Newsflash: your toilet is not your garbage can! Perhaps that statement made you giggle, but while there are obvious physical differences between your trash can and your toilet, many people treat them the same by trying to flush items that should be placed in the trash instead. The problem, of course, lies in the fact that flushing the wrong items can clog your pipes, damage your septic system, and require unnecessary septic cleanings.
1. Diapers: Disposable diapers have been around since 1946 and, on average, a baby goes through 8,000 of them before being potty trained. Diapers, however, are not meant to be flushed. The material swells up into a big mess that will require a plumber to fix.
2. Medicine: Believe it or not, prescription medicine is not meant to be flushed either. In fact, most pharmacies have special 'take back' programs so they can dispose of it properly. A Harvard study found that flushed pharmaceuticals can get into our groundwater and, at this point in time, the pollution cannot be filtered out.
3. Cigarette Butts: Simply put anything that is not biodegradable cannot be flushed. While the tobacco portion of a cigarette breaks down, the filter does not. It can take up to 10 years for the filter to dissolve. You don't want anything lingering in your sewer that long.
4. Floss: It may be good dental hygiene to floss regularly, but flushing that used bit of floss can wreck havoc on your plumbing. Not only can it get tangled up in your pipes, but it also stays there for years.
5. Hair: While you may think hair, as a natural substance, is biodegradable so you can flush it without concern. Well, you would only be half right. It is biodegradable, but long hair can get stuck in with other clogged items and create a real mess.
6. Cleaning Wipes: Neither bleach wipes nor baby wipes should be disposed of in the toilet. Like everything else on this list, they can easily clog your pipes and do not break down in your septic tank or the municipal sewer system.
7. Feminine Products: Every public bathroom in existence has a sign requesting that patrons do not flush feminine products, yet many people try to at home. Even if the box of tampons says it is okay, it is not. Unless, of course, they are volunteering to pay for your plumbing bill.
8. Cotton Swabs: Cotton swabs, commonly referred to by the brand name Q-tips, should never be disposed of by flushing. While they might seem innocuous, their size and shape make it quite easy for them to become lodged awkwardly in your pipes, preventing other items from moving along.
9. Food: While you probably do not eat in the bathroom very often, people have been known to try and flush food. Do yourself and your plumbing a favor and don't flush food, particularly greasy food. In fact, do your momma proud and eat at the kitchen table.
If you do your best to avoid flushing these things but still end up with a toilet clog, contact a business like Challenge Rooter for professional help.