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15 Items You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

A clogged toilet is one of the worst plumbing problems you have to deal with. It’s gross, extremely inconvenient, and disruptive to have to bring in a plumber to figure out what’s wrong. It’s better to do everything you can to prevent toilet issues by not flushing certain items.

While we all know things like your children’s toys shouldn’t be flushed, there may be some things you haven’t considered. And other things shouldn’t be flushed for the sake of preserving the water supply.

Here’s a list of fifteen items you should never flush.

1. Pills

It may seem like flushing old prescription medication is the safest way to dispose of them. However, they can be toxic to wildlife. They also can contaminate drinking water. Talk to your local pharmacy about what to do with your old medications.

2. Cigarette Butts

Cigarette filters aren’t biodegradable, and the cigarettes themselves are full of toxic chemicals that can get into the water supply.

3. Band-Aids

Most band-aids consist of plastic and therefore aren’t biodegradable. Even band-aids made of cloth can clog up the drains. Throw out used band-aids with the other trash.

4. Dental Floss

When flushed, dental floss gets tangled up with itself and other debris. This interaction easily creates clogs.

5. Kitty Litter

You may think that animal waste can flush just like human waste. However, cat litter itself consists of clay and sand which builds up fast in the pipes, causing blockage quickly.

6. Fats, Oils, and Grease

Grease, fats, and oils may be liquid when they’re hot off the oven, but they turn solid once they cool down. Not only does this create clogs, but it also starts to smell sooner or later. Instead, put any food waste in a plastic bag and throw it out with the normal trash.

7. Feminine Products

Feminine products feature designs which expand and absorb moisture. This expansion can block pipes on its own or prevent other items from flushing completely.

8. Wipes

Even wipes that are marketed as “flushable” have been found not to break down in the sewer. Wipes should just be thrown in the trash with everything else.

9. Paper Towels

Their design allows them to hold a lot of moisture, they don’t break down like toilet paper and can potentially clog your toilet.

10. Hair

If your family has thick hair, you’ve probably noticed hair gathering at the drain in the shower, blocking the water from draining. Hair is one of the number one cause of clogging, so don’t wash it down the sink or flush it down the toilet. It can tangle up and create a ball of hair in the piping, leaving you with toilet issues.

11. Cotton Balls and Swabs

Just like feminine products, cotton balls and swabs are designed to absorb liquids, and they gather up and create blockages.

12. Diapers

Even if you actually manage to flush a diaper, it’ll probably get stuck in the pipes. Diapers absorb and hold moisture, causing them to expand. Additionally, once exposed to water, the plastic used in some diapers can become a toxic contaminant.

13. Cosmetics

Many cosmetics, while not toxic when just put on your skin, are toxic when ingested. Moisturizers, makeup, and many other beauty care products will break down in the sewage systems and enter the water supply.

14. Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is essentially an adhesive. You’re not supposed to swallow chewing gum for the same reason you don’t want to flush it down the toilet.

15. Small Pets

When fish pass on, they’re usually flushed, but small rodents like hamsters and gerbils have been found in plumbing as well. These rodents’ bodies are sturdy and take a long time to break down, causing clogs. Instead, consider burying them in a shoe box with a few honorable words.

Remember, if you do accidentally flush something or your toilet gets clogged, call a plumber right away to address the problem. They can quickly find the best solution and get your toilet up and running again.

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