13 things you should never flush down your toilet
Your average toilet flush may handle a lot of natural waste – and toilet paper – but it isn’t designed to handle anything else. The best way to increase the longevity of your toilets and avoid annoying plumbing issues (plus lots of extra plunger time) is to keep all other waste and rubbish away from your toilets.
While they may seem a little like toilet paper, they are not. The materials used to make tissues, paper towels and similar products do not dissolve easily and are far more likely to clog your toilet, as well as cause problems for your septic tank or at your water treatment facility.
After you wipe down a surface with disinfecting wipes, avoid flushing it down the toilet. Even if it reads “flushable,” don’t do it.
Even if your cat litter says that it is “flushable,” don’t flush it. All cat litter is bad for your toilet. It lingers in your pipes, refuses to dissolve easily and interacts poorly with your sewer system. If the temptation to use the toilet is too much for a family member in charge of cleaning litter, then put a box of disposable plastic bags or similar poop-scooping solutions by the litter box so that it’s less of an issue.
Yes, disposable nappies tend to get covered in waste. Unfortunately, toilets were not made for any kind of disposable nappy: Trying to flush these diapers is an incredibly common cause of serious pipe clogs that need professional attention. Avoid this problem, and provide another option for dealing with nappies.
While the toilet is frequently a handy option to get rid of tampons and other feminine hygiene products, it’s also a bad idea. Tampons can easily create clogs deep in pipes and should never be flushed.
Condoms are another case where convenience shouldn’t trump toilet care. Throw them in the bin instead of flushing: Both condom materials (typically latex) and associated lubricants are bad for your plumbing.
This includes cotton swabs, cotton balls, cotton buds and any other associated product. Cotton is excellent at absorbing water, but it doesn’t break down easily. The combination is a dire one for your plumbing.
It doesn’t matter if it’s packaging plastic or a Band-Aid, you can’t flush plastics down a toilet. Plastic doesn’t dissolve and can cause many problems in your pipes – if they get that far after a toilet flush.
Yes, even small items like dental floss can cause trouble for your toilet. It’s stringy, doesn’t dissolve and can bundle around other objects to form larger clogs.
Any type of food is off-limits, no matter how soft it may be. The same is true of any leftover pieces, shells, bones or grounds that you want to get rid of. These belong in neither your pipes nor your garbage disposal. Throw them in the garbage bin or compost.
Water does nothing to get rid of gum, so it tends to stick around – literally. You don’t want that in your pipes!
If you’re fishing hairballs from your sink or tub, don’t dump them in the toilet: That’s just moving the clog from one part of your plumbing to another. Throw it away instead.
TV makes flushing pills look dramatic and effective, but it’s a horrible idea. If you have pills past expiration or just don’t want them in your house, find a local medicine take-back program or grind them up and throw them away on bin day. Otherwise, those potent chemicals will get into sewer systems and even groundwater, where they can do untold damage. And don’t even think about putting them down the sink instead.
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