The toilet is certainly a well-used appliance in the home and its frequent use can often mean it’s a little taken advantage of. We all know that it’s easy to mindlessly throw certain things into the toilet, thinking it is small enough to avoid any clogging or maybe we just flush it so it doesn’t inundate our trash cans. Many of us have been flushing the same things down the toilet for a long time, completely unaware of the havoc it could eventually cause to our plumbing and to our environment. The only “waste” that should end up down the toilet is #1, #2, and toilet paper – everything else should be off limits.
Here are some common things that people flush, but shouldn’t:
Don’t flush wipes and paper towels down a toilet
Not many of us have bidets yet many of us do like a moist wipe to help us feel cleaner. Did you know that even the wipes that claim to be “flushable” shouldn’t be flushed? These wipes don’t disintegrate as quickly as traditional toilet tissue and have been shown to cause clogged sewer pipes and toilets. Paper towels are even worse. Has using a paper towel ever crossed your mind when you’ve unexpectedly exhausted every roll of toilet tissue in your home? We can assure you, no matter how small you rip it up, it will cause problems. Paper towels are made to absorb water so in the toilet, it leads to clogs and plumbing system issues. Regular toilet paper is water-soluble and dissolves quickly – for a reason.
Don’t flush dental floss and hair down a toilet
It seems so innocent to throw a piece of dental floss or a few strands of hair into the toilet because it seems so minuscule and like it should flow down without a problem. However, 95% of dental floss is not biodegradable and will clog up pipes. Basically, it ends up acting like a net when a new strand is repeatedly flushed. This, in turn, prevents anything caught in its “web” from freely flowing through the pipes, leading to potentially major plumbing problems. It can also wrap itself around parts of a septic system and cause serious damage. Hair does the exact same thing as it does not dissolve. So, the next time you floss your teeth or find hair on your shower drain, don’t automatically put it in the toilet, just toss it in the can!
Don’t flush feminine hygiene products, cotton, and bandages down a toilet
Some items we use on a regular basis get tossed in the toilet without a second thought. However, cotton balls and cotton pads don’t break down and are sure to eventually cause clogged pipes. Band-aides are also non-biodegradable and are terrible for your plumbing and the environment. Let’s face it, tossing used feminine hygiene products into the toilet is just easier and cleaner. Yet, these are products meant to absorb, therefore when flushed, they expand leading to toilet clogs and pipe issues. There is a reason why so many public restrooms have signs posted asking the public to dispose of these products appropriately!
Don’t flush grease and oil down a toilet
While we may not be tossing our kitchen grease down the toilet, many of us do rinse it down the kitchen sink. Grease and oil may look like a liquid but once it cools it becomes a waxy mess that clogs your drains and pipes. As a general rule, anything you are able to consume should never end up in the toilet. Grease and oil are always best scraped into the trash can.
Don’t flush kitty litter down a toilet
For those cat lovers out there, kitty litter is often inevitable and disposing of it can be a hassle. We can assure you that while, to some, it may seem logical to flush the litter and waste; your toilet is not equipped for it. Cat waste and litter are horrendous for the sewage system. Kitty litter is made of sand and clay, both of which are very absorbent, and will clog up your pipes. In addition, your cat’s urine and feces have toxins and parasites that can ultimately be dangerous to the environment.
The toilets in our homes are not designed to be a trashcan alternative. Even if you have yet to see an issue from all those cotton balls, floss, and tampons you’ve flushed, it’s highly likely that you eventually will. In the bigger picture, even if these items are able to pass through your plumbing system, they can still affect the environment. If you have already seen the detrimental effects of these items and are in need of a plumber, don’t hesitate to call The Plumbing Joint as we are always readily available to get your toilets and pipes clog-free and back to their original condition.