Four Things Not to Flush Away Down the Toilet

Serving South Jersey Since 1979

March 17, 2020

Your toilet is a fast, simple, and easy way to quite literally flush your waste away. They’re a sanitary way of handling human waste, they’re good for disposing of certain types of liquids, and can even handle some forms of solid waste like toilet tissue as well. However, toilets are not a simple solution to all of your waste disposal needs. In fact, there are quite a few things that you should not flush down the toilet. Doing so could cause a plumbing disaster, including backing up your toilet drain line, causing your toilet to overflow, and could potentially even break or cause damage to your drain line.

Paper Towels

You’re relieving yourself when you look down and notice that one of your worst fears has come to fruition: the toilet roll is completely empty. What heartless soul emptied the roll and didn’t bother to change it? That’s not really something you can worry about now—you need a solution and quick. The closest thing you can find is a roll of paper towels. That should work, right?

Not if you don’t want to back up your drain line. Paper towels are thicker, hardier, and built to withstand abuse even when wet. When you flush them down the drain, they don’t simply fall apart and disintegrate like a normal toilet roll would, but instead can become stuck and lodged in the sides of your drain lines, where they catch other debris and quickly build into a nasty and frustrating clog. If you do find yourself in a pinch and need to use a paper towel or two as a substitute for normal bath tissue, throw the towels away in the regular trash and then empty this trash straight away. It may not be pleasant, but we promise that eliminating a clog from an overflowing toilet is far worse.

Food Waste

Food waste has a number of similar problems to that of flushing paper towels, namely that they can stick to the walls of your plumbing and build up into a clog. Some people, particularly those who don’t have a garbage disposal, sometimes mistakenly believe that they can use their toilet as a substitute—we assure you, doing so is a mistake. Stringy foods like corn husks or asparagus, shells, and even fats like bacon or beef fat can all accumulate in your drain line and mix with other types of waste to make a nasty clog that’s particularly troublesome to get rid of. Do yourself a favor and make sure you’re disposing of food waste either down your garbage disposal (if it’s safe to do so) or in the regular trash (if it is not or if you don’t have a garbage disposal to begin with).

Feminine Hygiene Products

The toilet seems like one of the fastest, easiest, and most sanitary ways to dispose of feminine hygiene products, including tampons, pads, and more. There’s just one problem with these things: they are designed to expand when wet, and they will continue to do so after you flush them down the drain. We can’t tell you how many backed up toilets we’ve seen because of the misfortune of feminine products being flushed away, and we’d love for you to be able to avoid this hassle.

On a related note, avoid flushing condoms down the toilet once used as well. This may seem like a safe and fast way to get rid of them after use, but the truth is they too can get stuck to just about anything in your drain line. Plus these are designed to be durable and withstand stretching or snagging without breaking. Before you know it, you’ll have a nasty latex-backed clog to deal with.


By nature, diapers fill up with waste that would normally go into your toilet, so it would make sense that a toilet would be a great place to dispose of a diaper, right? Unfortunately, diapers have caused many a backed-up toilet drain line and many a frustrated homeowner who has needed to call a plumber for help. It may seem appealing to be able to simply dump the diaper in the toilet and flush it away, particularly because then you won’t have to worry about the stench in or around your home. However, diapers are also designed to expand when wet in order to absorb as much liquid as possible. Much like paper towels mentioned earlier, throw your diapers in the regular trash and then throw the regular trash away outside to keep the stench out of your home.

Got a clogged drain? Call the pros at EnviroSafe Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Water Treatment at (856) 208-5108 now!

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