Toilet paper is specifically designed to work with your plumbing system, dissolving before any risk of clogs or backups. Other things-despite their appearance–are not, so here’s a list of 13 things you need to avoid flushing:
These wipes are billed as being flushable, but some municipalities have taken up a lawsuit claiming that they are anything but. They tend to stay around longer than toilet paper and could create a clog.
Toilet paper is designed to dissolve, paper towels aren’t and only end up getting caught in the pipes.
Tampons & Pads
These products are designed to absorb moisture and expand. That is just the sort of combination you don’t want in pipes and sewers. Wrap them up and throw them in the trash instead.
Like tampons, diapers are designed to absorb moisture and expand. In addition, they contain chemicals harmful to the water supply. Most wouldn’t make it past the u-bend in the toilet and would cause a nasty backup.
Flushing old or unwanted prescriptions down the toilet is something we’ve seen in the movies and is really the last thing you want to do. Prescription drugs contaminate groundwater downstream, so contact local authorities to find a way to dispose of them safely.
These seem small and harmless enough, but can cause all sorts of trouble once they make it into your pipes and the sewer system. Wrap them up and throw them away instead.
Cotton Balls and Swabs
Cotton seems like it would naturally get soggy and go quietly. Instead, they gather together in pipes and cause clogs.
It’s not biodegradable and like hair on a vacuum cleaner, it entangles itself around small things in the pipes, making for bigger problems in your plumbing system.
If you have a cat, you know this material soaks up moisture and clumps together. Put that together with the moisture in a toilet and sewer system and it’s a recipe for disaster.
If you’ve had to unclog your sink from hair being in the drain, you know it doesn’t dissolve. The same is true in the toilet. It can create a bad clog and cause a problem even worse than that minor sink clog that you dealt with.
These are filled with toxic chemicals that are bad for the water supply. Also, the filter on most cigarettes can cause a clog of its own.
Made from plastic that’s non-biodegradable, they stick around and if they’re in pipes, they’ll create a backup.
It might seem like a liquid, but when it cools, it turns into a solid. Best to put it into an old coffee can or some other container so it can be thrown away.