The most common household items that clog toilet pipes 04 Oct 2021

10 Common Household Items That Can Clog Toilet Pipes

Clogged toilets are not good; they can be annoying and expensive to fix. Often, they’re caused by flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed. If that has already happened to you, then contact Brothers Plumbing for service. Even if these items make it through your pipes, they can cause trouble further down the sewage system and wastewater treatment plant.

While many of us already know that we can’t just flush what we please down the toilet, sometimes the habit is hard to break. Whether you’ve become accustomed to flushing Q-tips, cat litter, or anything else that doesn’t belong there, your actions can cause you hassles in the long run. These items can build up over time, causing significant clogs in the system.

According to the City of Toronto, even products labelled flushable or biodegradable can cause problems if flushed. They can cause the water to back up in your home or worse. In some cases, flushing these items can damage city pipes and cause basement flooding. They can even hinder the work at wastewater treatment plants or present a hazard to the environment.

Here are some of the most common items around your home that you may think can be flushed, but shouldn’t be.

1. Too much toilet paper

While toilet paper is something you can flush, you don’t want to try to put too much down at once. There are times when young children will see this as a game, but they should be taught not to do it. You’ll also need to instruct them on just how much to use at a time.

2. Feminine hygiene products

Feminine hygiene products like tampons should not be flushed down the toilet. Even if the box indicates it is safe or biodegradable, it can be a major culprit for clogs. So, instead of flushing them, toss them in the trash instead.

3. Diapers or wipes

Parents trying to get rid of the smell of dirty diapers will sometimes try and flush them. However, these items are too large to easily make their way through your pipes, meaning you’ll almost certainly end up with a clog. They don’t break down and can quickly get stuck.

Baby wipes may seem suitable enough to flush, but they’re not. They can build up in your pipes over time, thus costing you in repairs. It’s best to throw diapers and wipes into a particular garbage bin and empty it often.

4. Paper towels or cleaning wipes

It can be tempting to toss paper towels or cleaning wipes down the toilet when you’re done using them, but it’s best not to. The absorbency of paper towels differs from toilet paper, which means paper towels will quickly clog your pipes. Additionally, cleaning wipes have chemicals that don’t belong in the water supply. They too can start to accumulate in your plumbing system and cause problems.

5. Medication

Did you know that traces of medications are being found in the environment, according to the City of Toronto? These elements cannot be removed through regular wastewater treatment, which means it gets into the water supply. It can cause sickness for animals and people too. Your prescriptions should be returned to the pharmacy for proper disposal rather than flushed or tossed in the garbage.

6. Food

Food scraps are not considered waste products and should not be flushed. Unlike human waste, food does not break down in the same way. If you flush leftovers or other food items, they can get stuck in your pipes. Even oil and grease can solidify in your pipes and cause drainage issues.

7. Pet fish

If you have a pet fish that has passed on, flushing it is not the best way to say goodbye. Despite kid’s movies that claim every toilet is connected to the ocean, your beloved goldie will only end up in a wastewater treatment facility. There, your fish can cause problems with the system. It may even turn out that your fish is not dead and makes its way into a local waterway where it becomes an invasive species.

8. Cat litter

Cleaning up after your pets can be one of the most unpleasant things. You may have considered toilet training your animals, but it can be difficult. The next best thing could seem like simply flushing their waste. While animal waste can be flushed, as it breaks down just like human waste, materials like cat litter don’t. Even if a product promotes itself as a flushable or biodegradable form of cat litter, it can still cause damage to your plumbing.

9. Hazardous chemicals

Just like medications can make their way into the water system and cause danger to the environment and people, so too can household chemicals. These items should never be flushed:

  • Antifreeze
  • Motor oil
  • Auto washer fluid
  • Household cleaners
  • Bleach
  • Disinfectants
  • Solvent
  • Glue/removers
  • Nail polish remover
  • Perfumes
  • Aftershave
  • Pesticides
  • Garden chemicals
  • Paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Gasoline/lighter fuel
  • Pest poison

Instead, dispose of them properly through one of Toronto’s chemical waste programs. You’ll be doing a good thing for the environment and preventing damage to your pipes and plumbing system.

10. Hair

While hair may seem like organic waste that can easily slip through your pipes, it shouldn’t be flushed. Flushing clumps of hair can result in a net-like shape being formed in your pipes. This net will catch other items, leading to a clog and backup in your toilet. This counts for human and animal or pet hair.

Avoid flushing all these items, and you should be able to steer clear of plumbing hassles. If your pipes do get clogged, however, you can count on us to help you out.

For more information about clearing a clogged toilet and other plumbing services in Toronto, call Brothers Plumbing at 1-800-742-8471 or contact us here.

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