We like to think of the toilet as a flushable utensil for trash removal. However, it should be used primarily for human waste elimination. A moderate amount of toilet paper can be accommodated with each flush. However, other objects that may seem similar in use should not go into the toilet, as they can cause a clog, backup, or damage.
Any type of feminine hygiene products should not be flushed in the toilet. They may not even flush out of the bowl, or they could go partly through the pipe but then get stuck along the way. This can cause water and waste to back up into the bowl and possibly overflow the toilet. Dispose of these products in a waste bin for this purpose. In public, these are usually mounted in an individual stall within a women’s restroom. At home, you can place the discarded products in the regular or a special waste receptacle for this purpose.
Many parents and children’s caregivers associate baby wipes with toilet paper since they are used for the same purpose. They might even think that the wipes, already damp, might be more easily flushed than the toilet paper. However, plumbers indicate that baby wipes are one of the most common causes of a backed-up toilet or septic tank. You can roll up the diaper wipes with the diaper and dispose of everything in the regular trash, not the toilet.
It may be tempting to toss small grooming articles and products into the toilet after using them. Or, if they fall in accidentally, you might not think it’s important to retrieve them, and that they will flush safely into the plumbing system. Small objects like dental pics, dental cotton swabs or cotton balls, small used bandages, hairpins, or paper protector tabs pulled off of deodorant containers won’t cause problems when flushed. Some might get through the plumbing, but others are likely to get stuck somewhere, especially if there are several, and cause problems. Dispose of them in the regular waste can.
Using toxic, corrosive chemical products to unclog a clogged toilet can also be problematic. While the fluid won’t stop up the commode, and in fact, may unclog it by removing or reducing debris, it can damage the plumbing pipes and parts of the toilet. When your toilet backs up or clogs, call a residential plumber for help. A professional knows how to evaluate the problem and fix it.
No one likes working with a clogged toilet. Be careful about what you flush and discard used items in the proper receptacles.