Closeup of a very clean toilet bowl that is flushing

21 Things You Should Never Flush Down Your Toilet

One of the most common problems related to the toilet is clogging. To avoid this, there are a few everyday practices that every homeowner should be aware of such as avoiding excessive use of toilet paper, avoiding flushing foreign objects into the toilet, and making sure to call an expert plumber immediately when faced with tough clogs. In this article, we will talk about the things that you should never flush down the toilet. 

Let’s get started!

Closeup of a very clean toilet bowl that is flushing

What Can I Flush Down The Toilet?

Along with urine and feces, there is only one additional thing that you can safely flush down the toilet – and that is toilet paper. Any other material that seems to be like toilet paper (facial tissue, baby wipes, etc.) should never be flushed. Even though these items look similar on the surface, only toilet paper is designed to easily disintegrate when it comes into contact with water. Hence, it is safe for flushing.  

In fact, flushing toilet paper is better than tossing it in the trash because when tossed away, toilet paper ends up in landfills where it can take years to break down and decompose. Moreover, flushing helps to keep the odours and bacteria safely away. There’s a caveat to this though: avoid using excess toilet paper and flushing it all at once because doing so can still cause a clog. 

What Should Never Be Flushed Down The Toilet?

Earlier we said that only three things can be flushed safely: urine, feces, and toilet paper. Anything else should NOT be flushed at all. And in the following sections, we’ll talk about common things that some people flush down the toilet and the problems associated with doing so. 

Two tampons and a sanitary pad on a wooden tray

1. Can I Flush Baby Wipes Down The Toilet?

Though baby wipes look like toilet paper, they are not designed to be safely flushed. Be absolutely careful because there are some brands that claim their baby wipes are flushable when truly, they’re not. If you flush this item down regularly, it will likely cause your toilet to be clogged. 

2. Can I Flush Band-Aids Down The Toilet?

One of the components of band-aids is non-biodegradable plastic. As such, these are not safe for flushing because it can easily contribute to a toilet clog. 

3. Can I Flush Bleach Down The Toilet?

Bleach is a harsh chemical for your toilet and septic system. It can corrode your pipes and release toxic fumes. Avoid flushing down this chemical at all costs.

4. Can I Flush Cat Litter Down The Toilet?

Some brands of cat litter will entice customers by marking the product as “flushable.” However, any kind of cat litter still adds to the impurities in your wastewater. Moreover, most toilets do not use enough water to move this material along the pipes properly, resulting in a clog. Additionally, cat litter can contain parasites that can affect immuno-compromised humans – and water treatment plants aren’t equipped to handle such pathogens.

5. Can I Flush Chewing Gum Down The Toilet?

Chewing gum is an insoluble cohesive substance. It can easily stick to the pipes and will not disintegrate, thereby potentially causing or aggravating problems in your system. 

6. Can I Flush Cloth Bandages Down The Toilet?

Most cloth bandages are made from plastic and are larger than band-aids, making it a much worse potential threat to your plumbing. This kind of material can cause or aggravate clogs quite easily. 

7. Can I Flush Condoms Down The Toilet?

Condoms are not designed to disintegrate in water. Therefore, they can end up clogging toilets as well as septic tanks. Moreover, these can cause severe problems in the sewer system. 

8. Can I Flush Cosmetic Wipes Down The Toilet?

Wet wipes, just like baby wipes, should never be flushed down the toilet. These do not dissolve in water and therefore they can clog your toilet. 

9. Can I Flush Contact Lenses Down The Toilet?

However small and harmless contact lenses seem to be, these usually end up in wastewater treatment plants. There, they are fragmented and contribute to the number of microplastics, an impending environmental concern of the modern-day. 

10. Can I Flush Cotton Products Down The Toilet?

Whether it’s cotton balls, cotton pads, Q-tips, or whatever else, cotton products do not belong in the toilet. They do not break down in the water as easily as toilet paper does – especially Q-tips that have a plastic stalk. And because these products do not break down easily, you guessed it, they can cause or aggravate a toilet clog. 

11. Can I Flush Cigarette Butts Down The Toilet?

Cigarette butts certainly do not belong in the toilet. The filter of the cigarette butt does not break down easily and can cause or aggravate clogs. Furthermore, the carcinogens and toxins in cigarette butts cannot be fully treated by wastewater treatment plants. 

Closeup of a cigarette butt on a flat surface

12. Can I Flush Dental Floss Down The Toilet?

The common materials used for dental floss are Teflon and nylon which do not break down easily. Therefore, dental floss can easily entangle with other clog-forming materials. Furthermore, these can reach the septic tank (if you have one) and cause damage to the motor.  

13. Can I Flush Diapers Down The Toilet?

Diapers should never ever be flushed down the toilet. These are made of materials that absorb water and resist water. Therefore, they can be obstinate clog-formers, especially due to their size. 

14. Can I Flush Fish Down The Toilet?

We’ve seen it so many times in mass media that many consider it a norm – however, flushing down a deceased pet fish is a bad idea. The body of the fish does not break down quickly and can cause or add to a clog. It’s definitely better to have a proper burial for your pet fish.  

15. Can I Flush Food Down The Toilet?

The toilet isn’t equipped to handle undigested food in its pipes and food particles do not break down as easily as you might think. A large amount of food can instantly give you plumbing problems while small amounts can aggravate an already-forming clog. 

16. Can I Flush Grease and Oil Down The Toilet?

It may be liquid when you pour it down but grease and oil can solidify and become as hard as a rock, thereby causing problems to your plumbing system. 

17. Can I Flush Hair Down The Toilet?

Human hair may be organic but it is absolutely tough. These do not break down and in the right numbers, hair can end up in net-like formations, causing a clog to build up.

18. Can I Flush Menstrual Products (Tampons, Pads) Down The Toilet?

Tampons and menstrual pads belong in the bin. These are notorious clog-formers because they are extremely absorbent, can expand, and are tough to break down. 

19. Can I Flush Paint Down The Toilet?

Paint is a complex compound made of pigments, extenders, solvents, binders, and more. And because of this, they are considered hazardous waste that do not belong in your wastewater. 

20. Can I Flush Paper Towels and Tissues Down The Toilet?

Paper towels and tissues look and feel a lot like toilet paper that you’d think they can be flushed safely as well – but don’t be fooled. These materials can definitely clog your toilet because, unlike toilet paper, they were not designed to be broken down by water. 

21. Can I Flush Pills Down The Toilet?

It is not advisable to dispose of pills in this manner. These belong in the bin because septic tanks and water treatment plants are not equipped to handle wastewater that is contaminated with these potentially toxic chemicals. 

Who Can I Contact In Case of Toilet Clogging?

If you have regularly flushed any of the above items down the toilet, then you might be faced with a toilet problem sometime soon – if not already. But we’ve got you covered on all your plumbing needs. 
Here at 1st Rooter Plumbing, we are passionate about delivering quick and long-lasting plumbing repairs and solutions. We specialize in residential plumbing, commercial plumbing and we even offer a 24/7 emergency plumbing service. If you have any questions or a pending plumbing concern, please feel free to contact us!