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Never Flush These Down Your Toilet

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Toilets are an everyday convenience that we don’t think much about until it stops working. Toilets are not great at disposing of anything other than human waste and toilet paper. That said, there are some things you should never flush down your toilet. Flushing certain items instead of throwing them away can clog your drains. Furthermore, it can ruin your septic tank, and even cause environmental damage. Flow Pros can fix these problems if they accrue, but it’s best to try and prevent any issues.

Most pipes are only four inches in diameter at the widest. Therefore, even small items that seem harmless can cause major plumbing issues. Hiring a professional to unclog your drains can become costly and time-consuming. 

Here is another thing to remember. If your toilet gets clogged, you could have to deal with overflowing water that damages your home, resulting in more money.

Flow Pros has put together a list of items you should not flush down your toilet to ensure your pipes stay clear and running smoothly.

Don’t Flush These

1| Baby Wipes- Here is a simple truth. Baby wipes must stay wet for a certain amount of time to break down. And if the expiration date is two years from the time you use it, it can take that long before the wipe starts to degrade. In the meantime, your drains will get clogged.

2| Cat Litter- There are certain brands of cat litter that claim their product is flushable. Still, standard toilets don’t use enough water during a flush to move the litter down the toilet. Then it ha to go through the drains without causing problems. Litter dehydrates the waste, and toilets are meant to flush-soluble waste.

3| Menstrual Products- Typically, women put pads in the trash can and tampons in the toilet. These products are designed to absorb liquid, not break down in it. So, when you flush them, they will expand more, causing plumbing issues. Still, it would be best if you were throwing both of them away.

4| Condoms-  Like feminine products, condoms are not meant to break down in the water, so flushing them causes clogs in septic tanks and toilets. It is best to toss these in the trash as well.

5| Diapers- Like menstrual products, cotton diapers absorb liquids up to 10 times their size. There’s no way they will ever get down a four-inch drain. Diapers belong in the trash can.

6| Medication- Old pills that you need to dispose of go in the trash. Toilet water does not break down medication. The medication can affect the water causing toxic environmental effects.

7| Paper Towels & Tissues- Although you may think paper towels and tissues deteriorate the same way as toilet paper, they don’t. Both products absorb liquid. If you ever need to use paper towels or tissues instead of toilet paper, here is the best suggestion. Please dispose of them in the trash can.

8| Dental Floss- Dental floss can clog your pipes and negatively affect the environment. When the floss is flushed, it basically becomes a net. It gets tangled and ties itself around other debris. It can even wrap around parts of your septic system and cause your motor to burn out.

9| Cooking Grease- Most people know you shouldn’t put cooking grease down your kitchen drain. The same goes for putting grease down your toilet. When the grease cools down, it thickens, making it impossible to get through a drain without a clog.

10| Clothing- This should be self-explanatory, but we have talked to plumbers who pulled out underwear, pants, and shirts from drains. If you have clothing items you want to get rid of, please throw them in the trash.

11| Bandages- Some bandaids are made of non-biodegradable plastics. These materials can pollute water systems when they get flushed down the toilet. The sticky adhesive from the bandaids can also adhere to other items, resulting in a more significant clog. Avoid these drain issues by disposing of bandages in a garbage can.

12| Kid Items- Kids are quick and can do some crazy stuff. Try your best to keep an eye on your child to ensure they do not flush toys of any kind. Make sure they do not get ahold of any other household items and flush those. Teach them this: It shouldn’t go down the drain if it’s not toilet paper.

13| Cotton Products- Another simple truth is this. Cotton pads, cotton balls, and Q-tips are unsafe to flush because cotton does not break down as toilet paper does. When wet, cotton clumps together in your pipes and causes problems later on.

14| Cigarette Butts- This is one not many people are aware of. Cigarettes are another waste item that can cause harmful chemicals to get into the water systems and harm wildlife. When cigarette butts get flushed, they don’t always go down the drain. Then the next person in the bathroom has to see and smell the cigarette butts.

15| Gum- Gum never breaks down in a sewer pipe. Not only does that mean gum can contribute to clogs and any other substances. But it can also make its way into waterways, causing the planet’s massive microplastic problem.

16| Cosmetic Wipes- Wet wipes are one of the worst problems with sanitary systems. They are responsible for causing half of the blockages that lead to fat build-ups, also known as fatbergs. Cosmetic wipes don’t dissolve in water and have a very negative impact on the sewage treatment process.

17| Contact Lenses- Around 125 million people use contact lenses daily worldwide. As a result, billions of daily contacts go down the toilet every year. But few people know that putting used lenses down the drain contributes to creating trillions of microplastics. And this is one of the more significant environmental concerns in today’s world.

18| Pet Fish- Flushing a fish that has died is often depicted in books, movies, and shows. Still, aside from what you may believe, your toilet isn’t a direct waterway to the ocean. Your pet goldfish might end up in a local waterway after an overflow, where an invasive species that may harm other wildlife.

19| Nail Clippings- Strange, but, hair, fingernails, and toenail clippings are technically organic waste. But that doesn’t mean they will break down in your septic tank. Avoid problems by clipping your nails into the trash can instead.

20| Food- Human waste is made up of food, so it doesn’t seem like flushing leftovers should be that big a deal. Still, uneaten food can be too large for pipes, cause blockages, and even absorb water, worsening the problem. Human waste is a lot softer than old, moldy food.

Contact Flow Pros

If you happen to come across this article after you have flushed one of these items down the toilet, contact us today. One of our trained and certified technicians will come to your home or business and look at your drains.


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4830 West Kennedy Blvd, Suite 600

St. Petersburg Office

1680 Watermark Cir. NE.

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