In reality, there are only a few things you can flush down your toilet; toilet paper, feces, and urine. In other words, the three P’s- paper, pee, and poo! Your wastewater usually takes two routes. It either heads into a nearby septic tank or a to your community’s local sewer. Before reaching the treatment plant, it goes through filtration to separate large items and objects. That said, did you know that wastewater usually contains paper towels, baby wipes, cosmetic wipes, condoms, and other things?
However, our sewage systems are not perfect. According to a WHO survey, only twenty-seven percent of the entire population utilizes private sanitation facilities to treat wastewater. On top of that, home sewage pipes are usually only 4 inches in diameter. This means that even the most minuscule and harmless items can get stuck and cause major plumbing issues. When such a thing happens, we rush to our telephones and call in the plumber to shake our drain pipes, flushing hundreds of dollars down the drain, pun intended. However, knowing what we can and what we cannot flush down the toilet will save us from a plumbing disaster. Listed below is a list of items that you should avoid flushing down the toilet at all costs.
Cosmetic wipes can cause severe problems to the modern sanitation system. These are responsible for causing more blockages than any other item and can result in fat buildups (fatbergs) in your sewage system. They do not dissolve in water that quickly and negatively impact the sewage water treatment process. Throw them in the trash can instead of flushing them down the toilet!
If you run out of toilet paper, avoid using tissues and paper towels and flushing them down your toilet. These paper products are not dissolvable like toilet paper and absorb water instead. So, they will likely clump up and block your drainpipe if you flush them. Always throw away such paper products in the trash, not the toilet!
On a side note, if your home’s showing signs of significant damage due to reckless dumping down the drain, call in a water damage advisor before things get out of hand. Experts will also let you know of any severe water damage you were unaware of.
We all know how bad smoking is for the lungs. But cigarette butts can also poison helpful microorganisms in your water system and cause severe harm to wildlife. Not to mention, cigarette butts don’t get flushed that easily and float at the top of your toilet bowl, leaving an unpleasant smell inside your bathroom. You’ll have to try at least two times to send them down successfully. After you finish smoking your cigarette, extinguish them and throw them in the bin. Even better, don’t smoke in the bathroom!
Avoid flushing large clumps or strands of hair as it can lead to hair buildup over time and eventually clog up your toilet. The hair you flush will stick on the sides of your drain pipes and cause other significant issues such as water backing up inside the toilet bowl. You don’t want your poo swirling around instead of going down the drain, do you? Also, protect your drain covers to protect your sink drain, showers, and bathtubs.
Like hair, dental floss usually consists of Teflon or nylon and doesn’t break down in the water. If you are constantly flushing dental floss down your toilet, it can cause severe blockages over time. Furthermore, dental floss can quickly wrap around other flushed items, resulting in larger clumps that block pipes and sewers. After flossing your teeth, toss the floss in the garbage.
Unlike the human variety, cat pee and poo should never end up in your toilet. When you flush kitten litter down the toilet, it can contaminate the water supply by introducing harmful parasites inside it. Furthermore, kitten litter can clump up in the presence of water, which can cause unnecessary blockages. Gather all your kitten litter inside a trash bag and dump it in the bin.
Too much toilet paper
Flushing too much toilet paper will result in a clogged toilet eventually. Not to mention, using too much paper is wasteful and a crime against Mother Nature. To avoid a clogged toilet, only use the necessary amount of toilet paper. Or better yet, keep a small trash can inside your bathroom and use it to dispose of all sanitary products.
Cotton swabs, balls, or rounds
Although cotton swabs, balls, and rounds might look toilet friendly, they can cause a clog in your water pipes if you constantly flush them down the toilet. When flushed, these products don’t easily dissolve in water and instead absorb it, clumping up and blocking your pipes.
Medication and household products
Don’t even think about flushing potentially dangerous household chemicals or medication down the toilet. This will help you reduce the amount of water pollution. These include paint and cleaning products such as glass, window, and oven cleaners as well. According to the FDA, the best and easiest way to dispose of medication is by dropping them off at a drug take-back store. The EPA suggests searching for a collection program to help you dispose or recycle expired household products safely.
It is crucial to remember that your commode is not a substitute for your trash can. And as many water treatment plants won’t handle these items, fishing them down the toilet will possibly introduce parasites and germs in the city’s waterways. Protect the environment and your plumbing by incorporating good toilet flushing habits and throwing trash in its rightful place- the trash can!