In our experience, many homeowners assume the toilet can be used as some sort of custom trash disposal; you wouldn’t believe the things we have cleared from septic systems!
We understand that it’s tempting to flush nearly anything down the toilet— out of sight, out of mind. Throwing caution to the wind is not a smart approach, however, as you run the risk of damaging septic tanks and city wastewater treatment centers, as well as contributing to toxic environmental pollution.
Most people don’t think about it until they have a massive clog or septic tank problems that require maintenance. This post offers several friendly tips to help homeowners understand exactly what can and can't be flushed in the toilet, while also discussing the repercussions of flushing certain items.
Why Should You Care?
Although the items you flush down the toilet may escape your home’s plumbing, the sewage blockages that can occur in the larger pipes will ultimately affect people beyond your family. Sewer services are a publicly operated service and thus, the cost to maintain that infrastructure is collected from taxes. So, more blockages ultimately lead to a higher public bill.
If what you’re flushing down the toilet doesn’t make it out of your home’s plumbing system, you may be faced with extensive damage, which may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. If you are in doubt about whether you can flush a particular item down the toilet, don’t do it
What Can't Be Flushed?
We want to help save you frustration and thousands of dollars in expensive repairs. Take heed and avoid flushing these items down the toilet.
Feminine Products: Sure, we understand the desire to get these items as far out of sight as possible, however, they don't play friendly with your septic system. As an alternative, wrap the feminine product in toilet paper and put it in a trash can.
Wet Wipes: Adult baby wipes are becoming increasingly popular each year, however, they often clog and backup sewage pipes. Some popular brands may argue that their wipes are flushable, promoting this convenience on their packaging. However, just because the wipes can pass through your toilet, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t causing harm. Plus, there are groups that are revising the guidelines for wipes, so in the near future you may see a noticeable DO NOT FLUSH symbol on the packaging. If you feel compelled to use wipes, throw them away in the trash can.
Cooking Grease: Yes, some homeowners find it acceptable to pour grease into the toilet. To be clear, grease should never be poured down any drain. Although it has roughly the same appearance as a liquid that could be dumped down a drain, when it cools, it will congeal and clog up your pipes. We advise that you collect grease in a glass jar and throw it away in the trash.
Diapers: We understand that there is human waste inside, but that doesn’t mean that diapers should be flushed. Diapers are created to expand in water. In the unlikely case you actually get the diaper to flush, it will likely get caught in the U-bend of the pipe.
Miscellaneous Items: Avoid flushing dental floss, q tips, cotton balls, pills, and cigarette butts. All of these items are not biodegradable and have the potential to cause serious clogs and environmental damage.
Well, What Can I Flush Then?
The only things that you should flush are poop, urine, and toilet paper. Unfortunately, even the thick and plush toilet paper (the only comfortable kind!) can sometimes be difficult to breakdown. To avoid clogging the drain, a courtesy flush is sometimes necessary. Be sure to be conservative with your toilet paper use. Don't assume that you are saving water or money but stuffing as much waste into the toilet as you can before flushing. In the end, having a drain specialist drive to your house to fix an expensive repair is no fun.
Ultimately, even the most safe homeowner can't avoid septic system issues--- problems arise naturally. In the unfortunate event of a drain issue, pick up the phone and call the experts at ADB Septic at 860-432-5996. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions that may arise.