Things to Never Flush Down the Toilet

Plumber working on pipes

Nobody wants to deal with a clogged toilet, and the best way to take care of that is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Over the past few months, there’s been a massive spike in calls for plumbers to come in and clear out clogs caused by a combination of the amount of time we’re now spending at home and a lack of general knowledge of what is and isn’t safe to flush – also helped by toilet paper shortages that have turned a 12-pack of two-ply into the holy grail. Some of the most common items we find clogging up toilets on our service calls include:

  • Feminine hygiene products: Pads and tampons are designed to expand and absorb as much liquid as possible, so one of the last places you want to put them is down your toilet where they can get stuck partway down the pipe.

  • Latex products: Whether you need to dispose of a rubber glove, a condom, an old balloon, or anything else made of latex, you should never look to the toilet. These products take years to break down and can get stuck in your septic system and cause major issues down the road.

  • Cotton swabs: These products are notorious for getting stuck in the pipe leading from your toilet, creating a nice place for additional gunk to get caught, and forming the start of a nasty clog.

  • Paper towels: These products are probably the most common causes of clogged toilets in the past few months, likely driven by the lack of toilet paper in stores. No matter how tempting this may be, paper towels are designed to stay strong even when wet, and that’s the last thing you want sitting in your pipes.

  • Moist towelettes: A lot of these types of products are marketed as ‘flushable’ but that’s a lie. These wipes don’t disintegrate in water like toilet paper dows, and can easily get caught in your pipes and cause a serious clog.

  • Facial tissues: While tissues are much lighter than other paper products, they still aren’t designed to dissolve in water, which means they can bunch up and get stuck in your pipes or sewer system.

  • Cotton balls: Just like feminine products – many of which use cotton – these products should never be flushed down the toilet. They’re far too absorbent and can get stuck to your pipes and catch additional material going by, eventually leading to a clog.

This isn’t a complete list of products you shouldn’t flush, but the general rule should be to only flush toilet paper down the toilet. If you end up flushing another item or product down the toilet and need to deal with a clog, our team of professionals at O'Leary Plumbing, Heating & Electrical is just a phone call away. Our family-owned and operated business has provided customers throughout East Troy, Burlington, Elkhorn, and Mukwonago with the expert plumbing service they need. Give us a call at (262) 314-4566 to schedule your service today!

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