Though it may seem that a toilet is as good a receptacle as any for disposing of household waste, the truth may surprise you. Many common household waste products can cause problems if flushed down the sewer pipes, inviting trouble both in the short term and the long term.
Check out what not to flush down your toilet.
Though it’s perfectly acceptable to dump what’s inside the diaper down the toilet, letting the diaper follow in its wake is a very bad idea. Diapers are designed to absorb liquid waste. They swell in the process. So even if a diaper happens to flush easily, it’ll soon expand somewhere further down the pipeline and likely get caught in a U-bend. That means a nasty clog and perhaps even a call to the plumber.
The same rule applies to feminine hygiene products which, though smaller, also swell in the presence of water.
Baby wipes and adult “wet wipes” are also flushing no-nos. These items are built for strength so they don’t easily break apart in the whirl and swirl of the flushing process, nor does soaking cause the fibers to weaken. Multiple flushes can cause clogs both in your own home pipes as well as farther down the sewer system.
Grease And Oils
Because grease and oil are liquids, you may think it’s perfectly acceptable to flush them down the toilet rather then pour them in the garbage and risk a trash bag leak. But grease and oils are not water-soluble, and so they’ll likely cling and congeal on the inside surface of your pipes. That sticky mess can accumulate other solid materials. Over time, that can cause a clog.
Dental Floss, Cotton Balls, Hair
Tough, fibrous materials like floss, cotton balls, Q-tips, and hair don’t biodegrade easily. They can also get caught up in grease or in other growing clogs, making a bird’s nest of a mess.
Though some brands claim that their kitty litter is flushable, it’s not advisable to flush so much solid material down the toilet. This is especially true for low-flow toilets that save water by reducing the amount used per flush. Even multiple flushes may not be enough to push the full volume of a tray of old kitty litter into the sewer system, and it adds to the sludge that the municipal water system has to remove during treatment.
When it comes to what you flush, a little restraint can go a long way not just to prevent clogs, but also to help the environment.