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What Not to Flush Down Your Toilet

October 02, 2023

Keeping your home’s plumbing system in good working order is obviously one of the most important things you can do. After all, few things could be worse than realizing that your toilet is broken or clogged right when nature suddenly calls.

Unfortunately, this scenario is far more likely to happen than you might think if you’re among the huge number of people who continue to throw things in the toilet that really shouldn’t be flushed.

Despite what many people think, toilets are really only designed to handle human waste. Yes, you can also safely flush toilet paper, but this is really the limit of what you should be putting in the toilet, as anything else you flush could end up causing you serious plumbing problems.

Clogged toilets are one common problem most people face on occasion, and these can even occur simply because you tried to flush too much toilet paper.

Luckily, most of these minor clogs can usually be cleared up quickly and easily with the help of a plunger, whereas more major clogs can sometimes be eliminated by pouring a drain cleaning chemical down the toilet.

However, an even more serious problem can arise should those non-flushable items collect somewhere further down the sewage system. In this case, a blockage in your sewage line can make all of your home’s drains and toilets unusable.

Worse still, the problem can also cause sewage to begin to back up and flow out of your drains, or you could even end up with a yard full of sewage should the blockage be severe enough to cause your sewage line to rupture or break.

In any of these scenarios, your only hope of fixing the problem lies in the hands of a professional plumber who can get your plumbing repair done. The good news is that a skilled plumber will definitely be able to help—no matter how severe the problem is.

You can also avoid these problems by getting plumbing maintenance done regularly. Maintaining your pipes is extremely important to not only prevent emergency blockages, but to prevent any leaks as well.

However, the bad news is that you may end up facing an expensive repair bill and possibly be left unable to use your home’s plumbing for days or even weeks. Still, the easiest way to avoid these problems is to ensure that you, your children, and anyone else in your home never flush any of the following items down the toilet.

10 Items You Should Never Flush Down Your Toilet

So, with that being said, here’s our top 10 list of things to NEVER flush down the toilet.

Diapers, Baby Wipes and Wet Wipes

Some people mistakenly believe that modern diapers are flushable, but the truth is that diapers are by far one of the worst things you can flush. Today’s diapers are made of super-absorbent materials designed to wick away moisture to keep your baby’s bum dry.

The only problem is that these absorbent materials also expand when they get wet, which means that the diaper can swell to more than double its size when you toss it in the toilet. As a result, it is extremely likely to get stuck and cause a clog.

Baby wipes and wet wipes aren’t nearly as bad as diapers simply for the fact that they don’t absorb moisture. However, unlike toilet paper, these wipes don’t break down in water, which means that they can easily collect with other items to cause a clog.

Grease and Food Scraps

Ok, so we know that most people don’t toss leftover food or grease in the toilet, but there is still a very good reason to mention it. The reason is that grease, fat, oil, and food particles are often the primary culprits behind clogged drains and sewage lines. When these items are flushed or rinsed down the drain, they tend to congeal and collect along the sides of the pipes.

Over time, food particles, wipes, and other non-flushable items can stick to this layer of fat and begin to build up into a big clog. Therefore, it is essential that you make sure to never flush or wash any of these items down the drain.

Paper Towels and Tissues

Many people assume that, since they can flush toilet paper, they can flush any other paper products down the toilet as well. Therefore, it is worth noting one major difference between toilet paper and other paper products.

The important thing here is that toilet paper is much thinner than paper towels and other paper products, and it is designed this way to ensure that it easily breaks down when it comes into contact with water to ensure it flushes away easily.

However, this definitely isn’t true with paper towels, tissues, napkins, and other paper products. All of these are designed specifically to be absorbent and not break down in the water, which means they can easily lead to a clog if flushed.

Cotton Balls, Cotton Swabs and Makeup Remover Wipes

As with paper products, cotton balls and swabs can easily clog up your pipes when flushed. Makeup remover wipes are another item you need to watch out for. Although many of these wipes are marketed as flushable, the truth is that none of them truly are since they don’t break down in water.

Dental Floss

Most dental floss is made of strong, durable materials like nylon or Teflon. When flushed, the floss can easily be stuck or wrapped around other materials to create a big ball of debris that will definitely clog your pipes.


Although hair is obviously not as durable as dental floss, the fact is that it can still cause the exact same problems. One only has to look at how much hair often ends up clogging the shower drain to see how big of a problem this can be.

Feminine Products

As with makeup wipes, some tampons and pads market themselves as flushable. Nonetheless, the absorbent nature of these items means they can cause huge plumbing problems any time they’re flushed.


Latex condoms are designed to be strong and resistant to breaking. While this is obviously a good thing if you’re trying to prevent pregnancy, it is definitely not a good thing should they end up getting flushed down your toilet.

Contact Lenses

Although they may seem small, contact lenses can create the same problems as condoms, floss, and various other non-flushable items.

Cat Litter

This is yet another product where some manufacturers insist on the “flushable” labeling. Again, there is no such thing as flushable cat litter, and in fact, cat litter is one of the absolute worst things you can flush down the toilet.

Please Listen to Us

We only go through this list because, as plumbers, we’ve seen the havoc each one of these items can wreak on sewage lines. Here at Patrick Riley | Isley’s, we care about keeping your home in great shape because we know the stress it can cause when things go wrong.

But, if something goes seriously wrong, be sure to call a professional plumber who can get on-site fast.

Hopefully, after reading this list, you say goodbye to flushing any non-flushables down the toilet and stick to toilet paper!

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By Ty Lindsay

Ty Lindsay is the Director of Field Operations at Patrick Riley | Isley’s and a 15-year veteran of the plumbing and HVAC trades. In 2010, Ty earned his Journeyman’s plumbing license. He became a Master Plumber five years later and earned his Journeyman HVAC technician’s license that same year. Ty’s breadth of knowledge in plumbing and HVAC includes both residential and commercial work. He’s been a loyal member of the Patrick Riley | Isley’s team since 2016.