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Flushing Toilet

Eight Things You Should Never Flush

You’ve seen the signs that read: ‘please don’t flush’.  Every day, in every household in Toledo, the toilet is used multiple times. However, it is often used as a trash disposal. The things that we’ve cleared from toilets ranges from children’s toys, to cell phones, credit cards, and simply crumpled pieces of paper.

As tempting as it may be to think that it’s just a black hole – toss in, flush and it’s gone – out of sight, out of mind, that’s simply not the case. Doing so risks damaging septic tanks and city water treatment centers, as well as causing toxic environmental pollution, not to mention the embarrassment when we discover that it was a plastic Army man causing all the damage. This is certainly not something you think about until the day when you experience a major back up or septic tank problem, and you need to call us in an emergency.

Here’s a list of eight things you should never flush:

Baby or other types of flushable wipes –Even when they’re advertised as “flushable,” most moist towelettes should never go down the toilet. The wipes don’t disintegrate in water, leading to clogs and backed-up sewer lines.

Q-Tips & Cotton Pads –Cotton balls, cotton pads, and Q-Tips are definitely not safe to flush — they don’t break down the way toilet paper (even cotton toilet paper) does. All they really do is clump together in your pipes and cause major problems.

Dental Floss –Not only can dental floss clog your pipes, it can also cause environmental damage. Floss basically turns into a net when flushed, catching and holding onto other debris — it can even wrap around parts of your septic system and burn out the motor. That is not a good scenario.

Medication –If you have old pills that you need to get rid of, don’t flush them — toilet water doesn’t break them down properly, meaning the medication gets into the water and can cause toxic environmental effects.

Cigarette Butts –Speaking of toxic chemicals, that’s exactly what flushing cigarettes down the drain adds to the water. Not to mention, it’s a huge waste of water when you can simply throw them out properly. And, cigarette butts can also cause clogs.

Kitty Litter –Some brands of kitty litter claim to be flushable, however, most toilets don’t use enough water to move the litter along properly in your pipes — and all it does is add more things to the water that make it harder to purify. Cat waste from the litter box should also not be flushed, because the litter dehydrates the waste and toilets are meant to flush water-soluble waste.

Fish –Not the kind you eat, the kind that is kept in a bowl on the buffet.  It seems pretty standard that people flush pet fish when they die, but this is actually not a good idea — they don’t break down in water, so flushing a fish or anything like it down the toilet can absolutely cause a clog. Stick to a proper burial instead.

Bleach –Perhaps the most surprising thing you shouldn’t flush is bleach. It might be a part of your regular toilet cleaning routine, but bleach is actually too harsh a chemical for your toilet and septic system. Using vinegar is a much more effective way to clean the stains in the toilet bowl.

However, these things do happen. It’s inevitable that items not made for flushing, might end up in your system. If you find yourself in a situation where your drains are clogged, or you have an issue with your septic system, give us a call. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

8 thoughts on “Eight Things You Should Never Flush”

  1. I have a friend that is thinking about getting a sewer contractor for her new home. She is looking for some tips to avoid any future issues. It might be helpful for her to know that she should never flush bleach since it can hurt the septic system.

  2. That’s good to know that flushable wipes would not be good for your pipes. I would think that would be much harder to decompose in your septic system as well as cause clogs in your pipes. I’ll have to make sure that I don’t flush any wipes down the toilet so that I could avoid any issues.

  3. Your article does a great job of getting straight to the point of what not to flush down the toilet. My family has started using those "flushable" wipes a lot more and we have noticed way more clogs than normal. I think we need to get our septic tank cleaned and checked out so that things don’t get any worse.

  4. I wish I had known that most moist towelettes end up causing problems in septic systems! Maybe it would be a good idea for me to get a professional to clean out my system. That way, I don’t have to worry about the wipes building up and causing lots of problems.

  5. I wish I had known that most moist towelettes end up causing problems in septic systems! Maybe it would be a good idea for me to get a professional to clean out my system. That way, I don’t have to worry about the wipes building up and causing lots of problems.

  6. It’s so good to know that even if the package says "flushable" on the package, most of the time they aren’t. My sister is having troubles with her septic system right now and she needs help getting it maintained properly. I think it’s a great idea to get it looked at by a professional that will know how to fix it so that she doesn’t have any future problems.

  7. I was surprised when you said that even towelette wipes labeled as flushable can cause clogs. My husband and I will be buying a new home next month and want to be proactive about caring for its septic system. Thanks for teaching me these tips so we can avoid common problems with our septic system!

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