Things That You Should Never Flush Down Your Toilet

By Nick Hadji 11 months ago

Never flush wipes down your toilet, unless you want to be the one unclogging it...

Image source/ Kyle Plumbing
While items like baby wipes, wet wipes, make-up wipes, and bleach wipes may appear to be flushable, you'd be wrong. They don't break down in sewers and lead to expensive plumbing issues. The packet might say biodegradable but throwing them out is a much better option!Original content sourced from Femanin.com

And that goes for "flushable" wipes too!

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Believe it or not, you shouldn't believe everything you read on a packet of wipes. The last few years has seen endless brands releasing flushable toilet wipes, but honestly, these can cause a blockage just as bad as normal wipes. So unless you're willing to get your hands dirty... don't bother.

Medication is a big no-no

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Rather than causing a blockage, it's the treatment plants that suffer from medication. Sewage plants simply can't handle the compounds in medications, so pollutes the water supply. It can eventually lead to polluted rivers and oceans, harming fish and marine life.

Food takes longer to break down than you think, don't flush it

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The fact is that food waste doesn't break down in septic tanks. While food does spoil, it's important to remember that any food that ends up in the toilet can cause a huge clog until it decomposes. If you flush something that should go in a trash can, you'll be wasting water and may cause a very unpleasant backup.

Paper towels are not the same as toilet paper... so don't flush them

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Fair enough, a paper towel is very similar to bathroom tissue. Yet they don't act the same. When toilet paper comes into contact with water, it instantly disintegrates and dissolves while towels soak up more water than regular toilet paper. That's why you should just toss them in the trash.

Floss - although it seems small, it's a nuisance

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While it's thin in size and looks like it could easily make its way through your pipes, it doesn't. Unfortunately, dental floss isn't biodegradable. It can take on a net-like shape and catch other debris in your drain, accumulating into one monstrous blockage. Just toss it in the garbage.

Hairballs are nasty and don't belong in the toilet

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Never flush down the toilet hairballs you've retrieved from the shower or sink. You know how huge a hairball can get from your neglected hairbrush. Visualize the size of a hairball that has built up in your drain and consider the stress you'll spare yourself if you dispose of it properly.

Syringes should never be flushed down the toilet

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Needles and syringes are filthy and unsanitary and are considered bio-hazardous medical waste. Since pharmacies typically have access to medical waste disposal units, you should be leaving your used syringes there. Customers are encouraged to use the pharmacy's syringe take-back program to properly dispose of their unused needles.

Don't put your toxic cigarette ends in there too

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Toxic plastics from cigarette butts are one of the biggest polluters in the world. Over 4.5 billion cigarette ends are thrown away each year and if flushed can pose a harm to marine life. Not to mention that cigarette butts also have a tendency to float and are not always flushed away. Be responsible and throw away your cigarette butts after extinguishing them carefully.

If you don't know it already... sanitary towels don't belong in the lavatory...

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With their primary purpose being to absorb liquid, you might think that putting sanitary towels down the toilet is okay. Well, you're mistaken. They are capable of obstructing pipes and it might make you look foolish when the plumber figures out what's wrong.

...nor do tampons too!

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The same goes for tampons as well. We know that tampons swell in size with the liquid they absorb, and this isn't any different with your toilet water. They'll easily get stuck in your pipes and the result will be an expensive plumber to come and fix it.

Condoms (unless you want to be the one unclogging your toilet)

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It's obvious to some but you'd be surprised how many people flush condoms down the toilet. Please don't! They can't be broken down or dissolved and will easily cause a clog in the plumbing system. You'll either have the disgusting job of unblocking the toilet, or the embarrassing job of hiring someone else.

Cosmetics - they go on your face, not the toilet

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A lot of people don't realize that outdated cosmetics like moisturizer and other beauty care items might be harmful, and that goes for your toilet health too. They may wreak havoc on sewage treatment facilities and septic tanks, so please don't flush them down the toilet.

Goldfish, just bury it already

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It's sad to say goodbye to a beloved pet, so give them a better send off than the toilet! It's not just goldfish that sewer workers find in pipes, they've been known to find hamsters and guinea pigs too. So instead, wrap them in a bag or box and give them a decent burial in the backyard.

Diapers (do we even need to say it?!)

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Diapers, like tampons and sanitary towels, are made to soak up fluid. You could get a diaper to make it down the first pipe but there is a good probability, though, that it won't go very far. When it continues to grow, it will clog your pipe horribly.

Cotton buds, just pet them in the bin please

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It's easy to soak up moisture using cotton which means that cotton buds will not disintegrate in water and should not be flushed down the toilet. Instead, they'll just get caught in a monstrous mess in your pipes. Cotton buds should just be disposed of in your normal garbage bin please.

And even worse.. cotton balls!

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What's even worse than flushing cotton buds? Cotton balls, for sure. These bad boys soak up more moisture and can grow in size, so piling these into the pipes of your toilet is just going to cause you more work later on. All you need to do is toss them in the garbage can.

Please don't put your bloody band-aids in the toilet!

