Lately we’ve noticed an influx of homeowners using their toilets for more than just human waste. To help ensure your home’s plumbing runs smoothly and to save you money in plumbing repairs, we pulled together this list of 10 things that you must NEVER flush down your toilet:
- Baby Wipes, Wet Wipes, and even wipes marketed as “flushable” – “Flushable” baby and adult wipes are becoming more popular nowadays. However, they are increasingly causing clogs and backups in sewage throughout Maryland homes. Although some brands may say they are flushable, they are not made of materials that easily breakdown in sewer systems like toilet paper. Efforts are being made to revise these guidelines to show a noticeable “DO NOT FLUSH” symbol on all packaging. Wipes of any kind should be disposed of in a trash can instead.
- Paper towels and Tissues – While you may wish to save money and help the environment by using washable cloths and rags, paper towels and tissues are a staple in most households. Paper Towels and tissues also do not dissolve like toilet paper does. These items are best discarded in the trash rather than down the toilet.
- Q-tips and Cotton Balls – While it is easy to think that the cotton in Q-tips and cotton balls will break down since they are made of the same cotton found in toilet paper – they actually don’t! These items will clump together and cause blockages within your pipes.
- Cooking Grease and Food – Grease and other foods should never be poured into your toilet or other drains in general. Grease may look like a liquid that can be easily dumped down the drain but all grease will cool, harden, and clog up your pipes. You can collect your grease in another container until it cools before throwing it in the trash or save the grease to reuse it while cooking!
- Medications – You may think it is a good idea to flush any medications that are no longer needed or expired to ensure they are out of harm’s way. You can actually be doing more harm by flushing them down the toilet. These substances may pass through sewage treatment plants and septic tanks which can lead directly to soil and groundwater. Since these medications can have toxic effects on groundwater supplies and wildlife, it is always best to properly dispose of any medications. You can return unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs to pharmaceutical take-back locations for safe disposal. Ask your local pharmacy or law enforcement agency about pharmaceutical take-back programs.