31 Things Not to Flush Down the Toilet

With a simple flush, all your problems go down the drain, or so you think. Our septic systems are not designed to be garburators. There are no invisible teeth installed in your 4 inch pipes to grind up whatever you deem flush-worthy. It just doesn’t work that way. When in doubt, throw it out!

Most things that are packaged as “flushable” actually do not measure up to the rapid breakdown process our sewer lines require. CBC has a report on this flushable issue.

If you have young children, why not install a toilet seat lock to prevent them from opening the lid and sending GI Joe on a slip and slide? And as adults, we really should know better, but do we?

Check out this list of things people have tried to flush down the toilet and shouldn’t:

  1. Facial tissues, aka Kleenex
  2. Baby wipes
  3. Disinfectant wipes
  4. Hand wipes, etc. even if they are labeled flushable
  5. Toilet bowl scrub pads
  6. Swiffers
  7. Napkins (paper or cloth)
  8. Paper towels
  9. Dental floss
  10. Egg shells, nutshells, and coffee grounds (much better suited for your compost)
  11. Fats, oils, and greases
  12. Hair
  13. Sanitary napkins
  14. Tampons – if you are asking yourself “can you flush tampons?”, know that you shouldn’t – bag it and toss it!
  15. Condoms
  16. Vitamins, medicines, or other pharmaceuticals
  17. Syringes
  18. Sheet plastic, or plastic of any kind
  19. Diapers (cloth, disposable, “flushable”) (Hint: try a diaper genie!)
  20. Cotton balls
  21. Cotton swabs
  22. Cigarette butts
  23. Band-aids
  24. Oil and grease from food
  25. Cat litter
  26. Small pets; goldfish, hamsters, gerbils, mice
  27. Paints, varnish, paint thinner
  28. Automotive fluids
  29. Food
  30. Poisons and hazardous waste
  31. Toys and game pieces

Some of the things above can cause blockages and clogs and others just taint our overall water supply. Our water treatment plants are not equipped to combat all of this toxicity and thus we would be introducing some pretty harmful chemicals to our environment when we flush these things down our toilets.

Many materials frequently flushed or poured down the drain can harm the pipes that connect to city sewers as well as the sewer system. Every property owner connected to the City of Edmonton sewer system can be a potential contributor to sewer problems, and a potential victim of those same problems.

4 replies
  1. Matthew Hardwood
    Matthew Hardwood says:

    “Adult baby wipes” are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. They are also increasingly causing clogs and backups in sewage pipes across the country. Although some of these brands might say they are flushable on the box, there are groups that are revising the guidelines, so soon all wet wipes will have a noticeable DO NOT FLUSH symbol on the packaging. If you must use these, throw them away in the trash can. Keep one close to the toilet. Flushing wet wipes can easily turn into an expensive mistake when you have to call a plumber to snake your toilet.

    Reply
  2. John Price
    John Price says:

    I think that coffee waste is something that is often overlooked. Some people especially when making Turkish style coffee don’t want to clog the pipes in the kitchen and they flush the coffee remains down the toilet…which in turn leads to the toilet being clogged.

    But on the other hand, I don’t really see an alternative of how to dispose of the coffee waste.

    Reply

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