The toilet is a temptress. She promises to take whatever you flush far away, never to be seen again. Unfortunately, though, there’s a lot of things that have no business going down your toilet. In this blog post, we’ll go over a few things that are bound to cause problems if they end up in your toilet and hopefully save you the dread of flushing your toilet and watching the water fill up in the bowl rather than drain.
Baby wipes or wet wipes
We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve pulled “flushable” wipes out of the plumbing in someones home. The fact is that even wipes that are labeled flushable will often cause problems in your sewer or septic system. It’s to keep a trash can near the toilet for wipes like these rather than flushing them.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a diaper to flush down the drain in the first place, but if it does, there’s no way that it will travel through your drains without causing problems. Diapers belong in a diaper pail and then in the trash, not your toilet. Keep these as far away from your plumbing as possible.
Femining hygiene products
Tampons and pads are absorbent which means that if they end up in your pipes they will swell and cause major blockages. Keep a trash can near the toilet for these instead and avoid having to snake your drains to pull these back out.
Bleach won’t clog your pipes, but it is far too harsh on your plumbing system. If you’re having trouble getting stains out of your toilet, try using vinegar instead. Vinegar won’t damage your pipes or septic system like bleach will and still does a good job of getting out stains.
What could a little piece of gum hurt right? Wrong! Gum will never dissolve in water and since it’s already sticky it can easily get caught in pipes and stay there forever likely causing future blockages. Keep gum out of your pipes at all costs.
Cotton balls, Q-tips, or any other absorbent bathroom products
Like feminine hygiene products, cotton products like these will absorb water and swell in your pipes. Cotton products also don’t break down like toilet paper does and they easily get caught on things inside your pipes. Keep cotton in the trash and out of your toilet.
When hair ends up in your pipes it creates a net, catching waste and causing blockages. Hair also never dissolves in water so if it’s caught in your pipes it’s going to be there until it is manually removed. Always throw hair away rather than flushing it down the toilet. Screens in your sink are shower drains are also a good preventative measure to hair causing blockages.
Cooking grease might look like like a liquid that will slide right through your pipes when it’s hot, but once it cools it will congeal in your pipes and cause serious blockages. Collect cooking grease in jars and throw them away or to keep the grease from ending up in your pipes.
Toy cars and plastic dinosaurs are fun, but not when they’re lodged in your plumbing pipes. If you’re old enough to be reading this, then you probably aren’t the one flushing toys, but do what you can to keep them out of the toilet so your pipes will keep running smoothly.
Old medication probably won’t clog your pipes, but as they dissolve in water the chemicals can end up in groundwater sources harming wildlife and humans who rely on those water sources. Look for medicine take backs in your area for safe places to get rid of old medicine.
Paper towels and toilet paper are both made from paper so they must both be safe to flush right? Unfortunately not. Paper towels aren’t designed to break apart like toilet paper is and will easily get stuck in bends in your pipes causing blockages. Keep with throwing paper towels in the trash.
Even though dental floss is thin, it’s a lot like hair in that it can create a sort of net in your pipe that will easily create blockages. Like all our other culprits on this list make sure it ends up in the trash, not your toilet.
You can always try removing these types of things with a plumbing snake, but if you find yourself in over your head don’t despair! Our professional plumbers are happy to help. Give us a call at (800) 286-5959 and we’ll get our hands dirty so you don’t have to.