Nobody wants a clogged toilet. It’s unpleasant, and even potentially a health risk. Key to avoiding this is not flushing certain things down the toilet. Ideally, the only things that should go down your toilet are human waste and toilet paper. But here are five things you should be extra careful not to flush down your toilet.
They’re labeled flushable so, of course, some people flush them. The fact is that they don’t actually break down quickly enough, sticking around longer than traditional toilet paper. This means they will start a clog somewhere in your pipes.
Instead of flushing your wipes, keep a lined trash can for them. This does include baby wipes. They don’t do your septic system any good, either. Flushable wipes have been known to ruin sewage pumps. Sewage companies do not like flushable wipes and are pushing for them to be labeled better so people know they are not truly flushable.
Paper Towels and Tissues
During the infamous 2020 toilet paper shortage, many people were no doubt tempted to use paper towels or tissues instead. Don’t do this. Unlike toilet paper, which is designed to break down quickly in water, these products are designed to absorb it, which means they will swell and block up your pipes. Paper towels, tissues, and similar products should always be disposed of in the trash.
Dental floss would seem completely innocent. Why would you worry about flushing a thin strip of nylon? The answer is because floss doesn’t break down. And it wraps around other items that might be flushed after it.
Even worse problems come if you flush dental floss and flushable wipes. This can create clogs that build up slowly over time, but end up completely blocking the toilet…or further down in your sewage system. Always toss your dental floss in the trash. Again, you should have a lined trash can next to the toilet so that it helps remove the temptation to flush something because you’re in a hurry.
Years ago, people were advised to flush unused medication down the toilet so it wouldn’t be found by children. While this is still recommended for some especially harmful medication, where the risk of it ending up in the water system is lower than that of somebody finding it, the FDA does not recommend this for all medication.
Medication should be taken to a drug take back event. Some medication can and should be thrown in the garbage, and some people recommend adding vinegar to pills or mustard to liquids to discourage anyone who finds them from taking them. While flushing medication won’t affect your plumbing, you should still avoid it unless specifically recommended.
Make sure that you don’t flush anything down your toilet which might cause a clog, or problems for the water treatment plant. Top of the list are flushable wipes, because they aren’t really flushable.