6 Things That Should Never Be Flushed

CALL (206) 789-4944

Serving the Greater Seattle Area

Hands gripped around plunger to unclog a toilet bowl

The toilet and the trash can are not the same thing. Everyone knows this, but when you’re in a hurry or feeling lazy, you might go ahead and toss that garbage in the toilet. What harm could it do? Quite a bit, in fact. In this post, Bob Oates Sewer & Rooter will discuss six things that should never be flushed.

Trash can do a lot of damage to your home’s pipes, especially an aging sewer line, and even the municipal sewer system. Plumbing and home improvement costs are on the rise partly due to flushed items that are not regarded as trash by those who do the flushing.

Flushing non-human waste down the toilet also wastes water. Depending on the brand and model of your home toilets, you can waste about three gallons of water each time you flush. For habitual flushers of trash, this boosts your water bill.

Here are the six things that should never get flushed.

1. Food

People may think food is warm, moist, and soft when it slips down the toilet, and that’s the end of it. As experts in sewer repair, we can tell you that’s not the case. Pasta and rice regularly go down the toilet, but they don’t remain small or soft. These materials bloat with water and clog pipes, and starchy foods can also damage main city sewer lines.

Grease is another food item constantly getting flushed. It goes down smoothly but soon solidifies, lining the inside of pipes and creating major jams. When these blockages get severe, you’ll need a professional Seattle rooter service to help clear the pipes.

2. Condoms

Condoms are not easy to flush, but somehow people manage it. Down in the sewers, they fill with air and bob on the surface. When they deflate, they stick to the lining of pipes and prevent an even flow of water, eventually contributing to major blockage.

Knowing how to care for your home plumbing system before it gets to the point of needing to call a plumber is the key to saving your house and hundreds of dollars in plumbing and home improvement costs. In extreme cases — when it’s time for the pros to step in — trenchless sewer line repair or replacement may be a cost-effective way to resolve such issues.

3. Pets

Fish are among the most common flushable critters that receive water burials. But some families believe dead gerbils, hamsters, lizards, snakes, and others deserve to rest “at sea” as well. Unfortunately, bones of any kind do not disintegrate but get caught in the pipes and cause backups and clogs.

As a trusted plumber in Seattle for decades, the team here at Bob Oates has seen our fair share of these unusual blockages.

4. Diapers

Parents want to do the right thing, but they are often too tired and pressed for time, so diapers find their way down the toilet. But diapers are designed to be super absorbent. Because of this, it is rare a diaper makes it past the U-bend once it has been flushed, and in fact can cause a horrible pipe blockage.

5. Paint and Construction Debris

Paint is thick by design. When it mixes with grease or fat from food, it creates a large block of hardness. The paint and grease mixture blocks everything in its path, which eventually includes water. This will create extreme damage when the water backs up through your home’s pipes.

If caught before a full replacement is necessary, a sewer pipe lining service can provide a solution without the need for extensive excavation.

6. Medications and Drug Paraphernalia

Outdated and leftover prescription medications should never be flushed down the toilet, because they are harmful substances in other ways. Medications may not affect the pipes but they will flow through your city’s sanitation and waste-water treatment plant.

This means prescription drugs could end up in your drinking water! Drug paraphernalia such as syringes and latex gloves should also never be flushed because they obviously can cause pipe blockage.

Wrapping Up

Knowing how to care for your home plumbing system before it gets to the point of needing to call a plumber is the key to saving your house and hundreds of dollars in plumbing and home improvement costs. And while we already called out six things that should never be flushed, here are three more items to add to your list and avoid an emergency plumbing service call:

  • Baby wipes
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Quilted toilet paper

You may be asking, “What’s left to flush?” The answer would be: toilet paper and human waste. That’s all. Unless you want to pay for expensive plumbing and home improvements the next time someone flushes a non-approved flushable item.

If you or a family member does accidentally send something from this list down the toilet, try troubleshooting the problem first. Emergency sewer rooter repairs are expensive and maybe you can correct the problem without assistance.

For example, if you have a toilet that keep running, take a moment to see if it can be fixed without having to pay for a service call. At Bob Oates, we’re always here to help — including free advice over the phone! And, of course, we’re here anytime you need professional plumbing services. Give us a call or schedule an appointment today!


Request my Free Estimate

No-Flow logo

Puget Sound's original provider of Nu Flow Technologies

Happy customer and holding doggie
five stars favicon

Rated 5 Stars by Johanna G.
via Yelp.com

"Nothing but great experiences with Bob Oates! Would highly recommend for all your sewer and plumbing needs! Honest, hard working company!"

BOMA King County favicon

Proud Member of BOMA

CALL (206) 789-4944

Serving the Greater Seattle Area