Plumbing maintenance: What not to flush down the toilet

12 Jun, 2021

Plumbing maintenance: What not to flush down the toilet

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It may seem like a fundamental basic to any homeowner who deals with plumbing maintenance. And to all others who have grown up in urban areas with indoor plumbing this should also be basic knowledge. However, it is always good to have a reminder of the basics of plumbing maintenance starting in the bathroom. Here’s what not to flush down the toilet 101. It’s an essential primer in fundamental bathroom plumbing maintenance.

6 Things That You Shouldn’t Flush Down Your Toilet

bathroom maintenance
Manage what gets flushed down the toilet to maintain your plumbing

There are a ton of things that you shouldn’t flush down your toilet. Flushing the “unflushables” can lead to clogged pipes, contaminated water, and an unhappy sewer. You may cause considerable damage if you continually flush things that simply shouldn’t be flushed down your toilet. 

Essential plumbing maintenance

To avoid damaging your pipes in any way, here are 6 things that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. 

  • Feminine Products

Yes, feminine products collect liquid from the body. It is also true that they can be considered bodily waste. However, at all times you should avoid flushing them down the toilet. Perhaps you have found yourself in a sticky situation and there is no bin to dispose of your feminine hygiene products. In that case, you need to get creative and dispose of it in a different way. Tampons, sanitary pads, cups, period pants, or anything that is designed to absorb menstrual blood should not be flushed down the toilet. These products should always be disposed of in a bin. 

  • Hair 

Flushing hair down the toilet can cause severe problems as the hair builds up. Hair tends to cling to the sides of the pipes and.As more and more hair is flushed, it builds up and will eventually clog the pipes. Even if you wrap the hair in tissue, it can still get stuck and clog the pipes. That’s why all these hair strands should go in the bin. When showering, ensure your drain is covered so that any hair that has been collected can be removed and thrown in a bin instead of being washed down into the pipes. 

  • Cigarette Butts 

They may seem small and it could look like an easy way to get rid of the evidence, but cigarette butts should never be flushed down a toilet. They can cause harmful chemicals to seep into the water which could lead to the wildlife being harmed eventually. Due to the density of cigarette butts and the way they are designed, they often won’t flush down the drain, which means the next person to use the toilet will come across a pretty unpleasant view. Once you have smoked a cigarette, stub it out and dispose of it safely. 

  • Gum 

Flushing used gum down the toilet seems like a quick and easy way to get rid of it. But it should always be avoided. Gum is insoluble, which means that it doesn’t disintegrate. It can eventually cause the pipes to clog and cause issues within the pipes. It is also sticky which leads to further risk of clogged pipes. This is why you need to make sure you always dispose of gum by throwing it in the bin. Gum is particularly threatening to plumbing maintenance.

  • Wipes 

Both make-up and baby wipes should not be flushed down the toilet. It may seem harmless but wipes are one of the biggest issues of modern sanitary systems. Wipes cause huge build-ups which lead to several issues. Make-up wipes do not dissolve in water which means that they just build up over time. Baby wipes also do not decompose, so they should not be flushed down the toilet either. Flushable wipes do exist but you should only really opt for these in case of an emergency as they can still cause the pipes to get clogged. 

plumbing maintenance
Make sure you teach everyone using the bathroom the essentials of what not to flush
  • Medication 

Medication should never be flushed down the toilet. It seems that at one point, that was standard practice, however, this should be avoided at any cost. Although it seems like any harmful effects would be diluted due to the amount of water there is compared to the medication, it seems that some medications can disturb the biology and behavior of animals in the water. Although we urinate out these same medications because they have been metabolized, it is nowhere near as dangerous or potent as disposing of medications down the toilet. 

Any other potentially hazardous materials should also not be flushed down the toilet to dispose of them. This includes certain cleaning products, paint, nail varnish remover, or other liquids or items that could be hazardous. The paint contains chemicals that could be harmful, if they come into contact with the water system this could contaminate the water. If you want to dispose of paint, do this safely or find a paint drop-off site near you. Other potentially hazardous cleaning materials should also be disposed of safely. 

A final word on essentials of plumbing maintenance

Ensure you never flush these things down the toilet. Any one of them could lead to all kinds of disastrous consequences from an overflowing septic tank to environmental issues. The less we harm our pipes and environment, the healthier we will be. More especially, the healthier the organisms around us and the planet will be too. Follow the instructions above to protect your family, community, and the environment.



At we like to offer our readers a selection of appropriate articles to the blog topic you have found. In this selection we offer you a number of blogs written on plumbing and drainage for property maintenance. We hope you find them useful.

Home construction – Guide to the right commode

Home maintenance – Signs of water damage to watch out for

Building your own home – Common urban drainage issues to watch for


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