Biodegradable or Not? That Is The Unflushable Question
Plumbers share cringe-worthy stories all the time about what people flush down the toilet.
For example, when you have small kids who are potty training, they become intrigued with the swirly water and how the toilet paper and their business just vanish by pushing a handle or button. When they start to experiment with their toys, that’s when the trouble begins!
We can’t always blame the kids for backed up toilets. Adults alike aren’t always educated about what not to send down the porcelain throne. It's not a free for all.
You must keep in mind that the pipes that take our human waste away are only 4” max in diameter and in some places narrower. By no means is everything as flushable as you may think.
Here’s a short list of DO NOT FLUSH items. Some of them may be obvious, but others not as much. We’ll make it less confusing:
PAPER TOWEL – Although paper towels seem to be biodegradable, it doesn’t break down as quickly as toilet paper. It’s absorbent and can really get caught up with other things, clogging up your drains. It is inefficient for septic systems as well. Please do not flush this product.
FACIAL TISSUE – We like to refer to it by one of its brand names: Kleenex®. Again, it is NOT as biodegradable as toilet paper, so not a flushable item. Some brands are even 3 ply, and don’t break-down as easily.
FEMININE PRODUCTS – No matter which way you look at it, feminine products were built to absorb and not break down. From tampons to pads to panty liners, they are a definite NO!
Also included on this list should be incontinence products.
FLUSHABLE WIPES – How convenient that these allegedly “flushable” products are actually not flushable at all. They’re built to hold and will clog your pipes and septic tanks (similar to paper towels). Definitely not advisable to flush.
DENTAL FLOSS – Why we even have to tell you this, is mind boggling. Just don’t do it! Put it in a trash receptacle. If you feel it’s not made of plastic, then put it in your green bin (wherever you recycle)
HAIR – Yes, people think it’s ok to flush hair down the toilet, but it is not ok. Much like sinks and shower drains, hair clogs up pipes and makes for a messy clean up.
COTTON BALLS – these don’t break down at all and pretty much fall into the same category as feminine products.
BANDAGES – these are often made of gauze and plastic (and in some cases fabric), but still are on the DO NOT FLUSH list.
You get the picture, right?
Toilets are a modern convenience, not a garbage disposal. Treat them with respect and you’ll never have to call the plumber to snake out your hidden secrets.