100+ Things You Can And Can’t Flush Down The Toilet
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Nothing’s worse than flushing your toilet only to see the water start to rise and spill over the sides of the bowl. Toilets are hardworking plumbing fixtures you undoubtedly don’t want to do without. But, many people take their toilet for granted, not paying too much attention until it starts clogging and overflowing. Typically, the clog results when you flush something you shouldn’t, but what exactly can and can’t you flush down the toilet?
Of course, the obvious things that are okay to flush are poo and pee and toilet paper. But, people try to dispose of all sorts of things down the toilet, from cockroaches to cigarettes to food scraps. Most of these are big no-no’s, while others are a bit iffy. Knowing what you can and can’t flush can save you lots of headaches and money in repairs. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your toilet betraying you when you gotta go.
Things You Can Flush Down The Toilet
There aren’t many things on this list because you really shouldn’t be flushing anything down your toilet except toilet paper, poop, and pee. However, there are some things that work well as cleaning agents and can even help with small toilet clog issues.
1. Toilet Paper
According to the EPA, they only want you flushing toilet paper down the toilet. But did you know that in certain countries and foreign cities, even flushing toilet paper is a no-go? Turkey, Beijing, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Montenegro provide special bins for soiled toilet paper — no flushing allowed.
But in the USA, it’s common to flush your TP. Toilet paper’s designed to break down in the water. However, if you flush too much at once, it can still cause a problem. Overloading your pipes with too much toilet paper can create a clog. So, if you need to use a large amount, go ahead and give a courtesy flush in between toilet paper bunches.
Generally, all human waste can go down the toilet — poo, pee, vomit, and yes, sperm. So, flush away without worry that you’ll cause any problems with your toilet or pipes. There’s an urban legend that semen congeals when wet and can cause clogs in the pipes. An article published by Slate reached out to medical professionals and scientists, who quickly debunked the myth.
You can flush soda, and many people use it as a home hack for unclogging the toilet. It contains phosphoric acid, which is also in many bathroom cleaners. Typically, plumbers suggest pouring a two-liter of room-temperature coke into the toilet and letting it sit for about 24 hours. Then, flush it to try and release the clog.
You might need to repeat the process, but this generally seems to work well on minor clogs. However, keep in mind that soda is sticky, and flushing it too much could leave a sticky residue on your pipes. If you use soda to try and fix a clog, follow the flush with some hot water to help give your pipes a rinse.
4. Dog Poop
This one is likely self-explanatory — poop is poop, right? But, if you’re wondering if it’s okay to dispose of Fido’s pile of poop in the toilet, the answer is yes. It’s certainly a lot easier (and a lot less smelly) than dropping it in your trash can.
5. Baking Soda
If you’re into cleaning hacks, then you probably already know baking soda is a cleaning powerhouse. You can use it to deodorize, make things sparkle, and unclog your toilet. You can also pour some baking soda into the toilet tank to reduce hard water buildup and keep things smelling fresh.
Vinegar is often used in combination with baking soda to loosen up stubborn clogs in drains and toilets. With the bowl only about half full, pour in a cup of baking soda. Follow with a cup of vinegar, making sure to pour slowly since it will start to fizz and bubble up. Let everything sit and fizz for about 20 minutes.
You can also use vinegar to clean your toilet since it helps get rid of stains and grime. It’s okay to pour it into the bowl and flush. Or, you can put it in a spray bottle to give your toilet a good wipe down.
7. Dish Soap
Mixing dish soap with hot water is an effective way to clean your toilet. Just as dish soap can go down your sink drain without causing a problem, it can also go down your toilet. You can also use dish soap to unclog a toilet. Pour about half a cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl and let it sink to the bottom.
Let the soap sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Next, follow up with about a gallon of hot (not boiling — boiling water could crack the porcelain) water to help move the dish soap into and down the toilet drain.
If you drop some ice cubes into the toilet, they’ll likely start to melt away with the first flush. The odds are good that the water in the toilet bowl is at room temperature. Of course, if you dump a ton of ice into your toilet and try to flush, you’ll probably have an issue. The rule of thumb is if you have a ratio of about 6 to 1, water to ice, you’re in good shape.
