While we all know that there are certain things you shouldn’t flush down the toilet, we’d be willing to bet there are at least one or two things on this list you may be guilt of pulling the handle down on. Don’t worry, we won’t report you to waste management. We just want to share these everyday things you shouldn’t flush down the toilet so you don’t have problems with plumbing in your home.
What You Shouldn’t Flush Down the Toilet
#1: Baby Wipes
Baby wipes or “flushable wipes,” as they’re often labeled on packaging, are a leading culprit in causing clogs in plumbing. Because they aren’t designed to break down the same way as your average roll of toilet paper, they can wreak havoc on plumbing.
#2: Q-Tips, Cotton Pads, and Other Cotton Products
Whether you’re swabbing your ears or taking off makeup with a cotton pad, never flush cotton products down the tube. Q-tips, cotton balls, and similar products can clump together and lead to major problems down the line.
#3: Dental Floss
You shouldn’t flush dental floss, either. It might seem harmless enough, but floss doesn’t break down easily. What it actually does is create a net that traps other debris from passing through your plumbing. It’s also really not good for the environment. And that’s just not cool.
#4: Menstrual Products
Menstrual products like tampons, pads, etc., should never be flushed for one simple reason: they’re designed to absorb. These products are meant to hold and withstand liquid. And when you introduce them to water, they’ll just expand and lead to blockages—and that’s not good!
Next on our list of things you shouldn’t flush down the toilet? Medication. When you want to rid your medicine cabinet of old or expired pills, you never want to flush them down the toilet. They probably won’t cause any plumbing problems, but they can have very toxic effects on the environment. Instead, keep tabs on local take-back programs for responsible disposal of medications.
Similar to clogs in the shower, flushing hair down the toilet echoes the problems created by flushing dental floss. Since hair never dissolves, it can create a net that traps other debris in your plumbing. So, when you’re cleaning out your round brush or wiping up hair from the sink, toss it in the bin.
After Fin takes his final swim, it may be standard to send him off with a flush. However, fish won’t break down in water and can lead to a troublesome clog—especially if there’s a blockage already building. Give him a proper burial in the backyard instead.
Because condoms aren’t meant to break down in water, it’s no surprise they’ve made our list. From clogs in plumbing to septic tanks, it’s better not to take a chance with flushing. Dispose of them in the trash.
Perhaps the most surprising on our list of things you shouldn’t flush down the toilet: bleach! It’s something many people clean their kitchens and bathrooms with. Bleach is a harsh chemical. Too harsh for your toilet and septic system. Stick to a regular toilet cleaner. And if you’re trying to remove hard water stains or discoloration, opt for vinegar or consider a water conditioning treatment system.
#10: Cat Litter
While some brands of kitty litter claim to be flushable, most toilet systems don’t use enough water to move the litter along your plumbing. Dispose of it the old-fashioned way. You should also avoid flushing your cat’s waste, too. The litter dehydrates waste. Your toilet is meant to flush water-soluble waste.