We’ve all faced this problem: you’re standing in front of the toilet, curious about what can go down it. Flushable wipes? Q-tips? Hairballs from your cat? It’s hard to know what can and cannot be flushed away – and flushing the wrong thing could cause much damage.
Having experienced firsthand what plumbing problems can arise from a bad flush decision, I decided to find out exactly which items we should and should not flush down our toilets!
So if you have ever wondered about what belongs in the toilet bowl or whether something will do more harm than good once it is sent on its way, this blog post is for you!
What Can Be Flushed Down The Toilet
Toilets are often a convenient way to dispose of household items, but it’s important to be mindful of what can be flushed down.
In general, toilet-safe items are biodegradable and dissolve quickly. These include human waste, toilet paper, facial tissue, and cotton swabs.
Unsafe items that can cause drainage or plumbing problems include feminine products, diapers, sanitary wipes or napkins, cigarettes, and other non-biodegradable materials such as plastic packaging, used bandaids, and old dental floss.
It’s also important not to flush any medications down the drain – they should be disposed of with other hazardous waste by local guidelines.
Making informed decisions on what is appropriate to flush down the toilet helps to minimize damage and keep your plumbing running smoothly.
What Are The Only 3 Things You Should Flush Down The Toilet?
We’ve all heard the saying, “don’t flush it if you don’t want to see it again.” Going down the drain, whatever you may seem so far away that we often forget about it.
However, flushing items other than human waste and toilet paper can seriously affect our plumbing systems and the environment. So, what are the only three things you should flush down your toilet?
The first item you should only ever flush is urine. Urine mainly comprises water (95%) and urea (5%). The good news is that urine contains no bacteria or toxic chemicals.
So it will not pollute our water sources when flushed in small quantities. Large amounts of urine can still cause problems for septic tanks due to their high salt content.
The second item that is safe to flush down the toilet is fecal matter. To ensure a clog-free experience, break up large pieces with toilet paper before flushing.
It’s also important to note that feces contain harmful bacteria that may contaminate our water sources when flushed excessively.
Toilet paper is the third and final item that should be flushed down your toilet. Toilet paper is designed to break down quickly in water and won’t clog your pipes if used correctly.
Meaning no more than two sheets at a time! Check with your local water company, as some areas may require special kinds of non-flushable or biodegradable toilet paper due to their limitations in sewage system capacity.
What Things Can Block The Toilet?
A clogged toilet can be a messy, smelly inconvenience for anyone. But with the right information and preventive measures, you can save time and money and keep your toilet running smoothly.
So now, let’s discuss some of the common items that can cause your toilet to become blocked so that you can avoid future plumbing problems.
Paper Towel And Tissues
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget that paper towels and tissues are not meant to be flushed down the toilet.
Even if they seem small or insignificant, these items don’t break down in the water and often get stuck in the drain pipes. This is especially true of thicker paper towels or multiple tissues at once.
So even if it seems harmless enough to flush one tissue down the toilet now and then, it’s best to avoid putting any paper towel or tissue down your toilet altogether.
Pharmaceuticals should never be flushed down the toilet. Not only do they pose an environmental hazard when they enter our waterways, but they also clog up pipes in your home’s plumbing system.
Instead of flushing them away, return unused medications to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
Cat And Dog Littre
Cat and dog litter should never be flushed down the toilet either—it’s too heavy for most toilets to handle! The litter contains clay particles that don’t break down in water; as a result, it will stick together like cement and eventually create a blockage in your pipes.
Instead of flushing it away, dispose of cat litter in an outdoor trash bin or use an appropriate composting system for biodegradable litter options.
Baby wipes have become increasingly popular as a convenient way to wipe up messes; however, they are made from synthetic fibers that do not dissolve in water, like toilet paper.
Therefore, if you flush them down your toilet, they can get stuck in pipes and cause serious clogs. Baby wipes also contain chemicals and fragrances that can damage septic systems and even corrode metal pipes over time.
The best way to dispose of baby wipes is to throw them away in the trash.
It should go without saying, but flushing any hazardous material—such as paint, motor oil, gasoline, solvents, pesticides, etc.—is an absolute no-no.
These items can pollute rivers and streams while damaging your plumbing system or septic tank. If you need to dispose of hazardous materials, take them to a local waste disposal facility instead of flushing them down your toilet.
Sanitary napkins should never be flushed down the toilet because they are often too thick to break apart when exposed to water pressure from the plumbing system.
As with baby wipes and other non-biodegradable items, these napkins can easily clog toilets and pipes if improperly disposed of.
The best way to get rid of used sanitary napkins is by wrapping them up in newspaper or plastic bags before throwing them away in the trash bin.
Personal Care Products
Personal care products such as tampons, facial tissues, cotton swabs, Q- Tips and other items should not be flushed down the toilet.
These items do not break down quickly and can accumulate in your pipes over time, leading to a clog or a sewage backup in your home. It is best to dispose of these items in the trash instead.
Food And Grease
Food scraps should never be allowed to enter your drain system. They cause odors that linger throughout the house, often attracting pests such as rats and cockroaches.
Grease also coats pipes and drains, which can lead to clogs by trapping other debris in them. It is best to dispose of food scraps and grease in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet.
Can You Flush Cereal Down The Toilet
Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals that can damage your plumbing system if flushed down the toilet. Cigarette butts also have filters that don’t break down quickly, which can lead to blockages in your pipes over time.
Cigarette butts should always be disposed of properly in a designated receptacle for cigarette waste or, better yet – recycled them!
Automotive fluids such as motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, transmission fluid, or coolant must never be poured into drains or toilets.
Because they contain hazardous chemicals that could contaminate drinking water supplies if released into waterways or groundwater systems.
These fluids must always be disposed of properly at an approved hazardous waste disposal facility.
Ultimately, the items that can be flushed down a toilet depend on your plumbing system. Generally speaking, human waste and toilet paper are suitable for most drains.
However, it is important to remember that just because something may fit in the drain does not mean it should be flushed.
Regularly flushable materials such as diapers and feminine hygiene products could easily clog a sewer line if too many enter the system simultaneously.
To stay on top of your pipes and septic system, avoid flushing down items such as fat and grease, toys, plants, food scraps, medication, cigarettes, and wipes.
Keep an eye on what is getting thrown down the drain and think before you flush so, you can enjoy a healthy plumbing system for years to come!