Homeowners flush a lot of things down their toilets without considering the potential plumbing issues it may cause. If they’re lucky, they’ll only have to use a plunger to tackle a minor clog. But if a major issue arises, they may need to call a plumber and pay for costly repairs.
Whether your home has a septic tank or sewage line, there are certain items you should never flush. To prevent unnecessary clogs and damage to your home’s plumbing, take some advice from the pros. Harts Services, a Tacoma, Wash.-based plumbing company, shares its list of the top items that shouldn’t go down your toilet:
Dental Floss. Not only is floss non-biodegradable, but it can also tangle up with other debris and turn small clogs into big ones. If flushed into a septic tank, floss can wind itself around a motor and cause it to burn out.
Paper Towels. It may seem okay to flush paper towels because they look a lot like toilet paper, but flushed paper towels are one of the leading causes of clogged pipes. They’re made to be very absorbent and are considerably thicker than toilet paper.
Sanitary and Baby Wipes. Although many of these wipes say they’re flushable on the package, it’s advisable to throw them out instead. The fibers in the wipes are much thicker than those of toilet paper, so they don’t break down the same way and can contribute to a clog.
Q-Tips or Cotton Balls. Cotton may seem like it’s harmless, but just like sanitary wipes, cotton does not break down enough to make it through the pipes. Cotton can clump together and get stuck, causing a backup.
Fats, Oils and Grease. Flushing food waste is a bad idea that will lead to any number of plumbing problems. When hot, these substances are in a liquid state, but once they cool, they congeal and build up on the sides of the pipes.
Feminine Hygiene Products. These products expand when they come in contact with liquid. This means, when flushed, they absorb more water and get stuck in the pipes.
Kitty Litter. It may not seem that bad since it’s cat waste, but kitty litter is made of clay and sand, which will create major problems for plumbing.
Adhesive Bandages. These products are non-biodegradable and can easily stick to pipes and cause issues.
If you have any question about an item you’re thinking about flushing down the toilet, Harts Services advises to remember that when in doubt, throw it out. Otherwise, you may end up paying for costly repairs that could’ve easily been avoided.