DIY Plumbing | What Not To Flush

picture of a toilet
“It’ll be fine” are often the last words that go through many of our customers’ heads right before they see water filling up in the toilet bowl rather than draining. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. The good news is that most of your toilet clogs are avoidable by throwing certain things in the trash rather than trying to flush them. In this post, we’ll go over the main culprits that need to be kept out of your toilet.

Femining hygiene products

Tampons, pads or other hygiene products should never be flushed down the toilet. The products will swell once they are soaked in water and can easily get caught in the “u” bend of your toilet or in bends further down the plumbing system.

Dental Floss

It may seem harmless because it’s so thin, but dental floss isn’t biodegradable and can cause clogs and backups. It can also harm the environment and wildlife if it ends up in water sources.

Baby wipes or wet wipes

Even wipes that are labeled “flushable” can harm your pipes. It’s best to keep any sort of wipes out of your plumbing. Keep a trash can near the toilet for these instead.

Cotton balls, Q-tips, or any other absorbent bathroom product

Cotton won’t break apart when soaked with water like toilet paper will. They’ll swell instead and clump together in pipe bends causing blockages.


While these aren’t likely to clog your pipes, they cause serious damage to groundwater and wildlife. The pills will break down in water and the chemicals from the pills will contaminate water sources used by both humans and wildlife. If you need to get rid of pills look for medicine take-back programs in your area.


Like feminine products, diapers are meant to absorb water. It’s unlikely that a diaper will even make it down the drain in the first place due to its size, but on the chance that it does it will definitely expand and clog your pipes. Use a diaper pail instead and save yourself the hassle of fishing diapers out of your pipes.


Toy cars are fun, but not when they’re lodged in your plumbing pipes. Toys ending up in the toilet isn’t always avoidable (we know you’re not the one putting them there), but talking to kiddos can help them understand why their plastic dinosaurs don’t belong in the toilet.


Have you ever had to cut the hair off the roller on a vacuum cleaner? Not fun. Now imagine those clumps of hair getting caught on anything they can in your pipes and causing blockages except now you can see them to cut them off. To top it all off, hair will never dissolve in water no matter how long it is in there for. Do yourself a favor and keep hair as far away from your plumbing as possible including your sink and shower drains.


Like hair, chewing gum will never break down in water which means that if it’s in your plumbing system it’s gonna be there forever. It’s also sticky which means that it can easily get stuck to your pipes and cause obstructions. Stick with throwing gum in the trash so it doesn’t stick to your pipes.

Paper towels

Toilet paper flushes just fine so why wouldn’t paper towels? We get the reasoning behind this, but the fact is that paper towels do not break down in the same way that toilet paper does. It will wad up rather than break apart and cause serious blockages

Cooking grease

Cooking grease is thin when it’s hot and looks like it shouldn’t be a problem for your pipes, but when it cools it thickens and coats your pipes causing serious problems. Your best bet is to collect cooking grease in jars and throw them away.


While bleach won’t clog your pipes, it is way too harsh on your pipes. If you’re having trouble getting stains out of your toilet, try using vinegar instead for a less harsh alternative.

The best offense is a good defense, which means trying to keep these things out of your toilet in the first place. A safe bet is that if it isn’t human waste or toilet paper, then it probably shouldn’t be going in your toilet. Accidents do happen though and if you end up with one of these causing plumbing problems in your home then one of our trained professionals can help. Don’t hesitate to give us a call for any of your plumbing needs!