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What Not to Flush, Ever

Modern plumbing is something that many of us take for granted because after all, it doesn’t get much easier than pressing down a lever and never having to think about where the contents of your toilet go. However, this convenience shouldn’t make us complacent about what can go into a toilet and what is best left for the trash can.

Here’s an overview of what not to flush down the toilet and why it’s so important to keep these items out of the bowl.

What Not to Flush Down the Toilet

On the very top of the list of what not to flush down the toilet is feminine hygiene products, such as tampons, pads, and pantyliners. It may seem easier and more hygienic to toss them in the bowl after use, but these products are often made of cotton or rayon. These materials are great for absorbency but are a top cause of clogged toilets. Baby wipes, even ones that say they are flushable, should go into the trash instead of the toilet for the same reason. Diapers should never go into a toilet because they are far too bulky and expand in water so much that they will rarely even go down the toilet.

Meanwhile, paper towels are designed to soak up water not disintegrate in it like toilet paper, which means that they should never be flushed. Other bathroom essentials, such as cotton balls, cotton swabs, and dental floss, should also be reserved for the trash. These items are not typically biodegradable or are made with materials that clump together to clog up your pipes. To avoid groundwater contamination and the spread of toxins, keep cigarette butts and medications out of the toilet too.

Clogged toilets can also be caused by placing bandages, cooking grease, food, and condoms down them. Some people with pet cats will put kitty litter down the toilet, but when it mixes with water, it can become as thick as concrete and damage your plumbing system.

When in doubt, don’t flush it! Toilets are designed to only flush human waste and toilet paper.

The Effect of Flushing the Wrong Things on Your Plumbing System

Flushing the wrong things down your toilet can cause huge messes, result in costly repairs, and even affect other people too. Anything besides waste and toilet paper put down a toilet can cause plumbing backups in your home, overflowing toilets, damage pipes, and damage your sewer system.

Large items that go down the toilet may never leave your home and stay in your pipes until you call a plumber to clear it out and repair the damage. If you put toxic materials down your toilet, these can leech out into the city sewer system and into the environment where they can cause prolonged damage to the ecosystem and members of other households who share the sewer system.

What to Do If You’ve Flushed an Item You Shouldn’t Have

What about situations when items are mistakenly dropped in a toilet and flushed by accident? If you can see the item, put on long rubber gloves and try to retrieve it with your hand, a bent hanger, or drain snake. A wet vacuum can be used, as well as actually turning off the water supply and removing the toilet for something very valuable (like a lost wedding ring).

What Would Cause a Toilet Not to Flush?

One of the most common reasons why toilets don’t flush is because they are clogged due to something being put down them that shouldn’t be there. But this isn’t the only reason.

Toilets may not flush well if there isn’t enough water in the tank or if there is mineral build-up around the upper rim of the bowl. Something could be wrong with the flapper or lift chain, which is an issue that typically requires a part replacement.

Toilet and Plumbing Supplies for Repairs

It’s important to remember that a toilet is not a trash disposal, but accidents happen and you may find yourself in need of some new supplies to make a repair. Central Plumbing Specialties has all the plumbing supplies you’ll need to fix a toilet that has become clogged and won’t flush. We also carry many brands of top-of-the-line toilets in our Grande Central Showrooms if your current toilet is beyond repair or if you’re just ready for an upgrade.

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful about what to keep out of your toilet, and please contact us if you have any questions about the plumbing supplies and toilet products we offer.

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