Most people need the services of a plumber from time-to-time, but you can do yourself a big, big favour by treating your drainage system with respect. Avoiding costly plumber call-outs and repairs can be as simple as not putting the wrong things in your toilet.
Keep this list of 11 things to never flush down a toilet handy. Following these recommendations will save you hundreds of dollars (or more) and can even reduce health risks.
- Bathroom Wipes: moist towelettes, or (as I like to call them) “adult baby wipes”, are increasingly found in today’s bathrooms. Though they are marketed as something that can be flushed down the toilet paper, they do, in fact, create clogs and backups in sewer systems.
- Paper Towels: Paper towels are NOT designed to break down in water like toilet paper. Flushing them can cause BIG problems. With the predicament our planet is in, we would like to recommend that you consider re-useable rags and napkins instead of paper towels. However, if you do use paper towels, look for ones made of 100% recycled material and make sure they never go in the toilet.
- Cotton Balls & Swabs: These harmless-seeming little household tools should easily flush down a toilet…right? Wrong! By putting these in your toilet you are guaranteed to eventually to have a massive blockage as the cotton balls and swabs collect in the corners of your pipes.
- Band-Aids: All bandages are made from non-biodegradable plastics and fibers, which is not only terrible for the environment but can also cause terrible clogs in your sewage system.
- Condoms: Though small and very flexible, condoms are made of latex (rubber) and do not dissolve. They are notorious for clogging drain systems, septic systems and even sewage treatment plants.
- Dental Floss: Despite feeling like fine string that might easily flow through a drain, dental floss – when flushed – tends to wrap itself around other objects in the pipeline, making tiny clogs instantly bigger. And, once again, we are talking about something that is not biodegradable and should never be flushed down a toilet.
- Disposable Diapers: just because there’s poop in it doesn’t mean it belongs in the toilet. Diapers are made from toxic plastics designed to expand when coming into contact with water. In the slim chance you actually get it down the drain, it will instantly be caught in the u-bend, and cause a terrible and stinky back up.
- Cat Litter: Do you know why your cat’s litter clumps, making it so convenient for you? That is because most cat litter is made from clay, which absorbs moisture and forms a sticky, clumping mass that you absolutely don’t want in your home’s drain system. Yes, there are cat litters with little or no clay in them, but there is no cat litter on the market that can safely be put in a toilet. Not to mention that cat waste contains toxins and parasites that shouldn’t be in our water system.
- Fats, Oil, and Grease: Your mom may have taught you to pour used cooking oils into the toilet, but we now know just how much trouble this causes. Though it seems like a liquid when it’s hot, as soon as this grease hits the drain it cools and congeals, becoming a dense, pipe-clogging wax. Scrape it into the trash or, if it’s clean bacon fat, save it in a jar for re-use. You can also check with your municipality to see if there is a local waste fat receptacle that will put your used cooking oils to use in environmentally friendly ways.
- Prescription Medication: Many people believe flushing unneeded medications down the toilet is the safest way to dispose of them, but it’s actually very dangerous. These drugs destroy bacteria (including good bacteria), contaminate groundwater supplies and can have terrible effects on wildlife downstream. In some areas, the concentration of prescription drugs in lake and sea water is so high that it finds its way back into our food chain.
- Cigarette Butts: They look and smell disgusting when floating in the toilet water, but the real issue is that they’re full of incredibly toxic chemicals that just end up in the water supply, harming wildlife and ultimately polluting our foods. And think about this: do you really want to waste several liters of precious water just to flush a stogie down the toilet?
If for some reason you do have a clogged toilet and you can’t get it to flush. We can send someone out to snake the drain and remove the blockage. Call us if that’s the situation.