If you’re like most people, you’ve probably flushed an item or two down the toilet that wasn’t meant to be flushed. From cotton balls and paper towels to facial tissue, cat litter, household cleaners, and expired prescription medications, we have to remember that if it’s not toilet paper or human waste – it shouldn’t be flushed and can cause a clog and blockages somewhere down the line in your sewer system! Some items can even damage your septic tank or waste water system, beyond just simple backups or clogged toilets
As professional Kansas City plumbers, we can tell you that even the smallest items such as a Q-tip, or dental floss, or a paper towel can cause trouble. How come?
If they don’t dissolve – which most substances don’t – a scrap of undissolved material can get caught on a nick, bend, or bump inside the pipe, triggering a growth of buildup that can cause a costly sewer buildup in your home or even your neighborhood.
Don’t Flush These Items!
Even if it’s a small item and the packaging says that it’s “flushable,” it can still cause a messy and expensive plumbing problem for you and your local sewage treatment facility. Here are examples of things NOT to flush down the toilet:
- Baby wipes
- Chewing gum
- Wrappers of any sort
- Cotton balls and Q-tips
- Facial tissue
- Paper towels
- Contact lenses
- Cooking grease
- Cotton swabs
- Cat litter/kitty litter
- Cigarette butts
- Feminine hygiene products (tampons, pads, flushable wipes, etc)
- Flushable bathroom wipes (wet wipes)
- Medications, pharmaceuticals and supplements
No Household Cleaners Either
It may be very tempting to take that bucket of dirty water and ammonia or bleach you used for mopping and flush it down the toilet, but not so fast. Discarded solvents and household cleaners that are used around the home should not be flushed down the toilet or poured down your kitchen sink or bathtub drain, as they can cause damage or even upset the balance of bacteria in your septic system. There are worse things that can happen from flushing the wrong items that cause clogs and can cause problems.
Instead, you should bring them to your local hazardous waste disposal site. These treatment plants can handle the chemicals and dispose of them with environmental protection in mind. Dissolved chemicals found in cleaning products break down in the water, and they can travel through the sewers and pollute the harbor and marine environment, depending upon where you live, and cause environmental damage or potentially be harmful to surrounding homeowners.
You also shouldn’t flush medications, vitamins, or supplements down the drain. If you’re afraid that your child or toddler might find your disposed medications in the trash, we recommend wrapping them and throwing them in the trash can that is in your garage or outside of your home, or you can bring them to your local drug take-back site.