You rinse toothpaste down your sink drain when you brush your teeth. So it makes sense that it should be able to go down the toilet too. Some people will snip small holes in a tube of menthol toothpaste and place it in the toilet tank.
The idea is, with every flush, you get a minty, fresh scent. You can also use a small amount of toothpaste to scrub the inside of your toilet bowl to give it a clean sparkle. But keep in mind, this is using small amounts of toothpaste for cleaning.
Things You Can Flush, But Probably Shouldn’t (Or With Precautions)
There’s certainly a gray area when it comes to what you can and can’t flush down the toilet. Several items might not cause issues with your plumbing, but they could present other problems. In different situations, an item could be okay to flush, but only under certain conditions. Here’s a look at some things that you can flush down your toilet, but first, you need to think things through.
Who hasn’t tried to flush a cockroach down the toilet? It seems no matter how many times you try and whack a roach; it keeps on going strong. So flushing it down the toilet seems like a logical way to get rid of the pest for good.
A cockroach isn’t going to cause plumbing woes, but flushing it likely won’t kill it either. Roaches can hold their breath for a long time. Instead, it might hang out in your pipes, eventually making its way back into your home. Therefore, if you insist on flushing a cockroach, verify it’s dead first.
Similar to cockroaches, you can flush a spider without worrying about clogging your plumbing. However, most spiders don’t pose a risk to humans and can even get rid of peskier insects.
A spider will probably eventually drown if you flush it, but it could take a while. If you can, better to catch it and release it outside or dispose of it by other means.
Here’s another pest that’s better disposed of in ways that don’t involve your toilet. Scorpions won’t clog up your toilet, but they won’t die when you flush either. A scorpion can live underwater for up to two days. Therefore, when you flush, you won’t necessarily be rid of it — it will likely end up in your plumbing.
Flushing a tick down the toilet could potentially be a good way to get rid of it. It’s unlikely it would be able to crawl back up into your home. But a flush also isn’t likely to kill it.
Ticks don’t drown easily. So, before you flush, make sure it’s dead or if flushing a live tick, make sure it goes all the way down the drain. If you want to be certain you’re rid of the critter, dispose of it another way.
Pouring alcohol into your toilet isn’t going to gum up the works or cause a clog. The water helps dilute the alcohol, and it can flush down with no problem.
However, you could end up attracting insects or bacteria. So, don’t make a habit of flushing alcohol. For example, flushing a small amount is fine, but don’t pour a whole bottle of wine or whiskey down the drain.
You can flush gunpowder down the toilet, but you should only do so in very small amounts. It’s also important to follow up the flush with water for at least five minutes to completely dilute the saltpeter.
When you think about all the excess water you need to flush to accommodate the gunpowder, this gets pretty wasteful. Flushing in large amounts can potentially cause a clog as well as environmental concerns.
Basically, if you have a clear, thin broth, you can likely flush without care. However, most soups don’t fit this description. Instead, many soups are greasy or oily and contain other ingredients like chicken, vegetables, or noodles.
In these cases, you should not flush soup down the toilet. The different ingredients can cause problems, and the soup itself can thicken. It’s a recipe for nasty clogs and plumbing issues.
Many people use bleach to clean their toilets, so it would seem likely that you can flush chlorine bleach down the toilet. And, yes, you can, but it needs to be diluted with water first. Never use pure bleach to clean your toilet.
It’s also important to be aware of what other cleaners you are using. When combined with certain other ingredients or household products, like vinegar, bleach can create toxic fumes. Also, never put bleach in your toilet tank as it can damage the parts.
9. Bar Soap
You use soap to wash your hands and then rinse it down the drain. Therefore, the logic would follow that it can go down the toilet without causing plumbing problems. But, if you try to flush a whole bar of soap down the toilet, that’s not a good idea.
The bar soap won’t dissolve fast enough and would likely cause problems for you. So, if you want to flush bar soap down the toilet, you need to break or cut it up into small chunks first. This seems like an awful lot of trouble, though, so you’re better off keeping the bar soap out of the toilet.
