10 Things You Should NEVER Flush Down the Toilet

5 min read
Toilet And Sink

Save yourself some money and headaches by not flushing these ten things down the toilet.

10. Tissues, Paper Towels, and Wipes

Paper Towels
Source: Pixabay

Kleenex and paper towels may seem very similar to toilet paper, but they’re actually quite different. As a result, they should never be flushed down the toilet. That’s because these products do not dissolve easily like toilet paper, leading to the likelihood that your toilet will become clogged. Not only that, but it could also cause problems for your septic tank or your water treatment facility.

As for those “flushable” wipes, don’t let the label fool you. Those wipes DO NOT disintegrate in water as quickly as toilet paper, which, again, can lead to a clogged toilet or clogged sewer pipes.

9. Pets

Source: Pixabay

If you had a goldfish when you were a kid, chances are your parents flushed it down the toilet when it died. But, flushing a goldfish, or any pet for that matter, down the toilet is not a good idea. Like tissues, paper towels, and wipes, pets don’t disintegrate in water. And, believe it or not, even small animals like goldfish can run a great chance of clogging your sewage system. So, what’s the solution, then? Toss them in the garbage can or give them a proper burial in your backyard.

8. Food

Chicken Bones
Source: Pixabay

Food belongs in the garbage or in the garbage disposal, not in the toilet. That means no bones, shells, grounds, or any leftover pieces of food, and yes, that includes soft foods. And, whatever you do, NEVER try to flush gum down the toilet. That’s because gum does not dissolve in water. In fact, it just stays sticky. And, as a result, it could end up sticking to your pipes, which will most certainly cause clogs.

7. Pills

Source: Pixabay

Once upon a time people flushed pills and other types of medication down the toilet without a care in the world. In fact, they thought it was the safest way to dispose of expired or unwanted medication. But, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. That’s because chemicals from medications can leak into sewer systems and even groundwater. Those chemicals, in turn, can contaminate water supplies and harm or even kill marine life. So, instead of flushing your meds down the toilet, take them to be professionally discarded through a local disposal program, at a local pharmacy, or even the local police department.

6. Condoms

Source: Pixabay

I’m not sure why anyone would flush a condom down the toilet, but it happens. Now, I know what you’re thinking: you shouldn’t flush condoms down the toilet because they’ll cause clogs. Well, you’re right. But, that’s not the only reason why you shouldn’t do it. It’s not just the condom materials (e.g. latex) that are bad for your pipes. The lubricants used with them are also bad for your plumbing. So, instead of flushing them down the toilet, do yourself a favor and just toss them in the trash.

5. Tampons

Source: Pixabay

Here’s another item that people flush down the toilet but shouldn’t. I mean, you wouldn’t flush a maxi pad down the toilet so why would you attempt to flush a tampon? Unfortunately, many people are under the assumption that that’s the way you’re supposed to dispose of tampons. But, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. They can easily create clogs deep in your pipes. So, instead of flushing them, wrap them in toilet paper or a paper towel and toss them in the trash.

4. Hair

Source: Pixabay

We all know what hair can do when it gets stuck in the sink or tub drain. Likewise, you shouldn’t flush hair down the toilet either. You’ll just end up with a clog in a different part of your plumbing. The reason why hair causes clogs is that it doesn’t dissolve in water. It just, “floats and gets caught on its way out the toilet, snagging whatever comes its way,” an article published by TODAY reads. So, instead of having to pay a big repair bill, toss the hair in the trash instead.

3. Kitty Litter

Kitty Litter
Source: Wikimedia Commons By CambridgeBayWeather / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Now, you would think that the appropriate way to dispose of kitty litter would be in the toilet. After all, it’s urine and poop, right? Right. But, according to TheSpruce.com, “the waste of your cat and the litter itself are both very bad for your sewage system.” That’s because, “cat litter is made of clay and sand, which are both very absorbent, [and] your cat’s waste contains a variety of toxins and parasites that can be dangerous to water supplies,” TheSpruce.com said on its website. So, even if you have cat litter that says “flushable” on the label, don’t do it. You’ll most certainly regret it.

2. Cigarettes

Source: Pixabay

There are several reasons you should never flush cigarettes down the toilet. For one thing, they contain lots of harmful chemicals that contaminate water sources and harm fish, other animals, and the environment. Another issue is that the filters and plastic-tipped butts can clog your pipes and can also get stuck in your septic tank very easily. That being said, the best thing to do when you’re finished smoking a cigarette is to put it in an ashtray. And, once that’s full, empty it into the trash.

1. Dental Floss

Dental Floss
Source: Pixabay

As thin as dental floss is, you’d think it would be perfectly fine to flush it down the toilet. The problem with that is that dental floss is made of nylon or Teflon.  These components aren’t biodegradable and don’t break down over time. And, if you floss daily and flush it down the toilet, those thin strands will add up over time and cause serious plumbing problems. “Floss can combine with other items, such as single-use wipes (like baby wipes), and form balls that can grow quite sizable and can clog sewers and pumps,” Rosales-Ramirez told The Huffington Post, according to an article published by Good Housekeeping magazine. “Sometimes these items also combine with tree roots and grease and create huge problems for sewer systems.” Unfortunately, drain cleaners won’t solve the problem as they aren’t formulated to dissolve dental floss. You’ll probably have to call a plumber instead.


Now that you know what you shouldn’t flush down the toilet, take a minute to learn what things you should never pour down the drain.