Let’s get one thing straight. Your toilet is not a black hole. What you choose to flush down does not dissipate out of the space-time continuum. What you flush goes directly through your pipes and eventually to another location, unless what you’re flushing doesn’t make it that far.
Depending on the age of your home’s pipes and plumbing system, you may or may not already have a potential risk of clogging or leaks. You need to mindful of what you flush down your drains. It’s to ensure the longevity of your home’s plumbing, for the benefit of the environment, and because a plumber isn’t an astronaut.
We’ve put together a short list of “risky” items which could likely hurt your plumbing over time. These are the things you should never allow in your plumbing system. Because unlike a black hole, you may see them again, and yes… we know it’s gross.
- Tissues/Paper Towels
Paper Towels and Tissues are meant to absorb various messes and sometimes emotions. Unfortunately, they do not dissolve as easily as toilet paper over time. Flushing these down your toilet on a regular basis can not only clog your toilet and cause a mess in your septic tank, but it could actually affect the water at your local treatment facility.
- Disposable Diapers
It’s not the baby droppings, it’s one of these diapers going down the drain that could actually get you into a situation only a professional can get you out of. Disposable Diapers are actually pretty common when clogs arise because people don’t realize how harmful they can be to your pipes. Toilets don’t get rid of them easily. Remember when Winnie the Pooh got stuck in that Treehole? You’re not going to get out of this with a jar of Honey.
- Tampons/Maxi Pads
It may seem convenient and quick. Yes, sometimes you’re at somebody else’s apartment and it’s embarrassing to throw hygiene products away in the wastebasket. However, Tampons and other feminine hygiene products actually have the ability to create deep clogs and can be very difficult to get out. You should try to avoid flushing these whenever you can.
Being safe is a good thing. That’s responsible. But putting latex and lubricants in your plumbing system is irresponsible. Latex and lubricants from condoms are actually bad for the interior of your pipes and if you flush them on a regular basis it could cause problems later on or possibly even cause immediate clogging.
- Kitty Litter
It might even say ‘flushable,’ but don’t. Cat litter reacts poorly to your sewer system and can actually end up staying in your pipes for a long time. Kitty litter does not dissolve easily. If your neighbor is watching your Cat while you are in the Bahamas because you won the Accurate Cruise Vacation Giveaway (enter here), make sure they don’t take the easy way out by flushing the litter. There are other methods of poop-scooping that don’t have to involve putting your plumbing system at risk.
Cotton Balls, Q-Tips, Swabs and anything else made of cotton should not be flushed. Cotton absorbs water as well as Sponge Bob Square Pants, and it doesn’t break down easily either. Cotton in your pipes could cause major problems over time. Don’t put Sponge Bob in your toilet either, he doesn’t deserve it.
- Dental Floss
It may be a small item but it can bundle up and wrap around other objects in your pipes, causing a bigger problem. The next thing you know it’s like a lobster net full of Cotton, Kitty Litter, and Disposable Diapers (we hope you’re not flushing one, let alone multiple items on this list).
If you are cleaning out your sink or tub and think, “hey this is easy,” think again. You are basically transporting a potential clog from one drain to another. Just throw your hair away in the trash and be glad you have hair.
This is for the benefit of the environment. Pills and other meds may not clog pipes but they definitely could infuse toxins into the sewer system. Sewers are not equipped to break down prescription drugs all the time so it’s always possible pharmaceuticals could find their way back into yours or somebody else’s water supply.
If Puffcorn the Hamster has seen his last days of chewing seeds on the exercise wheel or Moby Nick the Goldfish has come up for the last breath of air, pay their respects indeed. But don’t put them down the drain. They’re not going to be sent out to sea. They’ll be stuck in your pipes. Pets (as well as Cat feces) can actually contain parasites that can affect the health of sea animals too. There are plenty of better burial options.
What if you have a clog?
Obviously, if you clog your toilet it’s not the end of the world, but you should call a professional to assess the situation right away before the problem gets worse. Accurate plumbers won’t judge you for what’s stuck in your drain. We just want to help you solve the problem, so please give us call.