10. Cat Litter
Because of its design, cat litter clumps when it gets wet. Therefore, flushing cat litter can mean a disaster for your pipes and plumbing, especially silica and clay-based litters.
However, there are new litters on the market that claim to be flushable. These litters typically feature more biodegradable, environmentally-friendly materials. So, in a pinch, you can flush these litters down the toilet in small amounts. Still, flushing isn’t the best way to dispose of them. Plus, if your cat’s feces contain parasites, it could introduce them into the water supply.
Things You Can’t Flush Down The Toilet
Unlike the list of what you can flush down the toilet, the list of what you can’t is much longer. When you consider only a handful of things safe to flush, it means pretty much anything else you can think of is off-limits.
Still, if you’re wondering about something specific, you can peruse this list. Take a peek to find out what you should toss in the trash instead of the toilet.
Food & Drink Items
1. Chewing Gum
Remember how your mom always told you not to swallow your gum or it would stay in your stomach forever? Sure, that might be an exaggeration, but it’s true that gum takes a long time to break down.
It’s sticky and gooey, and it will stick around in your pipes, causing plumbing problems and clogs. Plus, sweet, sugary gum can also develop bacteria which can further aggravate plumbing problems. So, don’t flush or swallow your gum; wrap it in a tissue and toss it into the trash.
Milk and other dairy products are actually big no-no’s when it comes to flushing them down your toilet. In many states, commercial businesses that try to flush milk could face fines or other penalties for their actions.
The reason for this is that flushing milk is really bad for the environment. It also takes a long time to fully break down, requiring a lot of oxygen to do so. When milk breaks down, it takes large amounts of oxygen from the air, which means other organisms can suffocate.
Imagine how oatmeal looks before you cook it. It’s a bunch of small pieces, right? So, how can that mess up your plumbing? But, now think about what happens when you cook oatmeal. It plumps up.
When you flush oatmeal, it can continue to expand as it absorbs water. Eventually, you could have a blockage forming in your pipes and a clogged toilet.
It’s a bad idea to flush any food down the toilet. Fruits can take a while to break down, getting stuck in your pipes.
Plus, when strawberries get wet, they can absorb the water and swell. It’s better to dispose of them in the trash or use them for compost.
5. Coffee Grounds
It’s best to toss coffee grounds in the trash. It’s a bad idea to flush coffee grounds down the toilet because they will clump together and form a clog. Coffee grounds can hang out in your pipes and build up over time, causing a significant blockage.
Flushing cereal down the toilet can lead to clogs and blockages in your plumbing system. Cereal consists of grains, which expand when they react with liquid. Therefore, they can create a stoppage in your pipes.
Even if you think the cereal is small, it’s better to avoid flushing it. Even tiny pieces can expand into a troublesome mass of goop in your plumbing.
Like cereal, since rice is a grain, it will plump up and expand when it’s in water. So, even though a tiny grain of rice might not seem capable of causing problems, think again. Flushing rice down the toilet will lead to the grains absorbing water and growing, clogging up your plumbing.
Like rice and other pasta and grains, noodles will expand in water and cause a gummy mess. Certainly not something you want in your pipes. Plus, long noodles can wrap around other items that might work their way into the pipes. As a result, you could end up with a crazy, goopy clog.
No matter what kind of veggies you have, flushing them down the toilet is unwise. Vegetables take a long time to break down. They also tend to absorb water, so they stick around in your pipes and cause a clog.
Eventually, they can create a blockage that causes raw sewage to back up into your home. Therefore, even if it’s just a few small pieces, use them for compost or toss them in the garbage can.
Yogurt is a dairy product, and therefore, it falls under the same category as milk. Flushing it causes major problems for the environment. The ingredients and substances in yogurt don’t disintegrate very easily. It takes a long time to break down and steals oxygen from surrounding organisms.
Apples can clog your toilet and get stuck in your pipes. It’s a bad idea to flush apples down the toilet. In particular, apple cores take an extremely long time to break down. Even if you were to chop the apple up into tiny pieces, it’s better to dispose of it another way.
