Everyday Items You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

Are flushable wipes really flushable?

24-hour plumbers in Australia are often called during out-of-office hours to address a toilet blockage. From there, they would assume that it’s that time again when they would spend hours fishing out wet wipes from blocked pipes—and in most cases, they were right.

If this isn’t any indication, wet wipes are not flushable, regardless of how they are advertised being so. This is particularly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic as Australia faces a shortage of toilet paper and people are turning to alternatives like wet wipes. This resulted in the 22% increase in wastewater blockages caused by residents flushing these products down the toilet.

Why You Shouldn’t Flush Wet Wipes Down the Toilet

Wet wipes are usually made from synthetic materials like plastics and polyester. So, unlike toilet paper, they don’t disintegrate in water and when you flush them down your toilet, they end up clogging the sewers instead.

Flush enough wet wipes into the sewers and you could be shelling out at least $16,000 to pay for a 24-hour plumber who would clear the pipes and repair the damages you have caused.

But, it’s not only wet wipes you should worry about. There are many other things that you shouldn’t toss into the toilet:

  1. Cotton – Cotton, in all its forms—swabs, pads, balls, etc.—are not safe to flush. Like wet wipes, they don’t dissolve in water and what they do instead is clump together in the pipes, eventually causing a blockage.
  2. Sanitary Products – Tampons, sanitary pads, even diapers. These products are made to absorb liquid, not break down in it. It means when you flush them down the toilet, they will merely expand and that doesn’t sound good for your plumbing. Diapers are probably already too big for the toilet, in the first place.
  3. Dental Floss – While seemingly small and innocent, floss is made out of non-biodegradable materials that don’t break down over time. They can wrap around other debris within the pipes, eventually causing some serious plumbing issues.
  4. Medication – Flushing away old pills does not dispose of them. Instead, they get into the water and cause serious environmental effects, contaminating our water resources and exposing us to the chemicals in these drugs.
  5. Hair – Like dental floss, hair can clog your plumbing system. It also forms some form of a net that traps all kinds of dirt that goes into the toilet, even odour. What’s worse is that it floats and doesn’t dissolve in water.
  6. Food – You would think that because food is biodegradable and will eventually break down, it’s safe to throw them into the toilet. But, that just isn’t the case as you could be facing some serious clogging before that happens.
  7. Kitty Litter – Aside from the so-called flushable wipes, there are also kitty litter brands claimed to be flushable. But, the problem is that most toilets don’t use enough water to move the waste down the pipes and as a result, more waste piles up.
  8. Gum – Aside from the fact that chewing gum doesn’t break down in the water, it can also easily adhere to the inside walls of your toilet and pipes, causing clogs. Throw your gum out where it’s supposed to be: the wastebasket.
  9. Cigarette Butts – Cigarette butts are already everywhere—on the streets, on public places, and in the waters. If you could do one thing for the environment, at least throw them out properly. Aside from causing clogs, throwing cigarettes down the drain means throwing chemicals into the water as well.

In times of a pandemic, one of the last things we need is wastewater flooding the streets. Do your part and stop flushing these and many other items down the toilet. These items are not flushable, so they have to go to the rubbish bin.

However, if it’s too late and you are now caught in an emergency situation, do not think twice about calling a local plumbing company to do the job for you. Only licensed plumbers and professionals with years of experience can fix plumbing headaches with speed and accuracy. For severe drainage and sewer issues, they can provide you with cost-effective solutions, such CCTV pipe inspections, pipe relining, and drain relining Sydney wide.

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