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Once a band-aid is flushed down the toilet, what do you believe happens to it? Nothing. It doesn't vanish into thin air it just causes unnecessary blockages if it enters your pipes and stays there. The problem is that many of them wind up in the sewers.

You might not think so, but cat litter can do harm to your toilet

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Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite found in cat feces, may infect animals and is highly toxic. The water supply can be contaminated since sewage treatment facilities are not equipped to handle it. Also, the bentonite clay used in cat litter hardens over time and causes a clog in the plumbing system.

Although tiny, contact lenses are a threat to wildlife

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Contact lenses may be small, but they offer the same dangers compared to other single-use plastics if they are not disposed of properly. Their breakdown creates even smaller particles that will have a toxic effect on marine life. Throwing them out in the garbage is the safest option.

Unsurprisingly, gum is also a big no-no

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It's a huge faux pas to flush gum down the toilet. In addition to being sticky, it is also insoluble and because of its stickiness, it causes major plumbing problems. There is a significant risk of clogging plumbing systems whenever gum is flushed down the toilet.

Fat or oil shouldn't be put into your drains unless you want a serious blockage!

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When fat and oil are flushed down the toilet, they cause huge problems for the plumbing, don't let their fluid appearance deceive you. They set quickly and embed themselves in the pipe walls. After a while, the obstruction makes it impossible for anything else to pass through.

Believe it or not... bleach

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You might not believe it, but you should never put bleach in the toilet. It's highly corrosive, therefore it should be kept far away from your plumbing, not to mention toxic fumes are produced when it combines with other pollutants in the sewer system.

Another hazardous waste that shouldn't be flushed is paint

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Pigments, solvents, extenders, binders, and additives all work together to form paint and make it a toxic substance. If there's one thing we've learned, you should not dispose of toxic substances in your toilet. Choose a reputable paint recycling center to dispose of any unused paint.

Weedkiller is a killer of your pipes

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According to direct-drainage, there are a number of garden chemicals that aren't meant to be flushed down your lavatory, and one of the big ones is weedkiller. Along with insecticides and fungicides, weedkiller has a specific purpose and when the chemicals are released into your toilet it does harm to the marine life.

Anti-freeze, your toilet doesn't need it!

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Now we're on the topic of chemicals being flushed down your toilet, we ought to look at chemicals like anti-freeze and motor oil. While it might sound obvious, some people don't understand the danger of flushing the hazardous and harsh substances into your toilet.

Vapes should never be flushed

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Listen, it might sound stupid, but some people genuinely think that because they "can" flush cigarette butts down the toilet, they can put their vapes in their too. Wrong! That's a big no-no. Obviously vapes are too big and heavy for any toilet, and might get stuck somewhere along the pipe.

And the same goes for batteries too!

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No matter the size of the battery, they are all dense. This means that instead of being flushed away with the water, they might stay in your pipes longer than you think, adding to the extreme blockage you might eventually get. This will prove costly as you'll have to get someone out to fix it.

Contact lens cleaning solution... no no no!

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If you're looking for somewhere to put your used contact-lens solution, don't look to the toilet. Toilets are for water and excrement only, and putting anything other than this down can lead to pollution, a change in the marine life or unwanted blockages!

White spirits are detrimental too

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White spirit is a harmful substance that can easily corrode your plumbing pipes if too much of it enters your at-home plumbing system. It might sound like an easy way to get rid of it now, but trust me, you'll regret it later when it comes to fixing it!

Soap

image source: reddit.com
This one might be surprising because how much soap do you rinse down the sink into your drains on a daily basis, when you wash your hands or take a shower? But any soap that's going to do down your toilet drain instead is a big problem. You shouldn't be using soap in your toilet in a frugal way to save on toilet cleaner, because it can affect the way your toilet functions!

Shampoo and/or conditioner

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This also goes for shampoo and conditioner, too! We don't know why these would end up doing your toilet, but maybe you accidentally pour some down thinking it's toilet cleaner, or knock the open bottle either. Either way, it's going to end up causing a problem for your toilet drain because the ingredients in those products, like oils and cocoa butter, are very likely to clog your pipes!

Talcum powder

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If you happen to use talcum powder in your bathroom close to an open toilet, be sure not to accidentally get any down there! Or, worse, knock the whole bottle over into your toilet bowl! This is because talcum powder can very easily clog together when it becomes wet so it ends up causing a huge mound of powder that'll block your pipes. It can also leave a residue on the inside of pipes that can lead to future clogs!

Makeup wipes

image source: reddit.com
More and more people are looking for more eco-friendly ways to remove their makeup these days, but it's not just about the environment when we're talking about these pesky heavy wipes. Some wipes are made to completely dissolve in water, but any sort of wipe, including makeup, is a big problem for your toilet. Makeup wipes aren't going to be built to dissolve easily.

Any beauty products that are oil-based

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Did you forget about that beauty product you bought a while back that still has half a bottle yet, but is now out of date? Pouring expired makeup and beauty products down the toilet might seem the logical thing to do to wash out the bottle and get rid, but any oil-based products are going to cause an issue because they can solidify, leading to toilet blockages!

Any small object!