Grapes might seem small and round and able to pass swiftly through your pipes. However, like other food scraps, grapes can still cause problems. You might see YouTube videos floating around that showcase flushing up to 5 pounds of grapes down a toilet.
In the video, the grapes seem to go down with no problem. But, the potential issue comes later, when those grapes get trapped in pipes and end up wreaking havoc on your plumbing. Of course, hopefully, you’re not flushing five pounds of grapes down your toilet anyway.
Although butter’s soft consistency might make you think it will simply dissolve away in the water, it won’t. Butter consists of lots of fat, and as it cools, it hardens. (Just think about how hard it is to cut butter straight out of the fridge.)
When the butter cools inside your pipes, it hardens and causes a clog. Plus, it creates a tough clog to tackle, so you’ll likely need to fork over the dough for a plumber.
If you’ve ever made Jell-o before, then you know once you mix it with water, it sets up into the jiggly dessert everyone loves. Well, this also can happen when you flush it. If it’s already in its jiggly form, it can collect in your pipes and clog your toilet.
Like other fruits and food scraps, watermelon can create a clog if it gets stuck in your pipes. It also absorbs water, so it’s not like it will dissolve away. The watermelon seeds and rind can also cause significant problems when you flush them, creating blockages in your plumbing.
16. Ice Cream
Flushing ice cream down the toilet is ill-advised. Like other dairy products, ice cream doesn’t break down quickly. It also needs a lot of oxygen to decompose, meaning less available oxygen for other organisms. It might seem harmless, but flushing dairy products has a major negative impact on the environment.
17. Tea Bags
Some people claim that letting tea bags sit in your toilet and flushing them can help clean and deodorize your toilet. Maybe this is so, but they can also clog your plumbing. Plus, tea leaves can swell in water and clump together, creating a stoppage in your pipes.
18. Egg Shells/Egg Yolks
It’s best to avoid flushing eggs down your toilet. The shells can cause big problems for your pipes and plumbing. Although the yolks might go down without a fight, they can still trap other things in your system.
Plus, if they somehow mix with hot water, they can “cook” and cause a clog. Even when washing egg yolks down your sink drain, make sure to do so with cold water (and lots of it).
Wet bread gets gummy, can swell, and eventually, it can dry out and harden. If all this happens inside your pipes, you could have a big problem on your hands. So, don’t flush bread down the toilet. Instead, toss it in the trash, or if it’s still edible, take it to the local park and feed the birds.
20. Banana Peel
A slimy, stringy banana peel is not a good match for your plumbing system. Not only does it take a long time to break down, but it can also get lodged in pipes. There’s also the possibility it can wrap around other items that come down the pipeline.
Sticky, gooey candy can become blocked in the pipes. But, even small hard candies can create a problem, sticking around forever since they take so long to decompose. Plus, sweet foods are always a draw for things you don’t want in your house, like insects and vermin.
Mango is no exception to the rule of don’t flush fruit down the toilet. It can hold onto water, chunks can lodge in pipes, and the stringiness can be especially troublesome. Also, that goes for mango pits, too – they are a big no-no! Never flush them down the toilet.
All in all, avoid flushing any food items down the toilet. It’s a better bet to toss them in the trash or use them as compost if you want to be more environmentally friendly.
Common Bathroom Trash & Supplies
Cotton swabs are common in bathrooms, and people often end up tossing them in the toilet. But throw it in the trash can instead. One Q-tip might not cause a big issue, but it can attach to other things, eventually creating a clog.
2. Cotton Balls
Cotton balls don’t break down quickly or easily, and flushing cotton balls can create big plumbing problems. The cotton balls themselves can create a clog when they clump together in your pipes.
Plus, the cotton can snag onto any rough edges inside your pipes and hang around for a while. The stuck pieces can catch other things coming down the pipeline, leading to a big clog and a plumbing nightmare.
You might think flushing tissues down the toilet is fine since they’re similar to toilet paper. But despite feeling and looking similar to TP, tissues do not break down as toilet paper does. So, when you flush tissues, they can stay intact in your pipes, causing a blockage.
4. Dental Floss
Dental floss can become an absolute monster clog if you flush it down the toilet. The long string can wrap around anything and everything else that comes down your pipes when you flush. Eventually, it all mixes together in a giant clog monster of dental floss, hair, paper, and yucky stuff.
