In many homes, the toilet is basically an extra trashcan. It’s normal to think of drains as a magical portal that takes things out of the house even faster than the trash. however, plumbing was designed to handle only highly water-soluble materials. Throwing anything into the toilet is usually a bad idea for your drains in the long run, and might cause a clog within minutes or hours of the flush. Some clogs can build up for months, slowly gathering materials that shouldn’t have been flushed into a larger and larger ball until several drains stop under your home at once from the size of the clog.
By combining regular drain cleaning with care about what goes down the drain, your drains will perform beautifully for years. Here are the things that should never be flushed down the toilet, no matter how easy or tempting.
- Baby Wipes – Flushable or Unflushable
Baby wipes should not go down the toilet, even if they say “flushable”. This is true for all personal wipes. Flushable or unflushable, the synthetic fibers don’t break down and will eventually clog a pipe or sewer. Diapers are even worse, larger, and often far more plastic. Sorry, you’ll need a lidded and scent-guarded diaper can or a bond villain incinerator chute.
Cosmetic Cotton and Paper Products
- Cosmetic and Makeup Wipes
- Paper Towels and Facial Tissues
- Cotton Balls, Rounds, or Swabs
- Feminine Hygiene Products
Most cosmetic products should also not go down the toilet. This is especially true of wipes, towels, and anything cotton. Makeup wipes, like baby wipes, will cause a clog, and even paper towels and light tissues will not break up enough in the water to avoid becoming clogging material.
Cotton balls, rounds, swabs, and disposable menstrual products are all more likely to swell when fully soaked in water to clog pipes, especially when combined in sewer lines and in the plumbing below homes.
All Oils and Grease
- Bath Oils and Bath Bombs
- Cooking Grease
Oils and drains do not mix. You probably aren’t pouring cooking grease down your toilet (don’t) but even bath oils like almond oil, olive oil, and essential oils are bad for your drains. Follow every bath bomb or oil bath with a vinegar and hot water flush of the tub drain – and don’t pour any oils down the toilet or sink if it can be avoided. Never put coconut oil down any drain, it cools to a drain-stopping solid at room temperature like bacon grease and real butter.
Anything that is Long and Winding
- Dental Floss
- Hair Spiders
- Ribbons and String
- Bandaids & Bandages
When you flush long hair, dental floss, or any manner of string, you are creating a tangle in the drain that other things can catch and build onto. Grease may build a clog, or products and other solids may get wrapped up in the hair or floss. These also create some of the most durable and difficult clogs to solve because the string cannot be melted by chemicals or heat.
- Contact Lenses
Plastic is no good down the toilet, either. Even in small pieces. Flushing daily contact lenses contribute to a building percentage of microplastics in the water systems, and condoms are 100% bad news if one becomes part of a clog.
- Cigarette Butts
Chemicals from flushed medication and the toxins from cigarette butts (among other chemicals put down the drain) can wind up in the groundwater and the local ecosystem. Not only does this get back into the ecosystem, but cigarette filters can expand and clog.
Other Clogging Materials
- Cat Litter
- Dead Goldfish
- Food and Chewing Gum
There are also a few other things that – for their own reasons – are commonly flushed down the toilet that should not be. Cat litter, for one. It may seem like a quick and easy way to clean the cat box, but cat litter is “clumping” when exposed to moisture, or made of clay, or made of wood shavings, and none of these are good for the plumbing.
Dead goldfish and other small deceased pets should not be flushed. This is not a burial at sea and, unfortunately, they will likely cause a clog.
Don’t flush food, and especially do not allow chewing gum to go into your drains. Indestructible, flexible materials are the stuff of nightmare drain clogs.
How to Make Sure Your Drains are Always Clear
Life is busy, and sometimes the wrong things get flushed. Every now and then, a wipe, a hygiene product, a contact lens, or a small toy may get flushed. That’s life. And if life causes a clog, calling the plumber shouldn’t have to be a big decision. With an annual plumbing maintenance service, you can rely on fast, responsive, and professional plumbing all year long – no matter when the fateful item was dropped or when it finally caused an un-plungeable clog. Coastal Mechanical Contractors is here to make sure you don’t have to worry. Contact us today for prompt plumbing services!