FAQ: What is safe to flush down the toilet?

The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a lot of confusion and misinformation. As toilet paper, wipes, and paper towels fly off the shelves, it’s important we clarify what you can safely flush down the toilet. Here are the facts: many things you might be flushing down your toilet could be clogging up your — and your community’s — plumbing system. So here’s a list of what is flush-worthy and what isn’t.

Do not flush:

  • Paper towels. What makes paper towels so effective at cleaning spills is the same reason they are an enemy to your plumbing system. They are resistant to dissolving in water, which makes them a common cause of clogs.
  • Disinfectant wipes. The use of disinfectant wipes during the Coronavirus pandemic is causing widespread plumbing problems. Why? Although the packaging may claim these wipes to be flushable, the fact is that wet wipes, baby wipes, and disinfectant wipes do not disintegrate like toilet paper. Just like paper towels, wipes remain intact after flushing, which can eventually build up in your pipes to create a clog.
  • Feminine products. Tampons and pads are a major toilet no-no. Feminine products should be thrown in the trash.
  • Cooking grease. The impulse to pour hot grease down your toilet drain may seem reasonable at first. But what do you think happens when the grease cools into thick, juicy fat? It combines with wipes, paper towels, and any other non-flushable items to create a clog of your nightmares. Instead, store that grease in a jar to either throw away later or reuse for cooking.
  • Diapers. Here’s a simple way to look at it. A diaper’s job is to absorb liquid and expand. Flushing one of these things essentially guarantees a major clog in the U-bend of your toilet’s plumbing. Don’t do it. We’ve warned you.
  • Dental floss, Q-tips, and cotton balls. Toiletries, despite their name, are not meant for the toilet. Dental floss is not biodegradable, while Q-tips and cotton balls can clump together to form blockages. For these three items: trash, trash, and trash.
  • Pills and cigarettes. This is less about if you can flush them, and more about if you should. Pills and cigarettes are toxic to your community’s groundwater supply, as well as to wildlife. Toss your cigarettes in the trash; and follow FDA guidelines to safely dispose of unused medication.

Do flush:

  • Toilet paper. This material was made to safely pass through your home’s plumbing system. It dissolves in water within twenty-four hours.
  • Body waste. If it comes out of you, it’s safe to flush. Unless you regurgitate a Lego. In that case, we advise you to change your diet.

That’s it, folks. On behalf of toilets everywhere, flush toilet paper and body waste only. Everything else should be disposed of in other ways.


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