5. Sanitary Pads
There’s a reason public restrooms display signs asking you to please avoid flushing feminine products. These pads absorb water, bulk up, and cause clogs. Not only can they cause the toilet to back up, but they can cause major problems with the overall plumbing system.
Even though many tampons claim to be flushable, it’s still best to wrap them up and toss them in the trash. Tampons, like sanitary pads, swell when wet and can clog pipes and cause toilets to back up. So, listen to those public pleas and don’t flush tampons.
Since condoms don’t dissolve or break down in the water, it’s not a good idea to flush them. Not only can they cause blockages in your plumbing, but they can also pose a risk to aquatic animals. So, even if you’re using a condom that claims to be biodegradable, it needs to go in the trash.
8. Make-up Remover Wipes
Make-up remover wipes are great for cleaning your face, but they aren’t flushable. They won’t break down in the water and will just bunch up in your pipes. Over time, they can collect with other things in the line and create a big problem. Clean your face, then toss the wipe into the garbage.
9. Flushable Wipes
Nope, even though they say “flushable” on the package, the EPA says don’t do it. Flushable wipes still take quite some time to break down, which means there’s enough time for them to cause issues in the plumbing. Keep this in mind if you’re spending more to buy a “flushable” wipe. Since you shouldn’t actually flush them, they’re not worth the extra cost.
10. Disposable Razor Heads
Disposable does not equal flushable. So, when you pop off that used razor head, do so in the trash can, not the toilet. They don’t break down, plus the sharp edges can catch onto other things in your pipes. It’s also not good or safe for the environment.
Health & First-Aid Supplies
If you flush gauze down the toilet, it can cause a clog. Gauze doesn’t break down like TP, so it can stay intact in the pipes. Plus, long strips of gauze can wrap around other items, creating a more massive blockage.
It’s not a good idea to flush anything plastic down the toilet, and band-aids consist of plastic. Plus, they can also feature several other non-flushable components like cotton, fabric, and glue-like materials.
Flushing one random band-aid might not seem like a big deal, but it’s best to avoid it. A little bit here and there eventually leads to big problems.
Flushing medications down your toilet is a no-go. It won’t necessarily cause a clog since it’s likely liquid or pills that will dissolve. But it causes a lot of damage to the environment and puts that medication in the water supply.
To dispose of old or expired medication, contact your local pharmacy. Many offer disposal programs and will take medicine off your hands at no charge.
4. Pain Patches
Similar to band-aids, pain patches feature a variety of non-flushable materials. Plus, they’re sticky and can catch onto other things and clump together. The outcome is a big clog, leading to a major inconvenience and a hefty plumbing bill.
Also, pain patches typically have some type of medication in them, which provides their pain-relieving abilities. So, flushing them also means you’re flushing medicines down the toilet too.
5. Disposable Masks
Once again, disposable in the name does not mean the same thing as flushable. It just means you can toss it in the trash. Disposable masks going down the toilet pose a host of potential issues.
They can cause a clog if they bunch up in the pipe, but they can also fan out and catch other items. Plus, the strings and elastic can tangle around other objects, creating a massive clog in your pipes.
6. Latex Gloves
Plastic, latex, rubber — all of the above are no-go’s for flushing down the toilet. The material is long-lasting, and it can create a ball of latex in your pipes.
It’s also possible for other things to catch inside the gloves and create a more significant blockage. Latex gloves also present a danger to the environment and wildlife if you don’t dispose of them properly.
Beauty, Hair & Toiletry Products
1. Acetone/Nail Polish Remover
Pouring nail polish remover into your toilet and flushing it sparks a host of problems. Don’t be fooled thinking it’s okay to flush because it’s a liquid.
The vapors are combustible, the acetone can damage plastic plumbing pipes, and it’s harmful to the environment. If you need to get rid of acetone or nail polish remover, do so in a safe, environmentally-responsible way.
It’s best to avoid flushing your perfume or cologne down the toilet. Most perfumes contain substances that are best left out of the water system. It won’t clog your pipes, but it’s not eco-friendly.
