Your toilet is not a garbage can, and you should never use it as such. While this sounds easy enough to remember, you would be surprised by how many people use their toilet to get rid of certain items. Of course, flushing certain things down the toilet is not always done on purpose.
This is especially true if you have small children, who sometimes make a game out of seeing whether their sibling’s favorite toy is flushable. Even if you do not have children, just flushing something down and forgetting about it might be tempting. However, according to professional plumbers, the only things that should go down the toilet are human waste and toilet paper.
If you wonder why Kleenex or baby wipes are not flushable, this is because they do not easily disintegrate in the water as toilet paper does. Even flushable wipes should never go down the toilet. Besides wipes and Kleenex, here are five more things you should never flush down the toilet.
If you ever go through your medicine cabinet, you might find unused or expired medication. In order to get rid of it, you may think flushing it down the toilet will not hurt anything. This could not be further from the truth.
When prescription drugs and other medications go down the toilet, they end up in our water supply. This is harmful to aquatic life and may even have negative health effects on small children.
With throwing away food, you should either put in the trash can, down the garbage disposal, or use it for compost. While dumping unwanted liquids and other kinds of food down the toilet may seem very convenient, you should always refrain from doing so.
Even though food breaks down and is biodegradable, some liquids solidify, and other foods, such as rice and pasta, expand. This can clog your pipes. While you should not flush any kind of food down the toilet, the following foods are the worst culprits:
- Grease and fatty foods
- Starchy foods
- Gum and other sticky foods
All of these foods can lead to problems with your plumbing.
Remember, only use your toilet for human waste. This means you need to avoid flushing both kitty litter and animal waste down the toilet. Many types of kitty litter are clay-based, which means the litter hardens when it gets wet.
Since you never want to flush anything that is hard down the toilet, you will need to find other ways to dispose of your kitty litter. While some kitty litters say they are flushable, this is not always the case, especially if you have a septic system.
Besides just the litter, however, you also should not flush cat feces down the toilet either. By the time you get around to cleaning the litter box, the cat feces has become very hard. Along with the hardness factor, the EPA considers pet waste a pollutant that is harmful to humans, wildlife, and vegetation.
Hair or Dental Floss
Most people comb or brush their hair when they are in the bathroom, which makes the toilet an easy way to get rid of the extra hair on the brush. However, you should never flush hair down the toilet. Even though the hair seems perfectly harmless, think about how easily your tub gets clogged with hair.
If your tub or shower gets clogged with hair, so can other parts of your plumbing. The reason hair is so bad is that it creates giant clumps, which is what causes blockages in the pipes and sewer systems. Along with hair, you should avoid flushing other stringy items down the toilet, such as dental floss.
Fish and Other Small Critters
If you ever have a fish, snake, or any other small critter die, you should never flush it down the toilet. Animals do not break down in the water, which means they can clog up the pipes, even if the animal is something really tiny, like a goldfish. Instead of flushing, give an animal that has died a proper burial, as it will naturally decompose in the dirt.
Also, you never want to flush any live fish or other critters down the toilet. This is not only inhumane but can be harmful to the environment. Some animals unknowingly carry diseases, and when they go down the toilet — dead or alive — the disease can transmit to other aquatic animals.
If you have flushed some of the above items down the toilet, and you now have problems with your plumbing, contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. We are family-owned and operated and have provided plumbing services to our area for over 40 years. We are happy to answer any of your questions and concerns about your plumbing as well.