Despite advertisements that imply a certain brand of toilet can handle anything, you should not flush certain items. Flushing or sending certain items down the drain can cause clogs, backups, and other plumbing issues. Here are some common items that should never be flushed down the toilet or drain:
Baby wipes and personal hygiene products: Even if the packaging says "flushable," these items can cause clogs and backups in your plumbing. Instead, keep plastic bags nearby and tie them up inside. Dispose of it in your trash.
Grease and cooking oil: These substances can solidify and clog your pipes, leading to sewage backups and other plumbing problems. Use another container (or the container the oil came in) to hold the oil when it has cooled. Dispose of the oil in the trash. Foods can also cause clogs for those who don't use a garbage disposal. Vegetable peelings, seeds, and bones can become lodged in your drain and block the pipe.
Medications: Flushing medications can contaminate the water supply and harm aquatic life. Contact your health department to find out when and where you can take old and unused medications to be safely disposed of.
Dental floss: Dental floss does not dissolve in water and can wrap around other items in your pipes, causing clogs and backups.
Hair: Hair can tangle and accumulate in your pipes, leading to clogs and backups. Use a filter to prevent hair from going down the shower drain and empty it regularly.
Paper towels: These items are not designed to dissolve in water and can cause clogs and backups in your plumbing.
Paints, chemicals, and cleaning products: These substances can be hazardous to the environment and should be disposed of properly. Another related issue is drain-cleaning products. If you have tried to unclog your toilet or drain yourself using over-the-counter drain cleaner, do not forget to inform your plumber about it. Harsh cleaners can pose a danger to plumbers as they work on your pipes.
Cat litter: Even if the packaging says "flushable," cat litter can clog your pipes and damage your plumbing. In most cases, clumping litter will do what it is supposed to do and form clumps in your pipes.
It's best to stick to flushing only toilet paper and human waste down the toilet and disposing of all other items in the trash or at a hazardous waste collection site. If it's too late and you are now dealing with a major clog, call a professional plumber right away and find out more.