Formerly Jim's Plumbing

Using a plunger to clear a blocked toilet

25 Things to NEVER Flush Down the Toilet

Toilets. What a wonderful invention! They're designed to handle some nasty sessions on the throne.

Unfortunately, not everything can or should go down the loo. There are some common objects which can easily block or damage your drains. Yet again and again people decide to flush away their problems.

What should you flush down the toilet? Here’s the rule: only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed into your plumbing system.

Here are 25 household items you should never flush down the toilet.

1. Paper Towels

Yes, paper towels aren’t that different from toilet paper. But their additional absorbency and durability mean they clean big spills and do not break down as easily. A clump of paper towels in the toilet bowl can easily turn into a blockage.

2. Wet Wipes

Some brands try to claim their wet wipes are flushable. They’re not. Even biodegradable wipes should not go down to the drain. While they will eventually break apart, if you flush baby wipes or makeup remover, the short-term impact is the short term impact is often a big nasty fatberg in the sewer system.

3. Dental Floss

Floss is like a lasso, wrangling wild, untamed toilet paper and debris in the drain. So even though one tiny thread might not seem like a problem, it can latch onto other bits of waste and rubbish. And as everything ties together, bigger clumps form and blockages worsen. Never flush dental floss.

4. Contact Lenses

Another minuscule bit of rubbish that seems easy to flush, contact lenses should always be recycled properly or placed in the trash. Contacts will not necessarily contribute to toilet clogs, but they are harmful to the environment. Made of plastics like hydrogel or silicone hydrogel, they take up to 500 years to break down. And with billions of contact lenses used every year, the environmental impact on wildlife is especially harmful.

5. Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is sticky and clumpy. Just think of all the tales about swallowing gum and how it sticks to your insides. While that’s an exaggeration, drains are a different matter. Gum will stick to the side of the pipes and anything else that heads down the drain. Repeated gum flushing definitely causes blockages and long term problems.

6. Dead Animals

If Goldy has kicked the bucket, please skip the bathroom funeral. Your beloved pet deserved a proper burial. Small animals such as fish should never be flushed down the toilet. Hold a proper ceremony using biodegradable materials and let nature do its thing.

7. Insects

After squashing a spider or cockroach, think twice about sending it down the toilet. Not only is it a waste of water if you flush every time, but if the bug’s wrapped up in a paper towel or something durable, it may not break up fast enough. Instead, go for the rubbish bin or put the insect in the garden for other little critters to munch on. Or at least stick to toilet paper for flushing dead insects.

8. Condoms

Let’s cut to the chase. Condoms should never be flushed down the toilet. Therefore, after you’re done being safe, safely put it in the bin.

9. Nappies

Firstly, why would you want to flush a nappy? It doesn’t fit in the drain! It’s a disastrous idea. Nappies are designed to absorb moisture, and if you really want to flush them, expect a clog. Please just avoid the mess and take used diapers to the bin outside.

10. Q-tips, cotton balls

Cotton buds, cotton balls and the like don’t break apart in water. They just clump together and cause a nuisance. The actual Q-tip stick also gets jammed in bends or caught in other material.

11. Tissues

High quality tissues are especially resilient and don’t tear apart easily. If you like to use extra thick, luxurious tissues, the best place to put the rubbish is in the bin. They may not break down fast enough to clear your drains and the unnecessary hassle of blockage outweighs the convenience of a flush.

12. Tampons and Pads

Pads and tampons are designed to absorb moisture. If you mixed that ability with toilet water, you’ll have an expanding barricade of feminine products forming inside your sewer pipes. That will never end well.

13. Hair

Human hair takes about two years to break down. The short term impact on your drains is not worth a potential blockage tied together by strands of hair. Even short hair is a problem so let’s keep those drains bald.

14. Medicine

The mixture of chemicals is not a good thing for sewers. This is hazardous waste. Tablets and pills are best kept out of the drains.

15. Cat Litter

Kitty litter is never okay to flush! The absorbent properties of litter are terrible for drains. Recycled cardboard pellets, crystals or sandy litter must stay out of the toilet. Harmful bacteria such as Toxoplasma gondii is also bad for humans and should not be mixed into waterways and potentially recycled water.

16. Cigarettes

The only place cigarettes butts should go to is the bin. Never flush them. Never throw cigarette butts on the ground. Put the cigarette butts into the rubbish bin.

17. Fat, Oil and Grease

Don’t send your fat, soap or grease down the drain. In colder conditions, they will harden and create a hodge-podge mixture of nasties in the drain. Fat, grease and cooking oils build up in drains will cause water to flow more slowly and give off bad smells.

18. Bleach

Now, this is debatable, however, due to the harsh nature of bleach, it can negatively impact drains. Recurring use can cause some drains to corrode and leaks will form. Either dilute the strong stuff or clean the toilet and drains with specific toilet cleaner which is already diluted.

19. Band-aids

Don’t be lazy and flick the band-aid into the toilet while you’re sitting there. The plastic is not good for the environment and the bin is always the best spot for band-aids and bandages.

20. Toys

Maybe tell the kids this one (again)! The toilet is not a plaything and toys are among the things you should never flush. No one wants to see a car, doll or whatever else, get flushed away.

21. Paint

We know most people are smart enough to not pour paint down the loo, but some do love shortcuts. Due to the hazardous nature of paint pigments, binders, additives and solvents, paint should never end up in sewerage or rainwater drains. Look for a local recycling centre which collects paint.

22. Food

Leftover food never goes into the toilet, period.

23. Small Rubbish

Sometimes you walk around with a little bit of rubbish, like a tiny ball of paper, cling wrap or tape. It feels small enough to drop in the toilet while you’re there. But think again. Hard bits of waste which don’t break down quickly are destined for the rubbish bin. Always recycle if possible, too.

24. Fingernails

Keep those clippings away from the sewer! Fingernails take around 40 years to decompose, far too long to be left in a drain.

25. Body Parts

Firstly, don’t kill anyone. Secondly, don’t be like the Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who was caught by a plumber because of clogged pipes. Nilsen killed at least a dozen men at his London home, flushing some of the remains down the toilet. Now, you see where this is going?

One day Nilsen called a plumber because he had a blocked drain. The plumber who tried to clear the clog discovered flesh-like substances and small bones. One thing led to another, and Nilsen was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. See? Actions do have consequences.

Interest Free** Blocked Toilet Repairs

No matter what you’ve flushed down the toilet, from sanitary products to non biodegradable plastic or too much toilet paper, when your loo is blocked you need plumbing help straight away. If you’re concerned about your finances, we’ve got you covered.

Plumber Near Me offers a range of interest free** payment options for eligible customers. Your plumber can take you through the easy application process and approval usually only takes a few minutes.

Then you have the ease of paying in weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments, depending on the plan you choose from one of our providers (Zip or Humm). Some plans even accept a $0 deposit, so you pay nothing upfront.

We also accept payment by cash, cheque, direct transfer or credit card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express).

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.