Perfumes and cologne are typically treated as hazardous waste by most cities. So, if you need to toss it, look into your local area’s disposal rules and regulations.
3. Hair Ties
Flushing hair ties down the toilet can lead to a big, jumbled mess in your pipes. Other things can get caught up inside the hair tie. Plus, if hair ties make it through your pipes into the water supply, they could endanger animals. Small animals could get strangled or caught up in them.
4. Contact Lenses
A tiny, barely visible thing like a contact lens might not seem like a big deal to flush down the toilet. But, contact lenses contain plastics. Flushing them puts this plastic in the water supply, leading to pollution and endangering animals. Some aquatic animals can even mistake the small lenses for food.
5. Shaving Cream
Believe it or not, shaving cream can actually clog drains. It doesn’t dissolve as quickly as you think it would, and it can build up over time, leading to a clog. So, it’s unwise to flush it down the toilet.
However, shaving cream does make an excellent cleaner for the outside of your toilet, giving it a real sparkle. Just make sure you scrub and wipe it away instead of flushing it.
This should go without saying, but you should not flush hair down the toilet. While a few small pieces are unlikely to cause an issue, hair can build up in time. Long hair is especially bad for pipes and plumbing. It turns into a massive hairball in your pipes and gathers up anything else around it.
2. Fingernails and Toenail Clippings
What’s the harm in flushing your nail trimmings down the toilet? After all, they’re so tiny. Well, they also contain substances that don’t break down or decompose quickly. So, your fingernail and toenail clippings will stick around in your pipes, building up over time and causing some big problems.
Okay, not sure why you would want to flush leaves down the toilet, but don’t do it. Some people might assume since leaves are part of nature, they’ll simply break down, no problem. But they don’t decompose nearly quickly enough to make them flushable. If you flush leaves down the toilet, you can almost count on an eventual clog.
Soil won’t dissolve in water, so it will likely settle in your plumbing system if you flush it. The dirt will stay in your pipes, eventually building up and mixing with other things.
You’ll have a nasty clog to deal with or worse. If you have dirt in your toilet for some reason, try to remove as much as possible with a cup or bucket.
Animals & Insects
It’s a common situation — a kid’s pet goldfish dies, and they ceremoniously flush it down the toilet. But, is that a good idea? Turns out, not really.
The little fish can still cause a clog. Plus, in some cases, flushed fish have ended up being alive. These survivors can become invasive species in the local waterways.
Flushing a mouse isn’t a good idea. It can lead to a clog. Even as the mouse starts to decompose, its skeleton won’t break down quickly. The mouse can block a pipe, stopping anything else coming down the line and creating a significant sewer backup.
Flushing a frog down the toilet is going to give you a similar problem to flushing a mouse or other large critter. It will likely get stuck in a pipe and block other things coming through. You’ll end up with a nasty clog and a big plumber’s bill in your future.
Not only will a snake cause similar problems as flushing a mouse or frog, but it poses some extra problems. The long snake can wrap around other things and create a nasty clog. If you try to flush a live snake down the toilet, besides being cruel, it can make its way back up into your house.
1. Paper Towels
Paper towels are designed for cleaning and wiping up spills without breaking. They’re meant to last and withstand breaking down in liquids. Therefore, flushing them will lead to a clog. Toilet paper is the only paper you should flush down the toilet.
Napkins, like paper towels, do not break down quickly, even when they meet with water. They’re designed to clean up messes, wipe up spills, etc. So, throw napkins in the trash can. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a clogged toilet and a plumbing headache.
3. Coffee Filters
A coffee filter consists of strong paper fibers that do not break down or decompose quickly. Flushing coffee filters down the toilet will lead to a clog and issues with your plumbing. Therefore, throw used coffee filters away in the trash can.
A life hack for when you run out of toilet paper and are in a pinch is to use newspaper. Odd, but true. Still, this doesn’t mean you should flush newspaper down the toilet.
Flushing newspapers can create clogs in your pipes and problems with the sewer system. The paper gets very gummy when wet. So, if you do use this hack, dispose of the newspaper in the trash. Then, take your trash out as soon as possible.
