List of things never to flush down your toilet
Don’t ever flush these things down your toilet…..or else.
List of Things Never to Flush Down Your Toilet
Indoor plumbing is one of the modern conveniences that many of us take for granted. The ability to dispose of waste with a single flush is immensely satisfying. However, many homeowners aren’t aware that certain items can severely damage the plumbing system and even pollute the water supply when flushed down the toilet.
We’ve all been there – a bit of hair in the sink, a tissue that’s handier than walking to the trash can – but these seemingly innocuous actions can lead to major plumbing issues. Read this guide on what not to flush down your toilet.
Common Non-Flushable Items:
- Baby Wipes and Cleaning Wipes: Even if they’re labeled “flushable,” many wipes don’t break down as easily as toilet paper, leading to clogs.
- Feminine Products: These are designed to absorb moisture and expand, which can quickly block pipes.
- Cotton Balls and Swabs: They don’t dissolve and can clump together, causing obstructions.
- Dental Floss: It might look thin and harmless, but dental floss can wrap around other objects and cause blockages.
- Diapers: Diapers are made to expand when wet and can cause immediate blockages.
- Hair: Hair can clump together in the pipes, catching other debris and leading to clogs.
- Medications: While they might not block your pipes, they can contaminate the water supply.
- Grease, Fats, and Oils: When cooled, these solidify and can cause blockages in your pipes.
- Paper Towels and Tissues: These are bulkier than toilet paper and don’t break down as easily.
- Cat Litter: Even if labeled as flushable, cat litter can form a thick sludge, causing blockages.
- Condoms: Non-biodegradable, they can cause major blockages.
- Band-Aids: Made from non-biodegradable plastic which is harmful for your plumbing system.
- Food Waste: Especially hard substances like bones or fibrous materials.
- Cigarette Butts: They contain toxins that can contaminate water and don’t break down easily.
- Gum: It’s better to spit your gum in the trash because just one piece a day can accumulate into a huge indissolveable blob that will cause thousands of dollars in damage
Weird Items We’ve Recently Pulled Out of Toilets and Main Sewer Lines in San Antonio Homes:
- Barbie dolls – three of them, perfectly flushed and caused a huge clog that backed the whole house up in the Stone Oak area
- Huge bag of unidentified contents – Wrapped in plastic, half way under the house, complete clog and created a messy backup throughout the entire first floor of a home in NE San Antonio
- G I Joe Action Figures – Mission was apparently to stop all flow of waste water in a home in the Alamo Ranch area of town. Mission accomplished, medal of embarrassment awarded.
- Vegetables – Yes whole veggies somehow made it down a toilet and caused a 90% restriction in the main sewer line in a home in the North Central San Antonio area
- Bras – two of them, with wires and all, flushed down the throne, “supported” a complete clog of the main sewer line in a home in West San Antonio
- A Big Fish – Yes, you read that correctly, a huge fish, flushed down a toilet for either his last swim or a proper burial but didn’t quite make it. Complete clog in a home around the East Side of San Antonio.
What To Do If You Accidentally Flush Something Down:
- Don’t Panic: Stay calm and assess the situation.
- Do Not Flush Again: This can make the situation worse.
- Use a Plunger: A plunger can be effective for minor blockages and could do the trick.
If the Issue Persists:
- Turn Off the Water: There should be a valve behind or near the base of the toilet. Turning this off can prevent overflow.
- Check With a Flashlight: Inspect to see if the item causing the blockage is visible. If so, and it’s within reach, you may be able to retrieve it using gloves or tongs. Do not use your bare hands unless you’re Chuck Norris.
- Call a Professional: If you can’t resolve the issue, it’s time to seek help.
When Plumbing Backs Up:
- Stop Using Water: If multiple fixtures are backing up, stop using water in the house and call a professional ASAP.
- Check Cleanout: Most homes have a sewer cleanout line. If there’s standing water or overflow, the blockage might be in the main sewer line.
- Seek Professional Assistance Quickly: It’s important to address major backups promptly to prevent damage and potential health hazards.
It’s easy to think of our toilets as an all-purpose disposal system, but the reality is that they’re designed primarily for human waste and toilet paper. By being mindful of what you flush down, you can prevent potential plumbing nightmares and also do your part in preserving our environment and water systems. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out (in the trash, that is)! In other scenarios, you may need to replace your toilet and we can help with that too.
In San Antonio and surrounding areas, if you ever find yourself facing a plumbing emergency or have doubts about what can or can’t be flushed, don’t hesitate to contact Air & Plumbing Today. We offer emergency service calls 7 days a week. Just call 210-519-5959 and their expert team will be there to assist you.