Toilets are designed to eliminate human waste. However, they are less effective in getting rid of other stuff. The pipes of your toilet usually only have a 4-inch diameter at their widest point, so even relatively insignificant objects can result in serious plumbing issues, like clogging the drain pipes, contaminating the water supply, and harming the environment.
Never treat your toilet like a trash can, regardless of how strong your flush is or whether you believe the object is too small to cause damage to those big pipes. Fixing the damage brought on by an overflowing toilet and repairing clogged drains with the help of professionals can cost you hundreds of dollars.
Keeping all additional trash out is the best method to lengthen the lifespan of your toilet and avoid annoying plumbing problems. Here is a list of what you should not flush down a septic tank:
1. Fish or Other Small Pets
The media has, on occasion, presented the toilet as a final resting place for deceased pets like fish and hamsters, but you need to know that this is actually not a good idea as this is harmful in a lot of ways. The most obvious danger to domestic plumbing is clogging, but if these organisms manage to get through the pipes, they might also harm sewage systems, clog drains, and damage septic tanks.
2. Grease, oils, and fats
Grease, oils, and fats should never be flushed down the toilet, just as you shouldn’t dump cooking grease down the drain. While still hot, grease, oils, and fats may be in their liquid form, but as soon as they cool down, they congeal making them thicker leading to the risk of clogging your pipes. It won’t happen overnight, but these fats will accumulate on the walls of your pipe over time. This may be the reason why your toilet is not flushing fully as this build-up can make it difficult for the water to go down the pipes or worse, can completely obstruct them.
3. Paper Towels and Tissues
It is common to substitute toilet paper with paper towels and facial tissues when the former is not available. So, you might think these two are similar to toilet paper, but it is important to know that paper towels and facial tissues are not made to decompose in the same manner as toilet paper. These paper products will most likely block your pipes because they tend to absorb water rather than dissolve in it. In cases that you need to substitute toilet paper with a paper towel or tissue, make sure to dispose of them properly in the garbage can.
Aside from being wasteful, using too much toilet paper can seriously damage your plumbing. Large toilet paper rolls make flushing a challenge and can quickly clog small pipes. The following time you use the restroom, only use what is necessary to prevent issues.
4. Wet wipes
This one is very important. Despite their packaging, wet wipes shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. Just like paper towels and facial tissues, wet wipes are not intended to break down in the water like toilet paper is, thus they can eventually clog pipes. Wet wipes are one of the contributing factors to these build-ups, which can reach 10 tons in size. Additionally, even if they get past the home’s plumbing, they can accumulate in sewer systems.
5. Feminine products
Sanitary pads, tampons, and other feminine products are frequently listed among objects you should not flush down the toilet. Remember that these items, just like diapers, are designed to swell when they absorb moisture, making them almost impossible to flush. Depending on their size, these products might not even fit through the U-pipe.
Additionally, these items are non-biodegradable, which causes issues in waste systems. Due to the inability of septic system microorganisms to break them down, they accumulate and endanger the system.
6. Cotton Balls or Swabs
While cotton balls, cotton pads, and swabs might seem small enough to flush, they can cause serious damage to your pipes. These cotton goods do not break down in the water after being flushed. Instead, they frequently accumulate, causing obstructions and twisting or broking pipes.
7. Cigarette Butts
Despite not being prone to clogging the pipes with no build-ups, the compounds found in cigarette butts could be posing a serious threat to the environment and septic systems by releasing potentially harmful substances into the water system. Plus, cigarette butts don’t always flush down the toilet after just a single flush, which could make the following user unhappy. Additionally, an average of 3 gallons of water are used for each flush, which is a substantial amount, especially when used frequently.
Although some cat litter products claim to be flushable, they can seriously harm a home’s plumbing system. The majority of litter is composed of clay and sand; the granules are engineered to retain moisture and can expand up to 15 times their original size. So, it is either they clog the pipes or cause serious damage.
Unlike human waste, cat excrement should never be flushed down the toilet. The water supply may get contaminated by parasites if cat litter is flushed down the toilet as cats can be carriers of Toxoplasma gondii, which was previously been found in their wastes. Individuals with a compromised immune system have been reported to have instant redness, blurred vision, and pain in the eye area.
9. Prescription medications
Most people believe that by flushing their prescription down the toilet, they are ensuring that it stays out of the wrong hands. This can be highly dangerous. Medication contaminates groundwater supplies, harms wildlife, and ends up in our rivers, lakes, and seas because sewage systems do not remove it from the water. Moreover, pills may kill essential system components like good bacteria, harming the septic tank.
10. Chemicals and Hazardous Materials
To help reduce water pollution, never flush medications or potentially harmful household items, such as paint and some cleaning agents, including oven, window, and tile cleaners, down the toilet. The best way to dispose of medicines is to drop them off at a drug-take-back location. It is also recommended to locate a collection service in your area that can assist you in recycling or properly getting rid of household hazardous garbage.
Always remember that your toilet is not for flushing your garbage down the toilet as certain things can be very harmful to your plumbing system. To protect your plumbing, always remember this list of things not to flush down the toilet. If in doubt, throw the item in the trash instead.
If you need a Danforth plumber for your toilet needs, call Tom Day Plumbing at (416) 480-0622 today!