Cleaning Supplies & Household Items
1. Toilet Bowl Scrubbers And Pads
Even if it says you can, don’t flush toilet scrubber heads down the toilet. Plumbers won’t do it, and neither should you. They simply can’t disintegrate fast enough, and too much over time can overload your plumbing system.
2. Swiffer Sheets
Swiffer sheets don’t break apart in water like toilet paper. These sheets are meant to be tough and durable for cleaning. Making a habit of flushing Swiffer sheets and other non-flushable items will lead to clogs and sewer backups.
No matter what type, paint is on hazardous waste lists for a reason. It’s made up of solvents, chemicals, pigments, and other materials that you need to dispose of safely.
You don’t want any of these components ending up in wastewater. Therefore, avoid flushing paint down the toilet, and instead, consult with your local authority for correct disposal methods.
4. Grease And Oil
Fats, oils, and grease can lead to disgusting clogs over time. They all build up in pipes and solidify as they cool, causing a big mess for you and your plumbing. It doesn’t matter if it’s cooking grease, motor oil, or any other type. It all falls under the same unflushable category.
Can you picture a sticky mess like glue ending up in your pipes? Imagine the stuff that could mix with it and get stuck inside your plumbing. Plus, most glue contains hazardous materials and chemicals that should not end up in wastewater. It’s not eco-friendly or good for your sewer system.
6. Drain Cleaner
A lot of drain cleaners contain caustic substances that are best left out of your plumbing. Don’t pour drain cleaner down your toilet to fix a clog. You’ll likely only make it worse. Plus, the chemicals in many drain cleaners can damage old pipes and plastic pipes.
Batteries are considered hazardous waste and need to be disposed of properly. Flushing them down the toilet is not the way to do it. Plus, batteries are solid materials that could potentially cause clogs. They can also bang around in your pipes as they travel through, possibly damaging them.
These colorful balls might be great for your garden, but flushing them down the toilet could be disastrous. Orbeez increase in size dramatically when they’re in water. Trying to dispose of them in the toilet can create a massive clog. Instead, toss them in the trash, or see if you can reuse them in your garden.
It’s best to avoid pouring any kind of wax down the toilet. A little candle wax might not make a difference if it’s a one-time thing. But, there’s a chance it could disrupt your toilet’s performance. Also, hot wax going down the toilet can harden quickly, closing off your pipes.
Some people prefer to flush matches to ensure they can’t reignite in the trash. But this isn’t a good option. Even though they seem small and skinny, matches can cause clogs. They don’t rot away quickly, so they can hang out in the plumbing system for a while.
Matches can also build up with other items, creating larger clogs. Instead, if you’re worried about a returning flame, run some water over the match head before tossing it in the trash.
1. Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are great for cleaning all sorts of things, from baby bottoms to high chairs and beyond. But they aren’t so great at breaking down in water. Instead, baby wipes will stay in one piece and clump up in your pipes, clogging your toilet.
One of the whole points of diapers is to absorb water. So flushing one down your toilet probably isn’t the best idea.
It will bulk up in the water and, as it heads down your toilet drain, likely lodge inside the pipe. You might even end up dealing with an immediate backflow issue. So, toss the dirty diapers in the trash.
You would intentionally flush your kid’s toys down the toilet. But what parent hasn’t dealt with the wayward LEGO or action figure traveling down the toilet bowl? Whether because of an accident or a curious toddler, those toys can cause a clog that isn’t fun to deal with.
But, if it’s just something small, you might luck out with a plunger or a snake to fix the problem. If your child dumped the whole toy box, you might want to call a plumber.
Balloons are typically made of latex. Latex and similar materials are not a good match for toilets. They won’t break down quickly at all, and they can catch other things coming down the pipe. The combination of these qualities can lead to a giant balloon clog in your plumbing.
A single, small sticker accidentally falling in the toilet probably won’t be a big deal. But, over time, anything unflushable can create a significant problem. Plus, stickers feature paper and sticky residue that is not suitable for the inside of your pipes. Make sure your kids know to throw old stickers into the trash can instead.
