The universe gave us toilets, and the Universe gave us trash cans (and seriously, thank heavens for both). Each are to be used responsibly or else the Universe gets mad (clogs and global warming, respectively). That said, I want to explain 10 really, truly, awful things that you may be flushing down the toilet that should never be flushed. In fact, I’ll tell you the correct way to dispose of each item. Keep in mind, flushing anything not created by your body’s digestive system shouldn’t be flushed, since one flush on a regular flow toilet wastes 3 gallons of water. And for all my non-American readers, a gallon is equivalent to 3.78 litres, which mean a flush sucks back close to 12 litres of water. Booooo!
#1 Dental Floss
Dental floss isn’t biodegradable and while one small piece of floss may not seem like much, just think about what happens when a whole bunch of it starts to tangle together. Enter bad visual of plaque-laden strings combining together to create one monster floss glob flowing through your sewer pipes. So, after you floss (and snaps for flossing, by the way), just throw your dental floss in the trash.
#2 Grease, Oil & Fat
Better yet, any food at all. If it’s designed to be eaten by you, let your body process it before it ends up in the toilet. Grease, oil, and fats may go in as a liquid, but sooner or later they will cool and build up on the sides of your pipes, and over time, will make the pipe opening smaller and smaller—exactly like a clogged artery! Eventually, the pipe can get so clogged that it can back up and lead to some very unpleasant messes. That’s why restaurants have grease disposal services; you can’t dump oil down a sink! What I do is keep a zippered bag beside my trash in the kitchen (it’s totally concealed) and pour any oil, grease or fat into the bag. When the bag is full, I throw it away.
I remember a friend’s mom who used to flush leftovers or waste from cooking down the toilet. I think she thought it was a good disposal system that helped manage fridge space and odors. But let me tell you—that bathroom always smelled strange and one day, I hate to say it, I’m sure there’s going to be a major plumbing issue in that house.
Most bandages are made from plastic, which isn’t biodegradable and can lead to clogs. So, it’s best to just put your used bandages in the trash (even ones made from cloth shouldn’t be flushed).
#4 Medication & Drugs
Now, clogs really aren’t the issue when it comes to flushing pills, but contaminating our water supply is a huge issue. Movies never think about this when the bad guy proceeds to dump 3 kilos of something expensive down the toilet. Regardless, it sends the message to viewers that flushing is an acceptable method of disposal, and it is totally not Ok. The water in your toilet is water that ends up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans, and sewage systems don’t remove medicines from the water. So, please, dispose of your pills and other medications through your local pharmacy—they usually have a safe disposal program and all you need to do is drop it off.
#5 Disposable / Flushable Wipes
This is a super contentious issue in my view. While these products are called ‘flushable’ or ‘disposable’, it is generally known that they are far too thick to be flushed—even the ones that say they’re safe for sewers or septic systems. Ok, rant over. If you’re going to use these products, just throw them in the trash. If you want to learn learn more about why you shouldn’t flush disposable wipes go ahead learn about Fatberg. Yes, sewer abuse is real.
#6 Tampons & Pads
There’s a very good reason why every restaurant, mall, or pretty much any public bathroom, has a sign telling you NOT to flush feminine hygiene products down the toilet and provide you with a courtesy bin for safe disposal. You know why? Because they don’t wan to spend the dough extracting your used *ahem*, products from the toilet. So why don’t they flush? Well, they are inherently designed to absorb moisture and expand. The expansion makes them unsafe to pass through pipes and sewers. This also applies to cotton balls and cotton swabs. Just wrap politely and dispose of them in the trash.
#7 Paper Towel
Paper towel doesn’t break down nearly as fast as toilet paper, it’s thicker and larger (hence all the ‘more absorbent than thou’ ads). This stuff will clog your toilet quicker than you can call a plumber, and you can bet your lunch money one flush of this stuff will necessitate a call later on.
I won’t get into any gory details here, but just heed this advice—don’t ever, ever, ever flush condoms down the toilet. Wrap them discreetly (condom and wrapper) and just throw them away in the trash. You can hide it just as well in a few layers of toilet paper.
Just because it’s a part of our body doesn’t mean it can be safely flushed down the toilet. Hair clogs up showers, sinks and toilet plumbing. Like dental floss, it forms giant balls which trap odours and create massive blockages in pipes, plumbing and sewers. In fact, hair clogs more drains then arguably anything else on this list. When cleaning your brushes or combing wet hair, just throw your hair into the garbage or you can even compost it.
#10 Kitty Litter
Kitties have their own toilets, so unless you train your cats on how to use the human toilet you can dispose of their waste (litter and solid) in the trash, compost, or by properly recycling it.
Basically there are three things that can be flushed down the toilet—number ones, number twos, number threes? (vomit) and toilet paper. Don’t risk it because plumber calls are AWKWARD TIMES. And, they usually happen at the most embarrassing and inconvenient times to boot. Trust me, I’m trying to save you from spending money and experiencing life-chaning embarrassment here.
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My dog has a habit of leaving his dinner (dog food, out of a can).
I have a habit of flushing it down the loo as I consider it too kind of look like… well you know…
Bad idea? Thoughts please
You should never flush down baby wipes, in case they are flushed it lead towards building up fat inside the pipes, and they neither dissolve in water which in turn damage your sewage system.
