Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

Municipal wastewater systems have been dealing with a big increase in “substitutions” since the COVID-19-related toilet paper shortages began. Now is a good time to remind yourself-and to start teaching your children-about things you should never flush down the toilet. Because the last thing that you want to deal with is having to look for plumbers in your area to get your toilet unclogged and repaired. Taking the time to learn about what should, and what shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, will do everyone the world of good.

Flushable Wipes

The label may say “flushable,” but that label lies. Sewer infrastructures, especially in older cities like New York and Detroit, can’t handle wipes, flushable or not. Flushing wipes and other things on this list can cause sewer backups that reach to drains in the basement, or even up to the first or second floor. They don’t break down as fast as toilet paper, and some of them don’t break down at all. Don’t flush baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, make-up removal wipes, or anything else called a “wipe” down the toilet.

Paper Towels and Napkins

Similar to wipes, these do not break down as quickly as toilet paper. They may seem like an obvious go-to during a toilet paper shortage, but flushing paper towels cause sewer backups. The same is true of the napkins that come with every take-out order. They’re not comfortable for human bottoms or for sewer pipes.

Hard Plastics

Many a toilet has faced its last flush when kids experiment by flushing small plastic toys. The swirl and disappearance of those colorful shapes are hard to resist. If you kids seem overly interested, keep those lid locks on until they outgrow the impulse-or the toys.

Chewing Gum, Dental Floss, and Hygiene Products

Even cotton swabs have enough cotton, not to mention plastic or paper, to cause a clog. Chewing gum lasts forever, as evidenced by the underside of every old-fashioned school desk you’ve ever seen at a rummage sale. Cotton balls and quilted cotton make-up remover pads also don’t break down, but they might come back up if you flush them. Feminine sanitary products are the bane of sewer systems and municipal sewers everywhere. Dispose of them, properly wrapped or bagged, in the trash.

Seemingly Harmless Waste

Dental floss seems so harmless-but if those strings pick up stuff from between your teeth, imagine what they collect in your pipes. Okay, don’t image that-gross. Just don’t flush dental floss. Cat litter is naturally absorbent. It will expand and partially solidify in your sewer pipes. Pet feces also contain harmful parasites and other nasties you shouldn’t add to the water system.

Food and Cooking Oil

A toilet is not a garbage disposal. Food that goes down there isn’t chopped up. The remains of dinner and the oil you cooked it in are among the things you should never flush down the toilet. Pour bacon grease into an empty coffee can, and spare your pipes.

Conscientious mommies never allow smoking in their homes, so we won’t even go into how cigarette butts, in addition to being a fire hazard, contain carcinogens, filters, and plastics that clog pipes and foul water systems. Keep your air and your pipes clear of these cloggy contaminants.

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Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee, the Detroit Mommies Lifestyle & Parenting Contributing Expert is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things home, lifestyle, and parenting. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

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