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Some of the things that you shouldn’t be flushing down the toilet are a little more obvious than others. For example, we try teach our kids NOT to flush their Batman Lego figurines down the toilet, and when they ask why it’s because you know it will probably result in a drain blockage. There are, however, a few not-so-obvious objects that we shouldn’t just be teaching our kids not to flush down the toilet, but a lot of adults are guilty of tossing out these things too.
To make sure you’re doing your best to avoid a clogged toilet, as well as making sure you’re not causing more harm to the environment, here is a list of the top not-so-obvious items you shouldn’t flush down the toilet.
1. Baby Wipes
We know what you’re thinking, and yes, even though the package might say they can be flushed, it is still strongly recommended by plumbers to avoid throwing wipes down the toilet. Unfortunately, baby wipes don’t dissolve in water when they get flushed down, and instead, they can build up in your pipes until eventually it results in a drain blockage. The best thing to do would be to always make sure you keep a wastebasket nearby so it makes it easier for you to throw them away instead.
2. Q-Tips and Cotton Pads
Q-Tips and cotton balls might be one of the most commonly flushed items that shouldn’t be down your pipes, and there’s a very good reason why. Even though these items are extremely small in size, when they get flushed down the toilet, they don’t break down the same way that toilet paper does, and instead they end up clumping together in your pipes. These big clumps of cotton balls and Q-Tips will eventually lead to a blockage, and you will need to call a plumber to fix the problem.
3. Feminine Hygiene Products
Now this one might seem like the least obvious one of them all. Weren’t tampons designed to be flushed down the toilet? Well, the answer is actually not really. Feminine hygiene products were designed to absorb liquid and so, when they are flushed down the toilet, they absorb the water instead of being broken down by it. This means that they expand in size as they make their way down your drain pipes which will likely result in problems for your plumbing. The best idea is to always keep a sanitary bin in all bathrooms of your home so you’re never tempted to let one go down the drain instead.
Condoms should seem like a pretty obvious no-no. They are made of a latex material that isn’t going to disintegrate in the water, so flushing them will most likely cause major issues for your home plumbing system.
For the majority of us, we’d like to think diapers are a pretty clear no-no when it comes to objects you shouldn’t flush down your toilet. We’re not sure that they can even fit down your toilet, let alone make it all the way out of your pipes. Diapers are made of a material that absorbs liquids and so will expand when coming into contact with water. Please be sure to always dispose of your used diapers in a waste bin.
6. Dental Floss
The reason you shouldn’t toss your floss down the toilet is two-fold. First, dental floss can turn into a sticky web when it gets flushed and will end up catching onto a lot of other debris that can ultimately lead to a blockage in your pipes. The dental floss can also wrap itself around crucial parts of your home septic tank and burn out the motor. Second, the flushed floss can cause environmental damage as it is too small to go out the drains and into the sewage treatment system, and ends up alongside other unwanted trash in the ocean that causes harm to marine life.
You might think your expired pills should be flushed down the toilet because they will dissolve in the water. This, however, is not the best way to dispose of them since the toilet water doesn’t break them down entirely and instead, they end up polluting the water and cause marine life to be exposed to toxins which is harmful to the environment and eco-system.
8. Cigarette Butts
Speaking of toxins that are harmful to the environment, throwing cigarette butts down the toilet is a big no-no. Cigarette butts will add toxic chemicals to the water and will be extremely harmful to marine life and indirectly harmful to humans who consume any of the fish and seafood that are affected by this contaminated water. It is also extremely wasteful to flush anything except human waste and toilet paper down the toilet, as every time you flush you are using about 9 liters of water.
Just like dental floss, lots of hair going down the toilet forms a web which catches other debris in your pipes which can result in a clog. Rather put all that hair straight into your wastebasket.
The main issue with flushing food down the toilet is that it can cause clogs in your pipes, so you should never throw your food down the toilet. Rather put all leftover food directly into the trash, or garbage disposal.
If you’ve put any of these unwanted objects down your toilet, and think you might have a clog, give one of our plumbing experts a call today so they can inspect your drains and pull out the clog.