What Not to Flush Down Your Toilet
Flushing things down the toilet seems like a quick, easy way to dispose of stuff at home, but it can be very expensive to fix and bad for the environment. Being in the apartment business, we’ve come across some strange things in the sewer lines when clearing out backups. When deciding what to flush, we recommend sticking to the three P’s: pee, poop, and paper (toilet). It’s a stinky situation, but it’s what we know works out best for the sewage lines, environment, and for you. Here is our list of 15 things you definitely should NOT flush down your toilet.
15 Things Not to Flush Down the Toilet
- Cooking oils, Grease, or Bacon Fat – Fats and greases should NEVER go into any of your drains. They start off as liquids when they are hot, but once you put them down the drain they cool and harden, causing wax-like buildup.
- Solid Foods – Solid foods can get lodged in the sewer lines and are better off being thrown out in the trash or composted.
- Pharmaceutical Drugs & Waste Products – The toilet might seem like the perfect place for your unused medicines, but flushing certain medicines can be bad for the environment and leave drug residues in our water system. So unless your medication has specific instructions for flushing, we ask that you follow these guidelines provided by the FDA for disposing unused medicines: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm. For the safety of our staff, we ask that you NEVER flush used (or unused) needles down the toilet.
- Cigarette Butts – Cigarette butts don’t break down in water are full of toxic chemicals that will end up in the water supply. So not only are they not good for you, but they aren’t good for the environment either!
- Feminine Hygiene Products – I know this is a tough one ladies, but tampons and applicators are the cause of tons of backups! Feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons are made to expand when they come in contact with liquids, so they often get caught in the pipelines and cause major backups.
- Cotton Swabs – Cotton swabs and balls seems like they would slide down the pipelines with ease, but they often get caught together in the pipe and cause large blockages.
- Disposable Diapers – Even though diapers are filled with pee and poop, it doesn’t mean they belong in the toilet. They don’t break down, and similar to pads and tampons, are designed to expand when they come in contact with liquids, causing massive back-ups.
- Condoms – Go ahead and get your giggles out, but these bad boys can cause terrible back-ups as well and are quite unpleasant to discover when unclogging backed up lines.
- Cat Litter – Kitty litter is one thing you should NEVER flush down the toilet. First off, most cat litters are made out of clay and when you add clay to water it creates a cement layer that will eventually clog your lines. Also, cat feces contain Toxoplasmosis, a parasite that is harmful to the water system and the environment when flushed.
- Animals / Pets – If your goldfish passes away, feel free to send it to toilet heaven, but anything larger than a goldfish may clog the drains. Your city or county may have specific instructions for disposing of deceased pets, so it is best to check with them on the procedures for proper disposal. Here is the link to Sacramento County’s instruction on what to do with dead animals: http://www.wmr.saccounty.net/Pages/FAQ.aspx#q2.
- Bathroom Wipes / Paper Towels – Baby wipes, adult baby wipes, and paper towels look very similar to toilet paper, but they aren’t meant to be flushed like toilet paper. They don’t break down like toilet paper and can cause backups in our sewer systems.
- Dental Floss – Floss loves to wrap itself around other items in the sewage pipes causing smaller clogs to turn into larger clogs.
- Band-Aids – Even they seem small, band-aids still get stuck in the pipelines. Also, they are not biodegradable or ecofriendly.
- Poisons, Fertilizers, Paint, & Hazardous Waste – It goes without saying that flushing poisons, fertilizers, paint, and hazardous waste to is not good for the environment or the water system.
- Motor Oil – The cool thing about motor oil is that even though it may get dirty, it can be recycled! If you’re looking to recycle some of your used motor oil, here is how you can safely dispose of it: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/usedoil/Recycle.htm.
Time to get back to work!
-The DJA Team