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8 Items You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

Apr 22 | 2021  by

One of the most common misconceptions we hear in the water industry is that baby wipes can be flushed down the toilet. Well, they’re not actually flushable, and any experienced plumber will tell you there’s no such thing as a flushable wipe.

Although wet wipes have been on the market for years, the truth to their flush-ability is fraudulent. There are only three things that should be flushed down the toilet – urine, feces, and toilet paper. While this is just one example of what you should never flush, here are 8 other items you should never flush down the toilet.

1. Paper Towels and Tissue Paper

Paper towels simply cannot break down as toilet paper does, this can cause blockages in your system if done frequently. If you must use a paper towel instead of toilet paper, we recommend disposing of it in the trash once finished.

2. Cotton Products

Whether it’s cotton swabs, Q-Tips, or cotton pads, any cotton product is unsafe to flush. All these will do is clump together in your pipes and cause problems for you down the line.

3. Dental Floss

Other than damaging your pipes, flushing dental floss can also cause environmental damage. When you flush floss, it essentially turns into a net in your pipes, catching and holding onto debris that passes through. One of the major problems it can cause is wrapping around parts of your septic system and burning out the motor.

4. Feminine Products

You may have heard this already, but feminine products like tampons, pads, and others should never be flushed down the drain. That is because these products are meant to absorb water, meaning they’ll only expand once flushed.

5. Hair

Hair is a lot like dental floss in that it acts as a net, eventually clumping and catching anything floating through your pipes. Additionally, hair never dissolves, so you’re creating more of a risk for clogging your system.

6. Fats, Oils, or Grease

A general rule of thumb is to never flush food down the drain in the first place, but never flush fats, oils, or grease down the drain. Although they may start in a liquid form, they will solidify later and could attach to the lining of your pipes. This can cause a blockage of other items from passing through the pipes. We suggest once you are finished cooking, wait for the fats, oils, and grease to cool and solidify before throwing them in the trash.

7. Medication

Flushing medication and other hazardous materials down the drain only add to the water pollution that humans create. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the best way to dispose of unused/expired medicine is to drop it off at a drug take-back site. For household hazards, the EPA suggests locating a collection program in your community that can help you recycle or dispose of those materials safely.

8. Diapers

Much like feminine hygiene products, diapers are meant to absorb water. Diapers will not break down in the water and will eventually lead to costly damages to your plumbing system. We recommend disposing of all dirty diapers in a diaper bin.

We hope you learned something about flushing your toilet today, and we trust you will take this information and become a better “flusher” in the future! Please take this Earth Day 2021 to learn more about sustainability best practices and how you can join the movement to fight climate change.