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We're looking at you, parents with kids who try to flush Action Man down the toilet! We understand why it's easy for certain small objects to drop in there from time to time, like the cap from your toothpaste you just knocked over, or that one hair clip you dropped. You might think 'oh I'll just flush it, it'll be fine this once' but anything like that has a risk of becoming trapped in the pipe.

The weirdest things ever flushed down a toilet: a goldfish that grew GIGANTIC

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We advised against trying to flush your deceased goldfish down the toilet, but what happens when it's actually not dead and ends up surviving the drain journey? It's actually been found that goldfish disposed of incorrectly down the drain that are still alive can actually transform and grow to a whopping 14 inches. So if you're flushing thinking you're setting them free like it might lead to the ocean, they're going to go through a pretty bad ordeal.

Fake poker chips worth millions

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When it comes to gambling in Vegas, there are many people who have tried their luck when trying to win money, like card counting, cheating or - in this case - arriving with a ton of fake poker chips to try and make some real cash. One guy had around 2.7 million dollars worth of fake poker chips, and after winning some money, he panicked and tried to flush the fake ones down the drain. Needless to say, they clogged and the police found out.

A LOT of Lego bricks

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You know how we talked about kids trying to flush their toys down the toilet? Yeah. But we're not just talking one or two Lego bricks, here. Try 2.5 million Lego bricks!! That's the estimate for the amount of Lego bricks that kids have taken to trying to flush down the toilet. It's usually part of a normal day for a professional to find all manner of kids toys causing a huge blockage.

Diamond wedding ring

image source: reddit.com
One thing you don't want to lose is your very expensive diamond and gold wedding ring, but the problem with trying to give your toilet a good scrub whilst wearing it is that accidents can easily happen... In one woman's case, her ring slipped off her finger and down the toilet. Surprisingly, nine years later when she'd already got a replacement, the ring turned up when found by a plumber!

Hair pin belonging to a royal

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At a royal residence in Paris, custodians were just going their jobs maintaining the place when they happened upon a hair pin down one of the communal toilets. It wasn't just any hairpin, either - it belonged to Queen Catherine de Medici, and considered more an expensive piece of jewelry than anything else. Did she drop it herself down the toilet? We'll never know!

A live bomb from World War II

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We've all made jokes about 'explosive' trips to the toilet after a bad take out, but we never actually think a live bomb from a real war could be found down there. Someone in the UK actually did find a bomb down the toilet and called the police, who then had to secure the area and evacuate everyone so that the bomb could be removed safely. Thank goodness for the person needing to go to the loo!

An expensive Rolex watch

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We've just given you fair warning about cleaning the toilet whilst wearing expensive jewelry, but it's your watch you have to watch out for, too. A woman's Rolex, worth $8,500, accidentally fell into down the toilet right at the moment she was flushing it. Sadly, plumbers couldn't find it... until 18 months later when it was found a mile away. Even better, it managed to get polished up, good as new!

A wad of cash

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At least the poker chips made sense because they were fake, but why would you try and flush a load of cash? One janitor in Australia found a huge amount of money wedged into the toilet bowl, and after the honest man notified the police, he was given $76,000 of the total $93,000 as a reward for letting them know! It pays to be honest people, remember that next time you find something down the toilet.

A puppy

image source: reddit.com
Okay, just to firstly say the puppy is fine, so there's that. But yes, someone accidentally flushed a puppy down the toilet! A kid decided to give a muddy dog a bath in the toilet bowl (it made sense in their mind) and accidentally flushed the small dog down. Luckily, a plumber quickly found it in the drain pipe and was able to rescue the poor thing!

An opossum

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It's not just puppies or goldfish being flushed, either. Plumbers have reported finding a variety of animals that have been flushed down the drain, most randomly opossums! The funny thing about opossums is they're known for playing dead in order to defend themselves, so it could be that someone actually though they were dead and tried to flush the animal away.

Human beings

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It just gets weirder! Not only have there been cases of people trying to flush live babies down the toilet - either willingly, or because they didn't know they were going to give birth - leading to huge rescue efforts, but there have also been cases of full grown adults hiding in septic tanks. In other cases, people have been stuck inside portable toilets for whatever weird reason they come up with!

Dentures

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The last thing you want to try and use again after it's been saved from a toilet... But yes, in some cases, dentures have also been found flushed down the toilet. Then again, dentures can get very expensive, so many a good clean afterwards is something you're comfortable with to wear them again! There have been more than one case of dentures going missing both in residential toilets and even airport toilets!

Tiny liquor bottles

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Those small travel-sized bottles of booze you get when traveling are handy when you're on the go and just want a quick drink, but their tiny size doesn't mean that it's okay to try and flush down the toilet! But yep, there have been cases were those tiny liquor bottles have been tried to be flushed down the drain, too. Maybe someone trying to hide their drinking habits? We'll never know.

Take care of your toilet!

image source: reddit.com
In summary: we take our toilets for granted, of that there is no doubt! Respect yours by only flushing what you should be flushing down it, and definitely make sure to take off any expensive jewelry or watches before attempting to scrub it! Also be sure to be wary of anything like wipes that says 'flushable' because the chances are high - as seen here - that they're really not...