The universe did us all a favor when it gave us toilets. It did us all another favor when it gave us garbage cans. The only problem was that the universe forgot to remind everyone that the two weren’t interchangeable. Simply put, there are really very few things a toilet was made to flush. If what you need to dispose of isn’t one of those things, you shouldn’t flush it.
While that general rule is good to follow, not all do-not-flush items are created equal. Some inappropriately-flushed items hurt your toilet in minor ways that only become problematic over time. Others hurt your toilets in more… severe, immediate ways. We’ve listed five examples of that second thing. Here are five things you should never, ever flush down your toilet.
Wipes that are labeled “flushable”
Hey, wait a minute! Yeah, we get it–this doesn’t make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, however, though flushable wipes may degrade faster than “non-flushable” wipes, they still don’t degrade fast enough. Whereas toilet paper breaks apart pretty much as soon as it gets wet, it takes time for flushable wipes to do the same. Before they break down, they’re just sitting in your toilet pipes, slowing everything up.
There are no federal guidelines preventing wipe companies from under-labeling their products. Technically, they could call just about anything “flushable”. When it comes to wipes, always err on the side of the garbage can–regardless of their alleged flushable status.
Unused or outdated medications
When water is flushed down your toilet, it doesn’t just disappear. It flows out into the sewer systems and in many cases, ends up as part of your local groundwater. Flushing unused or outdated medications down your toilet doesn’t mean they disappear, either.
Instead, they dissolve into water, where they can negatively affect water that goes to thousands of different homes. There are many alternative, safe disposal methods available, including pharmacies with recycling programs.
It’s easy to throw things like floss into the toilet, because it’s right there when you’re done flossing. We get it. We’re not here to judge you. We are here to tell you that floss causes a lot of trouble when it goes down the drain, however.
Floss often gets tangled up into masses that catch other debris. These masses build into clogs that will not dissolve or comes loose easily. Ick.
Not all waste is the same, and cat waste goes hand-in-hand with cat litter. Cat litter clumps up when it gets wet, and does not dissolve easily once that happens. Furthermore, litter can be abrasive and cause damage to the insides of pipes it’s flushed down.
Just because there’s waste involved doesn’t mean it should go down the toilet. Take a few extra minutes to toss it in an old shopping bag and put it in the garbage can. Your toilet will thank you.
Chemical drain cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners use caustic chemicals to eat away at clogs or other things that have built up in drains. Unfortunately, they don’t stop there.
The chemicals in cleaners continue to eat away at the pipes themselves, weakening them over time with regular use. Eventually, the chemicals can even wear pipes down enough to cause leaks and expensive damage.
Avoid flushing things down your toilet unless they belong there, and you can avoid the trouble of any potential future clogs. If you find yourself cursed with a clog anyhow, all you have to do is call the experts at Ben Franklin Plumbing in Dallas. We’ll send someone by to fix it fast and permanently. Happy flushing!