Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Coronavirus prep – What not to flush down your toilet
Ever since news that the coronavirus would soon affect people in the tristate, we plumbers started getting requests to repair clogged toilets. The culprit? Disposable wipes used to sanitize everything from countertops to sinks and appliances. Today, they’re hard to come by in stores, and while some people have stopped trying to flush them down the toilet, we’re still getting calls.
So what else shouldn’t you flush down the toilet? As a general rule, if you wouldn’t flush it down the sink, you shouldn’t flush it down the toilet, either. Below is a list of items we’ve removed from pipes after someone tossed them in the commode.
Disposable wipes. These wipes are made of materials that simply do not break down in the pipes. Although many brands advertise that their wipes are disposable, we know from experience that they are not. If you’re using disposable wipes in the bathroom, have a trash can near the toilet and toss them in there after use.
Feminine products. Avoid flushing tampons and sanitary napkins down the toilet. Tampons expand as they take in water and once a few get flushed they’ll cause a serious blockage in the pipes. And it doesn’t matter how old your plumbing is – feminine products can wreak havoc in pipes in even the newest homes.
Diapers. Like tampons, diapers expand in water. While the waste in the diapers is certainly flushable, the diaper itself needs to be tossed. Once a flushed diaper gets in the bend of the pipe, it simply won’t go any further.
Pills. Pills aren’t going to clog your pipes, but they can contaminate ground water and pollute everything from the soil where we grow our food to wildlife. The best way to dispose of your old medicine is to take it back to the pharmacy where your prescription was filled. Take a look at these tips from the FDA.
Dental floss. A strand of dental floss seems innocent enough, but once you start tossing used strands in the toilet, you’re risking a clog. Dental floss is made from material that doesn’t break down, so it’s best to toss the floss in the trash bin.
Paper towels. Sure, it’s paper, but it’s not the same as toilet paper. The same goes from face tissues. For both, avoid flushing down the toilet. Better yet, invest in reusable hand towels. That way, you’ll be saving money in the long run and helping out the environment.
Toilet paper. That’s right, even toilet paper can clog your toilet. Use 100% biodegradable, single-ply toilet paper and use only a few squares at a time. The more toilet paper you use for one or two flushes, the better your chances of needing a plumber.
Truth is, sometimes the cheapest toilet paper is the best bet to avoid clogs. And since toilet paper is in high demand these days, the cheapest may be all you can get. In this case, that’s a good thing.
With a little effort, you can reduce toilet clogs and keep dangerous ingredients out of groundwater. Remember to keep a trash bin near the toilet and if it isn’t toilet paper, toss it in the bin.
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