel can hold and absorb an immense amount of moisture without ripping, boasting how strong it is. Great for cleaning, but again, not a great option for your drains considering they won’t break down well within your plumbing system.
3. Feminine hygiene products
Public places don’t put signs in their bathrooms saying not to flush feminine hygiene products down the toilet just for fun. Tampons and pads are designed to be ultra-absorbent and they expand as they get wet. You don’t want them expanding in your drain pipe!
For all those regular flossers out there, congrats! However, throwing long strands of floss down your toilet can wrap around other things and create string balls and nasty clogs by collecting more “solids.”
5. Cotton Swabs
Another thing that belongs in the garbage? Cotton swabs. If flushed these will get jammed in the drain pipe and then act like a little dam, blocking other things from continuing down the drain.
A lot of customers are surprised that hair shouldn’t be flushed, but like other items on this list hair does not dissolve and will worsen any little blockage in the drain pipe.
7. Too much toilet paper
Anybody with a toddler or child of a certain age knows that too much toilet paper down the toilet can cause problems. However, something adults should be aware of: Thicker, multi-ply, plush toilet paper can take longer to dissolve. Yes, the Charmin bears dance and sing about how wonderful this ultra strong toilet paper is, but if you use a lot of it in one flush, it can cause issues in your drain. So be sure to flush a couple of times rather than sending it all down at once.
We hope this is an obvious no-flush item because condoms are what plumbers least like to pull out of the toilet drain! Just to be clear though, latex prophylactics take years to degrade and even if they get through your drain pipe, they will cause issues in your city’s wastewater treatment system!
If you’re reading this and realizing that you’ve flushed some of these items down your toilet already, it may be a good idea to call a plumber if the toilet is not draining as well as it used to. If your toilet seems to be running well, consider yourself lucky and just remember not to flush anything on this list down your toilet again in the future. Also, chat with your kids about this list just to be sure they’re aware that these items can cause problems if flushed. A good rule of thumb: If it’s not toilet paper, it’s not a good idea to flush, and if it is toilet paper, flush a little at a time just to be safe!