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If you've been in pretty much any grocery store or general merchandise store lately, you’ve likely seen empty shelves where stacks of toilet paper used to be. Coronavirus-era hoarding has led some people to resort to using paper towels, napkins, facial tissues, and baby wipes as alternatives to toilet paper when they can’t find it in stock. However, all of these items can cause major plumbing issues when flushed, even when items say 'flushable' or 'biodegradable' on the packaging.
Wondering what can you flush down the toilet safely if you’re running low on toilet paper? Here’s some advice from the experts at Central Plumbing Specialties.

What You Can Put Down the Toilet

There is a quick and easy answer to the question of “what can you flush down the toilet?” because there are literally only three things that you should be flushing at any time. These things are urine, feces, and toilet paper. Local sewers and septic tanks are only equipped to handle these things and nothing more, so remember this even when your toilet paper supply starts running low.

The list of what you shouldn’t flush down the toilet is much longer, so read on to learn why these items are so harmful.

What You Shouldn’t Put Down the Toilet

Paper towels and facial tissues may look like toilet paper but they do not disintegrate in a sewer line like toilet paper does and can cause clogs. Baby wipes and cosmetic wipes should also not be put down toilets because they don’t dissolve in water and affect the sewage treatment process.

Feminine hygiene products, such as tampons and pads, should not be put down toilets because they can block pipes. Meanwhile, latex condoms are not biodegradable and cause sewer problems. Although they are small and seemingly harmless, avoid putting contact lenses down the toilet because they are made of microplastics that negatively impact the environment. Hair and dental floss can wrap around other non-flushable items and contribute to clogs.

Cotton balls and swabs are also causes of drain clogs and reasons why a plumber may have to come out to your home. Baby diapers will expand in the water and definitely clog a toilet if you try to flush them. Medications and cigarette butts contribute to dangerous toxins and environmental pollution, while cat litter is also a pollutant when dumped down a toilet and a risk to public health. Other items that people commonly put down toilets that have no business being there include chewing gum, paint, bandages, bleach, cooking oil, deceased pet fish, and food scraps.

For all of these items, it is best to simply place them in your bathroom trash can rather than flushing them in the toilet. For hygiene purposes or to eliminate odors or embarrassment, you can wrap non-flushable items in a plastic sanitary bag or piece of paper towel before placing them in the waste basket.

Toilet Supplies to DIY Fix Your Plumbing Issues

We hope that you’ve found this reminder of what you can flush down the toilet helpful and will practice good toilet flushing habits going forward. Not only will these tips help you reduce your chances of needing to call a plumber out to your home, but they will also help you reduce maintenance costs during this time of economic uncertainty and prolong the lifespan of your plumbing system.

If the damage has already been done and you need to make a DIY repair, Central Plumbing Specialties can still supply you with brand-new, high-quality toilets and plumbing supplies. Please contact our location nearest you to confirm store hours and learn more about how we are protecting the health and safety of our customers and employees.

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