What Not to Flush Down the Toilet

There’s never a good time for a clogged pipe, especially when it could have been avoided. While you may not think about the toilet very frequently — unless you’re cleaning it or it’s not working — the fact is that all too often, it’s used as a garbage receptacle for items that should never be flushed. Here’s a closer look at some items that should not be put in the toilet, and why.  


Common Items That Get Flushed 

The toilet is not a trash can, yet many people treat it that way. Often-flushed items include:   

  • Tissues and paper towels. Yes, they’re paper products, but they are not designed to break down the way toilet paper is.  
  • Disposable wipes. Some wipes claim to be flushable, but they don’t disintegrate in water. These should be thrown away instead.  
  • Menstrual products. Tampons, pads and panty liners are made to absorb liquid and expand, which is bad news for plumbing. Dispose of them in the garbage.  
  • Medications. It may be tempting to discard medicine in the toilet, but water won’t break it down properly. If drugs get in the water system, they can cause toxic environmental effects. Check with your city to learn how to dispose of medications.  
  • Diapers. Like menstrual products, diapers are designed to absorb liquid and should be disposed of in a diaper pail.  
  • Dental floss. It’s easy to just drop dental floss in the toilet, but floss can block pipes by catching other debris. It may also harm the environment if flushed.  
  • Condoms. Condoms are not meant to be flushed and can easily clog toilets.  
  • Cigarette butts. These contain toxic chemicals, and they can also cause toilet blockages. 
  • Cat litter. Even so-called flushable litter can create problems for pipes.  

How to Unclog a Toilet  

Uh-oh. Your toilet is clogged? Grab the plunger and follow these steps:  

  • Turn off the water before you start plunging to prevent overflow.  
  • Place the plunger over the drain, making sure water is covering it. Plunge gently at first to release air from the plunger; then plunge harder several times to force water in both directions.  
  • Keep plunging if the toilet remains clogged. 10 to 15 times will loosen most blockages. 
  • If the toilet is still blocked, it’s time to call expert help.   

Invest in a Plumbing Protection Plan 

The bottom line? Use the toilet for human waste and toilet paper, and don’t flush anything else. By doing so, you’ll take care of the pipes and sewer system and lower the risk of repairs and maintenance costs. You’ll also avoid harming the environment. Better still, consider a plumbing protection plan from Pivotal Home Solutions to give you access to an experienced professional in the event of an unexpected problem. We offer plumbing protection, as well as outside sewer and water service line protection to provide peace of mind. Contact us to learn about and enroll in a plan today.