Most of us take our plumbing fixtures for granted. We don’t think twice about flushing things down the toilet that really shouldn’t be flushed. Before we know it, our sewer systems are backed up and a plumber has to come out to clear the very expensive clog.
To keep your pipes clog-free, avoid flushing these seven things down the toilet.
1. Feminine Hygiene Products
Feminine hygiene products (e.g. tampons, pads) should never be flushed. These are products that are meant to absorb liquid – not break it down. When they’re flushed down the toilet, they will absorb the water and expand, leading to clogs.
Always dispose of these products the proper way: in the trash.
2. Grease or Food
It’s been drilled into our heads that you should never pour grease down the drain. But sometimes, we forget that this rule also applies to the toilet.
Cooking grease congeals when it cools, which can lead to build-up and clogs in your pipes.
All cooking fat and oil should be collected in a glass jar and thrown in the trash.
3. Flushable Wipes
It doesn’t matter what the label says – flushable wipes are not flushable. These wipes do not disintegrate in water the same way toilet tissue does.
“Many times the culprit of a sewer backup is tree roots,” says Marvs Plumbing. “This is especially true if you live in an older home.” But flushable wipes are increasingly becoming a common cause of sewer clogs and backups in homes.
In fact, clogs caused by flushable wipes are one of the most common service calls that plumbers receive.
4. Cat Litter
It may seem convenient to flush your cat’s litter down the toilet – along with the waste – but doing so will only damage your plumbing system. There are some manufacturers that claim their litter is flushable, but experts say it’s best to just toss litter in the trash.
If you routinely clean your toilets, sinks and showers with bleach, you may want to change your practice. Bleach is a harsh chemical that can actually damage your pipes and/or septic system.
Toilets have a glazed finish. Simply scrubbing with a toilet brush and flushing should be more than enough to keep your toilet clean. Stains in the toilet bowl are caused by minerals in the water – not human waste. If you want something stronger, use distilled white vinegar.
6. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum should never be flushed down the toilet – even if that seems like the most convenient option. Gum never dissolves in water, and it can actually adhere to other things in the system and cause a clog.
Wrap up your gum and throw it in the trash.
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t flush diapers. Like feminine hygiene product, diapers are made to absorb water. When they’re flushed down the toilet, they absorb water and expand.
When diapers expand in your pipes, they can easily lead to clogs.
If you can actually manage to flush a diaper, there’s a good chance that it will get stuck in the U-bend of the pipe.