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Things We Put Down The Toilet But Shouldn’t

The toilet is one of the most used appliances in your home. And while the toilet was designed with one type of waste disposal in mind, it doesn’t stop people from disposing of many other things. As a plumber, we could write a book on the things we’ve cleared from plumbing lines: dental floss, children’s toys, even cell phones, to name a few. 

It might be tempting to get rid of things with only a flush. And your kids might be fascinated with sending things down the drain. But in reality, out of sight is not out of mind. Things We Put Down The Toilet But Shouldn’t

When you flush, the object has to travel down through your pipes, into the sewer system or septic tank. These systems aren’t made for disposing of these objects; it can clog and wreak havoc along the way. It can also add to environmental pollution.

So what shouldn’t you flush down the toilet?

Flushable wipes/baby wipes/cleaning wipes

These are becoming increasingly popular in our culture, and while the packaging may state that they are flushable, they aren’t. They are made of a thicker, more fibrous material that doesn’t break up the way toilet paper does. Instead, they bind together over time and cause major backups within the system. 

Feminine products

Again, they might say flushable on the packaging, but they clog up the system. Tampons and other feminine hygiene products should not be flushed down the toilet. 


Diapers are designed to collect human waste, but they aren’t meant to go down into your pipes. The material in a diaper is meant to expand to pull moisture away. When you flush, that material expands as it comes in contact with the water in the system. It might go down the drain in your toilet, but it won’t make it past the U-bend of the pipe. 

Paper towels/napkins/tissues

If you run out of toilet paper, don’t substitute with other paper products in your home. They are designed for other uses, which means the fabric used isn’t meant to dissolve as easily as toilet paper. Paper towels especially are designed for strength. When you flush them, they won’t dissipate, and they’ll slowly work to clog up the pipes leading out of your home. 

Q-tips/cotton balls/gauze

You use a variety of tiny products getting ready for the day. Cotton balls aren’t very big, and they’re often made using the same materials as toilet paper. But they’re designed with different purposes in mind. They clump together and won’t disintegrate with water. They congeal together with other waste and cause a mess in your pipes. 

When in doubt, don’t flush. 

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