One of the biggest causes of needed toilet repair is from someone flushing something down the toilet that shouldn’t be there. If you want to avoid a potentially costly toilet repair, share this list with everyone in your house about common items that should NOT get flushed.
- Band-Aids: Made of non-biodegradable materials, they easily tangle up with hair and fat to create blockages.
- Cat litter: Scoopable and flushable cat litter sounds sensible, but in reality, it causes problems. Flushing litter and feces down the hatch not only causes plumbing problems, but it’s possible that a parasite found in cat feces is killing sea otters and seals — and it could be coming from flushed cat waste.
- Chewing gum: Flushing what is basically an adhesive down the toilet is not a sound practice, for obvious reasons.
- Cigarette Butts: Although they seem flushable, cigarette filters don’t easily biodegrade and they are filled with chemicals, which leach into the wastewater. These should be thrown in the regular trash.
- Condoms: Easy to flush, but not so easy on the sewer system. Condoms can inflate like balloons and cause fairly destructive obstructions.
- Cotton Swabs: Cotton doesn’t break down easily, and although it may take a while for cotton products to accumulate into a clog, they are difficult to dislodge once they do.
- Cosmetics: Your old moisturizer and other beauty care products can be potentially toxic and disruptive to wastewater treatment plants and septic systems.
- Diapers: It’s hard to believe that one could even get a diaper to flush down the toilet, yet that hasn’t stopped sewage workers from finding systems clogged with disposable nappies.
- Dryer Sheets: Dryer sheets are full of toxic chemicals that cause big problems at treatment facilities, and your local watershed. They also can quickly lead to clogs. Your best bet for a healthy home is to not use them. But if you do, don’t flush them after you’re done folding laundry. They’re better off in the trash.
- Floss: Seemingly innocent, dental floss is non-biodegradable and wraps around small clogs and tangles them into bigger masses.
- Hair: After cleaning your hairbrush, deposit the clump in the garbage, not the toilet. It tangles, catches things, and clogs like crazy.
- Insects: Just take them outside.
- Large Wipes: Baby wipes, paper towels, face wipes, Swiffer pads…all these things might say “flushable” on the box, but if you have even a tiny clog forming, adding large wipes to the waste flow will quickly make a tiny problem big.
- Paper towels and napkins: Too sturdy for the pipes.
- Pets: Yes, pets. Goldfish are commonly flushed, but small rodents (hamsters and gerbils) are also found in sewer systems. They’re sturdy and they create clogs; consider a proper burial.
- Prescription medicines: No, no, no. Marine life does not need to ingest your old drugs, not to mention that flushed meds can work their way back into our drinking water. See the Food and Drug Administration guidelines for disposing of unwanted medications.
- Sanitary Napkins: The padding and absorbent nature of these products make them too thick for the plumbing.
- Toilet Bowl Scrub Pads: Not only are these scrub pads not biodegradable, they’re full of harsh cleaning agents that are difficult for the treatment facility to cleanse from the water.
If you can practice these simple tips and keep these items out of your pipes, you lower your chances of needing a toilet repair and extend the life of your toilets. If you ever forget and need a hand with your toilet, Plumbing Masters is just a call away at (602) 296-1127.