In part one of this two-part blog series, we discussed some of the commonly unclogged items that should never be flushed down a toilet or enter a home’s plumbing system at all. In this installment, we will continue the discussion on what not to flush, as well as wrap up with a list of things that are perfectly acceptable to flush.
Paper towels or tissues
While many people believe that marketing paper products as toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissues, and napkins is just a clever guise for paper product companies to sell you four versions of the same product, this is simply not true. Each product is made differently, with different quality focuses. Toilet paper is specially made to dissolve shortly after being flushed, which is why you may have noticed it falls apart and turns to mush when you try to use it to clean up messes. Paper towels are designed just the opposite, for durability and to absorb as much liquid as possible. If you flush paper towels, they will prove to be as stubborn to break down and as resilient as their advertising promises, no matter how cheap they are! This can cause a pretty unsightly blockage in your plumbing system.
It should go without saying, but it is still worth mentioning, that paper of any kind, including photos, should also not be flushed. If you would like to rid your home of memories or evidence, use your fireplace or a shred bin, not your plumbing system, for if you use your plumbing system, the evidence may resurface by way of a massive clog that results in sewage backup —creating a true Watergate situation.
Food or grease
Food and grease belong in your dog’s bowl, the trash can, or your compost pit, never in your garbage disposal or toilet. Your toilet is not a trash can. While it may be tempting to flush food to prevent the smells from lingering in your kitchen, don’t. Many people are under the impression that we flush food in the form of human feces so flushing it before it is eaten should be just as fine, right? Wrong. Food, especially grease and fats, will congeal and cause serious blockages —in your gut, your arteries, and your home’s plumbing system! Once you have consumed food, your body breaks it down, using quite a complex process, before it exits your body as flushable excrement. Food and feces are nowhere near the same and should be regarded as such — for the love of your dinner guests.
We see this all the time, people will clean the shower or tub drain traps and flush the matted hair that was caught. Consider this, though, if you didn’t want the hair to go down the shower drain because you knew it would clog the drain, why is the toilet drain exempt? The answer is, it isn’t. Because the toilet is flushed with force, many people are under the misconception that whatever is flushed will be forced out of their plumbing system. Hair is a major culprit in clog creation, especially when it is able to wrap itself securely to something else — like a grease clog or a baby toy that was flushed.
Well, what CAN I flush?
With all these “don’ts,” you may think that we don’t want you to put anything down your toilet at all — why even have a toilet to begin with! What can you flush, you ask? It’s quite simple and the list is short enough to remember easily; you can flush three things: pee, poop, and toilet paper — and, that’s it! If these are the only three things that are allowed into your toilet and down your plumbing system, the chances of you encountering a clog (that your handy plunger can’t solve) are slim to none.
Use these tips as a guideline for proper toilet etiquette and a way to educate those who share your home plumbing system on proper usage to keep your plumbing system healthy and your toilet flowing for decades to come. The main takeaway here is: your toilet is not a trashcan, it is a human waste receptacle. If your toilet has been misflushed and you need a reliable local plumber, contact us at Culler Plumbing today!