Updated: Apr 16
Never underestimate the importance of keeping your plumbing in good working order. Your toilet is among the most used fixtures in your home, so it's essential to treat it with care. The worst move you can make is flushing items down the toilet that aren't compatible with plumbing.
To prevent overflows, blockages, and other inconveniences of a blocked septic system, or worse, here are some items that should never get flushed down the toilet.
Baby Wipes And Diapers
Baby wipes and diapers are products that should always get disposed of in the trash. Even if the package says they're "flushable," think twice before pushing on the handle.
Baby wipes and diapers contain absorbent materials that enlarge when they get wet. As a result, these baby care items can cause blockages in your plumbing that are difficult and expensive to fix.
Feminine Hygiene Products
Feminine hygiene products are not flushable, like diapers and baby wipes. The materials used in feminine hygiene products are highly absorbent. They don't disintegrate easily, leading to clogs in your septic system.
The easiest way to prevent sewer lines or septic clogs is to throw these items in the trash and not the toilet.
Cleaning Products - Many people think that since cleaning products get used when cleaning, they're also safe to flush down the toilet. However, this is not the case.
Cleaning products feature harsh chemicals that can damage your plumbing. In addition, when these products are flushed, they can cause severe problems for your septic system.
Paper Towels - While paper towels are similar to toilet paper, and both products can do the same job, it's critical to remember they aren't the same. Unlike toilet paper, paper towels aren't safe for sewers or septic systems because they don't break down as quickly.
As a result, paper towels can cause clogs and blockages in your plumbing that can be difficult to remove.
If you need to dispose of a paper towel, always be sure to throw it in the trash.
Cigarette Butts - Cigarette butts may seem small, but they can cause significant problems when flushed down the toilet. Cigarette butts need a long time to break down and can clog your plumbing.
If you need to dispose of a cigarette butt, put it in an ashtray or an outdoor waste bin. Alternatively, for the health of everyone in your household, consider quitting, so you needn't worry about how to dispose of cigarette butts in the future.
Medication - You should never flush medicines down the toilet, even if the package says it's safe. Medication can contaminate your water supply and cause serious health problems.
Many communities offer medication take-back programs these days, but if they aren't available in your zip code, contact your local pharmacy or law enforcement agency for proper disposal instructions or drop-off locations.
By properly disposing of unwanted, expired, or unused medication, you can help protect yourself, your family, and your community.
Coin, Toys, And Other Small Objects - It may seem harmless to flush a small object down the toilet if it fits, but this can cause big problems. Small things can quickly become lodged in your plumbing and cause clogs or blockages.
In addition, flushing these items can damage your toilet and cause expensive repairs.
Hair - Hair is another common item that people flush down the toilet without giving it a second thought. Like other items on this list, hair doesn't break down easily and can quickly cause clogs in your plumbing, especially when there are large amounts.
So, the next time you clean your hairbrush, remember to toss the hair in the trash, not the toilet.
Beauty Care Items - Think twice before you nonchalantly toss your used Q-Tips, cotton balls, or other small beauty care items in the toilet! Since these products are not septic or sewer friendly, they can easily cause blockages and backups.
For example, the stick part of Q-Tips can become lodged in the trap of your toilet, while cotton balls can get stuck and cause a clog. Always dispose of beauty care items in the trashcan to avoid these problems, not the toilet.
Food Scraps - Food scraps may not seem like they would cause problems when flushed, but they can. Not only can food scraps attract pests and cause clogs in your plumbing, food items that become lodged in the plumbing system can cause serious sewer line backups.
In addition, if you have a septic system, flushing food scraps can damage the bacteria that help dissolve waste in your septic tank. As a result, you could have a smelly yard and a costly repair bill.
Kitchen Grease - Kitchen grease should never go down your drains or get flushed in the toilet. When the oil cools, it can solidify and cling to the sides of your pipes.
Over time, this built-up grease can cause clogs that are difficult to remove. In addition, flushing kitchen grease can damage your septic system or sewer line, so this is something you want to avoid doing at all costs.
As you can see, you shouldn't throw items that aren't septic or sewer friendly in the toilet. However, properly disposing of these items can avoid clogs, backups, and other problems. So, the next time you flush something down the toilet, think twice and ask yourself if it's worth it.