Your kids may think it is great fun to send an army of toy soldiers down the toilet for a diving expedition, but most of us know that there are just certain things that aren’t meant to be flushed. There are some items, however, that you may think are okay to flush just because there’s never been a problem, but this doesn’t mean it’s a good or safe thing to do.
Since families are currently staying home and social distancing, our bathrooms are getting more of a workout than they ever have before.
To ensure that your toilet and plumbing system remain clog-free, here are 6 things you should never flush down the toilet if you want to avoid having to make a call to your friendly neighborhood plumber.
Disposable Wet Wipes
Yes, the packaging clearly says flushable right on the front of it, but that doesn’t really mean that flushing them down the toilet is actually a good thing to do. The problem is that while toilet wipes and baby wipes do eventually break down (which is what flushable items are supposed to do) – they usually don’t break down quickly enough to prevent a clog from forming when other items are in the sewer lines and the conditions are just right.
Instead, a lot of the time they get flushed and then meet up with some of the other items that are currently still in the sewer lines. Since the wipes are still intact, they get stuck there and a clog begins to form. Wet wipes are also notorious for getting themselves snagged on the side of pipes (especially old cast iron pipes) and may even be responsible for starting the clog in the first place.
We really weren’t seeing all that many paper towels causing drain clogs until we encountered the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. If you run out of toilet paper, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, but if you’re using paper towels, please don’t flush them down your toilet. Paper towels are meant to absorb liquids, so they don’t break down easily and when you flush them it’s easy for them to become trapped along the plumbing lines.
Kitty litter is another one of those things that manufacturers claim is flushable and technically it is, but there are a couple of problems with this that the companies don’t usually mention. First of all, a lot of toilets don’t use enough water to actually move the kitty litter along the entire pipeline when it travels from the toilet to the sewer line. This means it’s actually just scattering itself out along the way and building up inside your house’s pipes.
The second thing is that the cat waste itself also doesn’t need to be flushed. This is because the kitty litter actually dehydrates the waste, making it easier to scoop. Toilets are actually meant to flush only water-soluble waste, so even though it’s is something you would think you should be able to flush, it’s actually not. If you can teach your cat to sit on the toilet, use it, and then flush it (which really is a thing that some people do), we are perfectly fine with that though, even if we do think potty training a cat to use the toilet for a litter box is a little strange.
We may be a little guilty of flushing a piece or two of chewing gum down our own toilets every once in a while, but it really isn’t a good thing to do and you shouldn’t make a habit of doing it. For one thing, chewing gum doesn’t break down when it is put in water. It’s also quite sticky and can adhere to the walls of your plumbing. Flush a few pieces of gum and some of the wet wipes we discussed earlier down your toilet, and you can end up with a big clog and a real mess, really quick.
This one should go without saying, but it’s actually one of the main things we find whenever we have to troubleshoot a clogged sewer line. You should never flush tampons or pads down a toilet, nor should you flush tampon applicators even if they are made of cardboard. This is one of the fastest ways to clog a toilet and it often doesn’t take but one time of disposing of these products in this way to do it.
This is another one we shouldn’t have to mention, but it does still happen. Flushing a diaper down a toilet will cause it to clog in no time. The biggest problem with flushing diapers is that they expand a lot when they absorb water and then they become too big to go through the sewer line and they almost always get stuck.
Dental floss looks so innocent, we’re sure you wonder how it could possibly cause a plumbing problem. It’s not so much the dental floss itself, it just that since it is made of Teflon or nylon it doesn’t break down, so if it’s hanging out somewhere along the sewer line, it becomes entangled with things like wet wipes, hair, and other items, which help to create big balls that become clogs.
Are You Looking for a Metro Atlanta Plumbing Company?
Remember, just because someone says something, doesn’t mean that it’s true. This applies not only to life in general, but also to all those “flushable” products that you see when you go grocery shopping.
If your toilet is not flushing like it should or you’re experiencing frequent clogs, there is a problem there that needs to be fixed and Trinity Plumbing is ready to help.
We’re available 24/7 and we not only provide free estimates, we’ll give you $25 off your first invoice as a new customer. Give us a call today at (770) 480-7687 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.