The pipes in our home are only built to handle human waste and toilet paper. Although we may think that our toilets can handle anything that will fit down the drain, it can cause major plumbing problems in the long run.
Items to avoid flushing down the toilet:
Even if the packaging claims that the wipes are flushable, all wipes are notorious for causing backups in-home and sewage pipes because they do not disintegrate in the way that toilet paper does.
Paper towels are not made to dissolve in water like toilet paper. Paper towels should be thrown in the trash, or better yet, swap your paper towels for a reusable washcloth.
You may think that dental floss cannot clog your drains since it is so thin and stringy, but floss can actually catch and hold onto debris and form debris-balls, which will clog your pipes. The floss could also wrap around parts of your septic system and potentially burn out the motor.
Like dental floss, hair can form a debris-ball, catching and holding onto anything in its way as it travels through the pipes. When cleaning out your shower drain or hairbrush, be sure to put hair in your waste bin.
These products are designed to absorb water and will actually expand when immersed in water. The last thing you want are items expanding in your pipes, making it difficult for the toilet paper and human waste to fit down the pipe. Especially because pipes connecting to your toilet are often only 3-4 inches wide.
Cotton balls may seem okay to flush down the toilet since they are light, fluffy, and some toilet paper is made from cotton linen, but they will actually clump together and cause blockages in the bends of pipes.
Kitty Litter and Waste
Although some kitty litter claims to be flushable, litter expands in water and can cause clogged pipes. Kitty waste gets dried up from sitting in the litter (since litter is absorbent) and can cause major problems if flushed. The rock hard waste can get lodged in pipes and cause major backups.
Keep a waste bin next to your toilet that is dedicated to these non-flushable items to save yourself time, money and potential water damage.
The “Flushability” Test
This is a great way to demonstrate to yourself and children why only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet:
Step 1: Fill 2 bowls with water
Step 2: Place some toilet paper in 1 bowl and any item listed above in the other bowl
Step 3: Swish both items in the water
Step 4: 1 hour later, swish both items again
You should find that the toilet paper disintegrates significantly while the other item (wipe, paper towel, cotton ball, etc.) will likely remain intact.
Putting these non-degradable items down the drain can cause blockage in your pipes, as well as potentially clog a sewage drain, which can cause damage to your home and surrounding homes and businesses.