Nearly everyone knows they shouldn’t flush disposable diapers, baby wipes and feminine hygiene products down the toilet. But you might be surprised by some items you assumed were safe, but aren’t. Check this list of no-no’s for the toilet to see how well you fair on your knowledge of what you can safely flush down the toilet.
Many people assume that old food from the fridge is safe to dispose of in the toilet. It is, after all, biodegradable and as long as it is mushy and not large enough to cause a clog it should be safe. The truth is, food can clump together in the drain or in the septic tank and cause stubborn clogs. It can also solidify when exposed to cold temperatures. What look like a soupy mix when you pour it into the toilet may suddenly gel into a solid mass as soon as it leaves your sight. No food is safe to dispose of in the toilet.
2. Facial Tissues
If you are in the habit of tossing your facial tissues in the toilet, you may be surprised to learn that it is a no-no. Facial tissues and toilet tissue are not the same thing. Facial tissues are stronger and do not disintegrate in water the way toilet tissue does. Throw facial tissues in the trash and spare yourself problems with the sewer in the future.
3. Paper Towels
Paper towels often rip apart when wet, leading many to assume they can be safely disposed of by flushing them down the toilet. This simply isn’t true. Even inexpensive paper towels are much stronger that toilet tissue and will not dissolve in water. Save yourself from the hassles of a clogged sewer system in the future and dispose of paper towels in the trash.
4. Kitty Litter
If you are in the habit of tossing the clumps from your kitty’s litter box down the toilet, it’s time to stop. While your kitty’s pooh maybe safe in the toilet, that’s not all that lump is made off. Kitty litter is designed to clump when it comes in contact with moisture. Even small amounts of cat litter in the toilet can spell disaster in your pipes.
When you clean your comb or brush, you may be in the habit of tossing the hair in the toilet with the belief that it will break down in the sewer. This often is not the case. Hair tends to trap other residue and form a bigger clump in your pipes or in your sewer.
6. Dental Floss
It’s easy to assume that a little piece of dental floss is harmless to your toilet, but this isn’t true. Dental floss is typically made of synthetic material that will not break down in the sewer. It can wrap around residue in the sewer line and create a clog that is difficult to remove.
You probably never thought about the consequences of disposing of your chewing gum in the toilet. But, like any sticky adhesive, it is likely to attract other residue and debris lurking in your sewer line. It may stick to the inside of the sewer pipe and continue to collect debris over time and create a clog. This will require high-power sewer cleaning from professionals.
Emptying your old prescription medication in the toilet may not cause issues with your sewer, but it does pose a health risk to animals and people, as the chemicals often seep into the groundwater. While this practice was once considered an effective way to get rid of old medication, it is no longer advised. Many pharmacies offer to take back unused or expired medications so they can dispose of them properly. If you have medications you need to get rid of, call your local pharmacy.