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What Not to Flush

Sanitary water lines are designed to dispose of only water, human waste and toilet paper. That may seem obvious, but then why do so many other materials and objects get flushed?

Pipe Spy plumbers do get called to remove non-flushable materials from toilets and sanitary lines, so we know it happens. We’ve found the following non-flushable items:

  • Disposable diapers
  • “flushable” wipes
  • dental floss
  • paper towels
  • excess toilet and facial tissue
  • feminine products

All these materials swell up, get caught on breaks or tree roots in the line and cause sewer backups. Diapers, wipes and feminine products should never be flushed, no matter what the packaging says.

  • Paper cups, paper plates, plastic wrap, cloth hand towels
  • Large foods scraps, bones, grease
  • Toys, watches, small bottles, cardboard boxes, pins, hair ties
  • Construction cones

These items don’t flow down the line easily, and will create a backup even if the sewer line is in good condition.

Every drain in your house leads to the sewer, so a little item down one drain plus a little item down another drain, plus, plus, plus… creates a blocked sewer eventually. Combine these items with the biggest drain line problem - "F.O.G.": fats, oils and grease - and you are due for a sewage spill. (For more on "F.O.G.", see our FAQ "How can I prevent a Sewer Backup")

The first line of defense is a change of habit - DON’T FLUSH items that shouldn't be flushed. The second line of defense is to prevent accidental flushes - close the lid before you flush, just in case something falls in. Use a lid lock consistently if you have small children in the house. If something does fall in, don’t flush repeatedly to ‘help’ it go down the pipe, doing so will only make the problem worse. And last, if something does fall in and you can’t retrieve it immediately, do call a plumber right away to prevent a major backup event. A little preventative service will go a long way, so you’ll Flush With Confidence® for years to come.