The toilet is one of the most regularly used items in a home. While the majority of the contents flushed down a toilet are suitable, often toilets are used as a substitute garbage can. Flushing the wrong items is serious can create many problems for your plumbing. To help homeowners identify flushable from un-flushable, here is a list of common household items that should be flushed down the toilet:
- Cigarette Butts: Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals that can make it into the water supply when flushed. In addition, the filters are non-biodegradable. Since the filters do not breakdown, they can often clog plumbing lines.
- Toilet Bowl Cleaning Pads: Like cigarette filters, cleaning pads are not biodegradable. In addition, the pads contain chemicals that cannot be completely removed from the water supply during water treatment procedures. The remaining chemicals often make it into streams, rivers and ground water.
- Paint and Solvents: These items contain dangerous chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Some of the chemicals are difficult to remove during the treatment process and can therefore get into the water supply. In addition, these products also contain grease which can clog drains and damage plumbing.
- Diapers: The average pipe is only about four inches in diameter. If a diaper does manage to enter into a pipe, it will not continue much further. This will lead to a clogged toilet and a lot of frustration.
- Condoms: The majority of condoms are made from latex, which is a substance that does not easily dissolve in water. To prevent plumbing issues and to save yourself some hassle, be sure to throw condoms in the trash.
- Cat Litter: Since the majority of kitty-litter is made from clay, it forms cement when introduced to water. The cement can cause a buildup in pipes. Even water absorbing litter creates buildup. Cat litter also contains parasites that are toxic to marine life.
- Feminine Products: Most of these products are made from cotton, which does not break down easily in water. Cotton can get caught in the plumbing and cause serious blockage. In addition, by flushing feminine products, you are directly increasing the amount of work for a sewage plant worker as these items must be removed by hand.
- Medication: Medications do not cause clogs, but they can harm the environment. Medications are difficult to remove from the water. The medications that cannot be removed will make their way into ground water and landfills.
- Dental Floss: If your plumbing is not brand new, it undoubtedly has accumulation along the pipes. Dental floss can attach itself to the accumulation. Once this has occurred, the floss will catch anything that is flushed down the toilet and create clogs.
- Bugs: Although bugs do not damage plumbing, flushing a bug is a huge waste. The average toilet uses 3 gallons of water per flush—that’s a lot of water used to get rid of a bug. Save resources, throw dead bugs into the garbage.
Although informative, this list is not comprehensive—there are many more items that should not be flushed down a toilet. As a tip, be aware that only biodegradable items should be flushed. Flushing non-biodegradable items can damage plumbing and the environment.
Peter Wendt resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and two children. He enjoys writing on topics related to plumbing. He recommends you click here to learn more about this subject.