Never Flush These 10 Things Down Your Toilet
While toilet bowls are part of your everyday life, you probably don’t give too much thought to them. In fact, you might take them for granted. You do what you have to do, flush, and carry about your business. However, while it might not be the most desirable thing to think about, you really do have to pay attention to your toilet bowl – especially what you’re flushing down it.
The Anatomy of a Toilet Bowl
You probably don’t need a lesson on how to use the toilet; that’s something you learned when you were a toddler. But, you may not be aware of the anatomy of a toilet or may know how it works, but don’t really consider it on a daily basis.
While it might seem like, whenever a toilet is flushed, the water – and anything else that’s in it – push through a series of pipes and eventually ends up in a cesspool or septic tank. While plumbing pipes and cesspools and septic tanks are designed to handle organic waste material (i.e. – human waste), they aren’t capable of processing inorganic waste. That means when you flush items that can’t be broken down naturally, your pipes could get clogged or your septic tank or cesspool could overflow.
In other words, flushing the wrong items down the bowl could lead to a plumbing nightmare.
So, what items shouldn’t get flushed? Here’s a look at 10 things you should never put in your toilet bowl.
Those moist wipes might be more pleasant to use, but they should never be flushed down a toilet – even if they say they are flushable. They are super absorbent, much denser than toilet paper, and they aren’t biodegradable, which means those “disposable” wipes aren’t really disposable and can easily clog up pipes or cause a septic overflow.
Cotton is all-natural and biodegradable, so it’s not uncommon for people to think it’s safe to flush cotton balls and swabs down the toilet. However, while yes, they are biodegradable, it takes a while for them to break down and they collect water. If you keep flushing cotton balls and swabs down the toilet, they will clump together and get stuck in pipe bends, eventually causing a huge blockage that can devastate your plumbing.
Cigarettes aren’t only bad for your health; they’re bad for your plumbing. Like cotton balls, they can collect in pipe bends, resulting in a major blockage. And, if they do make it to the cesspool or septic tank, they won’t break down. Plus, cigarette butts are loaded with toxic chemicals, so flushing them down the toilet could do endanger the water supply for you – and everyone else around you!
Whether they’ve expired or you just don’t need them anymore, you might think you’re doing the safest thing by flushing your unused medications down the toilet because you’re preventing them from getting into the wrong hands. What you’re really doing is contaminating your water supplies, which can have devastating effects on people, animals, and plant life. Prescription medications can also kill good bacteria that break down natural waste in your cesspool or septic tank, so flushing them down the toilet can increase the risk of a sewage overflow.
Used bandages are full of blood and bacteria, so putting them down the toilet might seem like the most sanitary way to dispose of them. Band-Aids are actually made of plastic materials that aren’t biodegradable. They can clog up your plumbing pipes and wreak havoc on your sewage system. They can also put harmful bacteria into the groundwater supply.
While they may be labeled “disposable”, that doesn’t mean they are flushable. Diapers are comprised of toxic materials that expand when they make contact with water (that’s why diapers swell up on a baby when they’re wet). If you try to flush a diaper, it probably won’t make it down the toilet and will end up causing a backup. However, if it does make its way down, it will immediately get clogged in the pipes and cause serious problems.
It might seem like flushing waste from a kitty litter box down the toilet is pretty smart; after all, cat excrement is biodegradable, just like human waste. The problem with this is that you can’t get all the kitty litter off that excrement. Since it’s made of sand, clay, and other materials, kitty litter can do extensive damage to sewage systems and clog up pipes. Plus, cat excrement can be filled with parasites and other toxins that you definitely don’t want to put in the water supply.
Feminine Hygiene Products
Those products are a necessity, but they should never be put in a toilet. Though their labels might say they are safe to flush, they can cause serious blockages and backups. Feminine hygiene products are made of cotton and other materials that can get trapped in pipes. Plus, they don’t break down in septic systems, hence the reason why they are responsible for nasty sewage overflows.
Flossing might be good for your oral health, but it can be devastating to your plumbing. It isn’t biodegradable, so even though it seems small, if you keep flushing floss, it’s eventually going to tangle up and cause a nasty plaque-ridden clog.
Hair might be natural, but it shouldn’t be flushed down a toilet. Just like it can tangle on your head, tons of hair strands can get tangled up in your plumbing or your septic system, which can lead to a clog or a backup. Instead of tossing those strands of hair from your brush or comb down the toilet, put them in the trash.
Toilet bowls may be able to handle some pretty heavy loads (no pun intended), but they aren’t meant to be used as a trash can. To avoid serious (and awkward) plumbing problems, never flush these 10 items down the bowl. As a general rule of thumb: nothing other than human waste and toilet paper should be flushed.