Are you a flushing offender? Do you play by the public bathroom rules or do you ignore the signs? The signs that kindly ask us NOT to flush certain products down the toilet. Just because it goes down the drain, doesn’t mean it is meant to be. Constant use, paired with short water supply and outdated toilet models, makes for endless calls to the maintenance department. You can help cut down on the amount of “Out of Order” signs, by following these flushing guidelines.
These rules don’t just apply to someone else’s toilet – it also applies to your own! If you’re looking to maintain working order in your bathrooms, the best way is to avoid flushing anything except toilet paper down the toilet. Here are a few flush friendly rules to live by:
- DO NOT FLUSH Facial Tissues, Paper Towels & Body Wipes
Although tissues seem like next of kin to toilet paper, they really aren’t the same. They are often a thicker ply and not designed to dissolve as easily as toilet paper. We’ve all experienced that moment when you realize the dispenser is empty (and often at the most inopportune time!), and you have to turn to paper towels and tissues for backup. Despite your urge to flush, dispose of tissue, paper towels or even wipes in the trash can. It may seem unsanitary, but when wrapped properly and disposed of properly, it’s much better than flushing.
Fun Fact: Even toilet paper is not flushed in parts of Mexico and other regions of the world where the plumbing is not as advanced.
- DO NOT FLUSH Cat Litter
Dumping the contents of your cat’s litter box in the loo may be a time saver, but not a toilet saver. Clumping litter may lead you to believe that it’s okay to flush, but even if your brand says it can be flushed, it shouldn’t be! The clay material tends to be heavy, meaning it will cling to your pipes and not be fully flushed. This material does not dissolve and could negatively affect your sewer or septic system over time.
Cat Cleaning Tip: One alternative is to have a supply of disposable bags near the litter box so waste can be easily collected and deposited in a trash receptacle. Even if you’re using an eco-friendly litter such as corn, wheat or other environmentally-conscious material, and it says it’s flushable – you’ll still need to break it up and soak it to minimize the chance of clogging. That’s a lot of work – so save yourself the trouble and dispose of it properly in a trash bin. Note: In California, it’s against the law to flush ANY type of cat litter.
- NEVER FLUSH Disposable Diapers
This one seems rather obvious, but we feel the obligation to list it anyway! Although disposable diapers handle waste, they are not okay to flush down the toilet. Diapers are much too thick to manage their way properly through your plumbing system. If you do, it’s very likely you will clog your pipes – and unfortunately, this is a very serious problem that will need a professional plumber to resolve. Our advice, is to use the diaper genie you received at your baby shower or dispose the diaper in a designated trash can.
- DO NOT FLUSH Tampons & Other Feminine Hygiene Products
While the toilet is frequently a handy option to get rid of tampons and other feminine products, it’s also a bad idea. These products can easily create clogs deep in pipes and should never be flushed. Even the string on a tampon could wrap around an object and create an even bigger clog. Be kind to your pipes and wrap and dispose these products in the nearest receptacle.
- WE DON’T RECOMMEND FLUSHING Pills
Flushing expired or other types of pills that are no longer of use seems like a good way to dispose of them – especially since they are designed to dissolve! But even though they won’t clog your pipes, the chemicals that make up these pills can be harmful to your sewer system and even your ground water! The best way to dispose of unwanted pills is to seek a drop-off site designed for disposing of medicine; if you’re not in an area where a medicine drop-off is offered, another alternative (but not as environmentally friendly) is to crush them up and throw them in your weekly trash.
Other toilet-clogging characters:
There a several other objects that can cause troublesome clogs, so we thought they would be worth a quick mention:
- Hair – You certainly don’t want to clog your shower drain, so why would you want to clog your toilet? Throw hair in the trash, never down the sink, tub or toilet.
- Gum – This one should be a no-brainer; but it might be something you want to share with your children! Gum does not dissolve easily at all.
- Food – Even if it’s something as simple as soup — food belongs in the trash or compost.
- Dental Floss – Flushing string of any kind (even string as thin and light as floss) can get wrapped around something else on the way down and lead to bigger problems.
Bear in mind the consequence of flushing non-toilet paper products; it will likely clog your toilet, and can very well end up causing you more problems with your septic or water treatment facility. Got toilet problems? Contact us today to schedule an onsite visit to see how we can help.