6. Baby Powder
Baby powder is generally pretty fine, so you’d likely need to flush a lot of it to cause a problem. Still, it doesn’t dissolve in water, so if you flush it, it has the potential to gum up your pipes. There’s no reason to flush baby powder down the toilet. So play it safe and dispose of it in the trash instead.
If you flush slime as a one-time thing, you probably won’t have an issue. But, it’s still not the best idea. Slime can stick to pipes and stay there for a while — it doesn’t break down fast.
So, as other things come through the pipes, they can stick to the slime. Eventually, you end up with a sticky, ooey-gooey clog on your hands.
If you find your kid experimenting with flushing Play-Doh, stop it quickly. You’ll end up with a clog, a useless toilet, a call to the plumber, and an unhappy child that lost their playdough.
In other words, there’s nothing good about this situation. Play-Doh doesn’t dissolve, and it sticks to itself, grabbing a hold of other things in the pipes. A ball of Play-Doh can certainly mess up your plumbing.
Miscellaneous Items You Can’t Flush Down The Toilet
1. Puppy Potty Pads
Training pads might be designed to handle your dog’s pee and poop, but that doesn’t make them flushable. Their very design makes them absorbent, holding on to urine, so it doesn’t go on your floors. Plus, the pads can be rather large. Flushing them means you’ll end up with a large clog.
2. Rubber Bands
It’s estimated that certain rubbers can take as long as 50 years to decompose. So, flushing rubber bands down your toilet could potentially lead to them hanging in your pipes for a long time. They can snag on jagged edges and tangle up with other items coming down the line.
Of course, you’re not going to flush your keys down the toilet purposely, but accidents happen. Or maybe you have a curious kid or a jealous roommate. No matter the reason, if your keys end up going down the toilet, you need to get them out.
Obviously, you want your keys back, but they could also cause issues for your plumbing. A heavy bunch of keys can bang around in your pipes, causing damage. Additionally, the keys’ jagged edges could also snag onto other items creating a clog. Unless your keys are close enough to the toilet drain to get with an auger or snake, you might need to fetch a plumber.
You’ve heard the expression, “like flushing money down the toilet.” But what would happen if your dollars and cents really went down the drain? Paper money can get gummy and stick in your pipes, like other types of non-flushable paper. Coins can bang around and potentially damage pipes or cause a clog.
Small pieces of metal, like filings and shavings, will likely go down your toilet with no problem. But, over time, anything that’s not meant to be flushed will likely cause an issue. So, don’t send any type of metal down the pipes and into your community’s water system. If you flush a metal object by accident, you could try and retrieve it with a flexible magnet.
Flushing plastic down the toilet creates problems for your toilet and potentially for the neighborhood, too. Things like plastic bags and other items can collect in your sewer lines, causing major drainage problems.
It’s also bad for the environment since the plastic can leach into drinking water. Instead, why not use those plastic bags as trash bags for your other non-flushable items.
7. Cigarette Butts
Cigarette butts might seem like they would just crumble apart in the water. However, they actually take some time to break down, and they can collect in your pipes and cause a clog.
Plus, cigarettes contain chemicals and cancer-causing agents that can make their way into the water supply. So, not only is flushing cigarette butts bad for your plumbing, but it’s not good for the environment either.
It’s best to toss tobacco in the trash to save your plumbing and the planet. Flushing tobacco down the toilet can release nasty substances into the environment. For example, chemicals in tobacco can end up in the water supply. Plus, it can also potentially cause issues with your septic system and clog pipes.
Sand won’t dissolve in water, so if you flush sand, it’s going to settle in your plumbing system. Over time, it can lead to nasty clogs and blockages in your pipes.
It doesn’t matter what kind of sand, whether it’s beach sand rinsing off your swimsuit or kinetic sand from your kid’s toy box. If you need to get rid of sand, don’t do it in your toilet.
It’s not a good idea to dispose of glass down the toilet. Glass can end up causing a blockage in your pipes. Shards of glass can also snag other things like paper, hair, and various items.
Because of this, flushing glass might not appear to cause a problem immediately. But, if it rests in your pipes, the edges will catch things over time, eventually causing a clog.