Very interesting. I am guilty of flushing half sheets of paper towel down the toilet recently while catching stink bugs. Most of the time I used a tissue, but also used paper towels. Is there anything I can do about it now, except for not doing it again.
What about soup with grease removed, or things of similar texture when cleaning out fridge?
Oh no, I’ve been throwing hair down the toilet. Is there anything I can put down there to ensure that the hair is dissolved and won’t form a clog?
I am surprised that Kleenex or any generic versions weren’t mentioned. Always thought that was a no-no also.
I’m guilty of flushing the ‘flushable’ wipes, but I’ll try not to do it anymore for sure.
As for cigarrette butts…
I’m reminded of many years ago when smoking indoors was ok, and I do recall tossing my butts in the toilet quite often.
So glad I smoke outside now.
Gosh dint know about hair!!
The cat and i will STOP today 🙁
Me neither! Consider me changed.
I can’t believe that baby wipes should not be flushed down the toilet. My sister complains about having plumbing issues occasionally. I must warn her that baby wipes might be causing her a problem.
Thank you for sharing this useful article. It covers almost all the points that one should consider in order to avoid blocked toilet. Among all these things, the most common cause of toilet blockage is throwing toilet paper in the flush; you must prevent that to save your toilet from being blocked for no reason.
I just bought my first home, and I want to make sure that I keep the plumbing in good condition. It is good to know that I shouldn’t flush things like medication. That is good for me to know because I have some leftover mediation form a surgery.
Call the non-emergency number of your Police Department. Ours here in WI has a receptacle in the lobby for meds. If not, they likely can tell you where to take it.
Nice And Educating Article. I’m Guilty Of Constantly Disposing Five Of The Items You Listed. I Guess, I Know Better Now. Thanks Miss!
This is just more feel good, virtue signalling crap. No science. That’s not to say anything can or should be sent down the toilet. But instead of ‘imagining’ what the results will be please provide some science from reputable sources. Anything put into the trash instead of the toilet is burned or goes into a landfill. Most toilet waste goes into a sewage handling facility that removes most solids and treats the water and that is done more professionally than the handling and dumping of regular trash.
Sean, If I wanted to confirm what you wrote here, where would I go to check on its reliability? Where do I look to research the ‘science’? And, where, pray tell, does the sewage handling facility remove most solids to? What becomes of those solids?
Sean the science is in my house where no one else but me apparently knows how to unclog a the sewer system in our house and they will just let it stay clogged until I put my fairy plumber wings and unclog it for them. I agree with all of these items listed.
Wow thanks your video is so informative
I’ve been unblocking my daughter’s toilet for years now by using a mop as a suction method and just found some wipes today, I thought she new better, I will send her this blog, Thanks Trish
I thought this article was good too, but when you think about it, there are so many things that shouldn’t be flushed or go down the disposal, use common sense along with the internet. You can find answers to any questions you have on the internet!
All of these thing we have been told for years. Only people who are lazy do these. But for regular clogs, Unclog with dish soap. The thicker soap the better. Apts with slow flushing this is great for. One quick sqeeze of the bottle. Wait a few seconds then flush. Got this idea from a plumber on tv. Works almost every time.
Add to this Kleenex and Puffs. The lotion type has wreaked havoc on my plumbing.
Great tips yes,you should not flush Cigarette butts,Paper towels,Band-aids etc. Great Article
Hey,Great tips on you should never flush down the toilet.Yes,I agreed to the all points you should not flush Cigarette butts,Cat litter: clay + sand do not flush.Great Article.
You say to flush #1,#2,and toilet paper.What about #3(Vomit).
I flushed hair down another toilet except the house, outside the house, a public toilet, because I did not want to flush at home anymore. I will throw it into the garbage from now on!
But can I flush dental floss?
Number 1, number 2, toilet paper and VOMIT, sorry to have to add that.
Condom manufacturers expressly tell us to tie used condoms in a knot and flush them down the toilet. This is insanity because they do not flush at the best of times, let alone with air trapped inside the tied end.
Good . If people follow it to away from toilet blocking problem . But people who are installing new toilet must hire professional plumber. Because 2 month I checked an toilet that blocked again and again ,after checking i found its installation is wrong. So you must ensure that plumber you are hiring is experienced.
My son entered a pear you just to me what not to do, thanks.
my poor brain had a fit reading that
What you said is true. But mostly peoples dont care about it.
Love reading your blog, but please do proof your work before publishing. There are so many typos and misspellings in here it is very distracting when trying to read.
I agree with you about the lack of proof reading. Sadly, most articles on the web contain errors nowadays.
Agree with you Aundrea. You see them in everything you read on the internet nowadays, but I can sure disregard them when I’m receiving some helpful information or tips. As like a lot of things, you weigh your pros and cons.
Very good. Now this has sparked a question. What things do not go in a garbage disposal? My husband says grease and potato skins. Thank you, I enjoy your info and videos. Keep up good work.
Tea bags can’t. Hard food can’t such as raw potato. Our work insinkerator often blocks up. Take heed of instrucion manual ar home & signage above your garbage disposal at work.
Karen Heath, your hubby is right. Potato perks should go in the compost pile and grease should not be used in the disposal.
i am so excited by read of your blog’s content.really great post.Thanks for sharing.