10 things you should never flush
Toilets aren’t garbage cans. Items flushed down the toilet may appear to be swept away, but they can linger in your pipes and create disastrous blockages. To help you avoid a plumbing emergency, here’s just a sample of the things you should never flush down a toilet.
1. Dental flossThis stringy product isn’t biodegradable and becomes a veritable net in your pipes, capturing other types of debris and creating a tangled mess.
2. Cooking greaseIt might go down the drain as a liquid, but cooking grease congeals when it cools and eventually becomes a gelatinous plug. To be safe, avoid flushing food altogether.
It may not harm your plumbing, but medication contaminates the water supply and can be toxic to local aquatic life. If that’s a tough pill to swallow, bring unused and expired medication to a pharmacist for proper disposal.
4. Disposable wipesCosmetic and baby wipes might be biodegradable — some are even marketed as flushable — but they’ll accumulate in your pipes much faster than they disintegrate.
5. Feminine hygiene products
Menstrual pads and tampons are designed to absorb moisture and expand, which is exactly what they’ll do in your pipes. You can expect similar results if you flush cotton balls and cotton swabs.
6. CondomsA used condom will continue to function as a barrier if it’s discarded in the toilet, to the detriment of your plumbing.
The matted wads of hair that form in your shower drain can build up in your toilet pipes just as easily. Hair doesn’t get a pass just because it’s organic. Neither do nail clippings.
8. Cat litterEven flushable litter can form clumps in your plumbing, and many brands don’t break down in septic systems. Cat feces shouldn’t be flushed either since they’re much harder than human waste and contain parasites.
9. Paper towelIf you’ve ever tried to clean up a spill with toilet paper instead of paper towel, you’ll know that one dissolves a lot faster than the other.
Bleach is too harsh of a chemical to be used as a drain cleaner or disinfectant. There’s also a risk of it mixing with other substances in your pipes and producing toxic fumes.
The bottom line