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14 Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

There are plenty of things people flush down the toilet every day that should never be flushed in the first place. Don’t just flush it and forget it! Not only can many of these things lead to a clogged toilet, they can also have a negative impact on public sewer systems and the environment.  Just because something is labeled disposable or flushable, doesn’t mean it should be flushed down the toilet.

Here is a list of things that you should never flush down the toilet:

Cotton balls and Q-tips: Cotton balls and Q-tips seem harmless don’t they? By flushing these things down the toilet you are guaranteed to eventually have a massive blockage as cotton balls and cotton swabs collect in the corners of your pipes.

Dental floss: Your dental hygienist tells you to “floss your teeth everyday”. It helps keep your teeth and gums in good shape. The certified premier plumbers at Bonney will tell you—“Don’t flush your floss!” It is not biodegradable and can wrap itself around other objects in the sewer line, making small clogs, bigger and also create a spiderweb of problems.

Facial tissue: Facial tissues are made to be tough and sturdy.  When people are sick they blow their stuffy nose into the Kleenex tissue made of sturdy fibers that don’t break apart. The best place for the tissue is in the trash, not the toilet.

Flushable wipes: Flushable is in the actual title of the product! But no, you should never flush wipes down the toilet. They are causing major plumbing problems all over the country. Once wipes are flushed, they can create a blockage, and you’ll be paying hundreds of dollars to get your drain snaked. Sewer agencies are spending millions of dollars filtering wipes out of their plumbing systems. According to Peter Castles at the Sacramento Area Sewer District, “In terms of what we tell our customers, we definitely instruct folks not to flush wipes, as they do cause some problems for us, like clogging our pumps. They simply do not break down enough to pass freely through pumps”. The SASD is currently conducting public outreach regarding “no wipes in the pipes” via their booths at community events and through their website and social media. For more info check out their website:

Band-aids: Band-Aids are made to stick to a person’s scratch or wound, not the toilet. Sticky plastic Band-aids don’t belong in the toilet or sewer system. Trash ‘em!

Diapers: You’d think this is a no brainer: Never flush a diaper. Disposable diapers are meant to be disposed in the trash, not the toilet. The main role of a diaper is to absorb liquid, which makes the diaper bigger and will dry out pockets in your sewer line. Diapers are able to create clogs anywhere down the line, from your toilet and outgoing sewer line to sewer connections and sewer plants.

Pills and Medicine: Keep the drugs out of our water supply and don’t flush your meds. According to the California State Board of Pharmacy, our city waste treatment plants are not designed to filter pharmaceuticals out of the water. Medications flushed down the toilet pass through the sewer system and eventually enter our streams, lakes, and rivers. This could lead to increased bacterial resistance to antibiotics and interference with growth and reproduction in aquatic organisms such as fish, frogs and other aquatic animals. The California Pharmacists Association has partnered with No Drugs Down The Drain and recognizes the need to divert waste medicines from the sewer.

Proper disposal of your unused meds is easy. To prevent misuse and keep medications from entering our waterways, dispose of unused prescription and over-the-counter medications responsibly. Check out the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s website for local disposal locations and more information.

Feminine products: If you don’t want to deal with a backed-up overflowing toilet, do not flush feminine hygiene products down it. Feminine hygiene products are non-degradable and will easily clog up your local septic system and most likely a homeowners septic tank. Don’t flush the plastic applicator, pads, or the actual tampon. Tampons don’t break down like toilet paper, they swell in size and if one gets caught in your sewer line, it’ll probably catch the next one coming down the pipe.

Paper towels: Paper towels may be super absorbent but they are not designed to break down in water like toilet paper. Just ask the Brawny Man, he’ll tell you.  Paper towels+ flushing them down the toilet=clogged toilet.  It is very difficult to get paper towels to move down the sewer line after they’ve been flushed down the toilet. Flushing them can cause major headaches for homeowners and likely repairs to the pipes.

Hair: Most folks know about trying to keep hair out of the shower drains, but they don’t hesitate throwing clumps of hair in the toilet. Hair forms into balls that are remarkably efficient at causing clogs. Always clean your hairbrush or comb over the trash can. Your luxurious locks belong in the trash not in the toilet. Hair will make it down the toilet drain, but will eventually become part of the gunk that clogs things in the sewer line. Hair is just another flushing faux pas!

Kitty litter: There are a number of reasons for not flushing kitty litter and the feline feces contained within’ it. The feces contains parasites that will not be broken down in treatment plants properly, and will damage marine life. The litter is not septic friendly and could cost you a litterbox full of money in repairs and cleaning, not to mention it will clog your pipes and cause problems for treatment plant operators.

Cigarette butts: Toilets are meant for only one kind of butt. Your toilet and septic system has one purpose only…an ashtray is not one of them! Cigarette butts do not break down and are filled with chemicals that can get into the water supply. Always dispose of cigarette butts in the trash. Cigarette butts are one of the most common forms of litter in the Ocean.

Chewing gum: You’ve probably heard the old wives tale “Don’t swallow gum because it will stay in your digestive system for 7 years”. There’s no truth to that old wives tale. However, flushing what is basically an adhesive down the toilet is not a good idea. The gum will stick to your pipes, which do not have a digestive system, and clog them up.

Resist the urge to use your toilet as a trash can. We realize it’s convenient to just flush it and forget it, but it will come back to haunt you with clogs and plumbing problems. The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are The Three P’s. Pee, poop, and toilet paper. It’s really that simple. Anything else should be disposed in the trash can.

If you have a clogged toilet, drain or sewer line, Don’t worry we’re on it! Call Bonney Plumbing, Heating, Air and Sewer at 800-444-0551