Most of us are guilty of flushing things down the toilet that have no place passing through those U-bends. While flushing the occasional wet wipe or paper towel might seem harmless, these items can wreak havoc on your plumbing.
If you get off lightly, you’ll end up with a blocked toilet. At worst, you can damage pipework and block sewer drains. These worst-case scenarios aren’t just inconvenient, they can be incredibly expensive to resolve.
Wondering what’s safe to flush and what isn’t? The simple answer is to stick to using your toilet for what it’s intended for. However, you’ll want to avoid flushing these 10 worst offenders at all costs:
10 Worst Offenders
1. Tissues and Kitchen Roll
Toilet paper might seem similar to tissues and kitchen rolls, but these products are very different. Unlike toilet paper, kitchen towels and disposable tissues aren’t designed to dissolve in water. If you flush enough of this paper down your toilet, you can easily find yourself dealing with a clogged pipe. This material not only takes a long time to break down, but it’s also incredibly absorbent. Over time, these blockages soak in more water and swell in size.
2. Don’t Use the Toilet as a Bathroom Bin
It’s tempting to throw a used cotton ball or bud down the toilet after finishing it. Likewise, the toilet seems to be a practical point of disposal for used tampons, condoms and other items. However, none of these materials has a place in your plumbing. Eventually, they’ll accumulate and cause a blockage.
Like kitchen rolls, most of these products are made from an absorbent material, meaning they’ll become even more of an issue the longer they’re exposed to moisture. To save yourself from having to deal with an overflowing toilet and damaged pipes, invest in a pedal bin for your bathroom instead.
3. Baby Wipes Don’t Belong in the Toilet Bowl
Baby wipes are one of the worst offenders when it comes to blocked toilets and plumbing. You might have seen products advertised as being flushable, but even these won’t degrade in water as toilet roll does.
Even if flushed wipes make it through your plumbing without causing any issues, they can still cause all manner of trouble once they arrive in the main sewer system. The number of fatbergs in Ireland’s sewer system is growing, with water utility companies spending millions every year to remove them.
4. Don’t Even Think About Flushing Dental Floss
Dental floss seems innocuous, which is why so many people are happy to flush it. However, floss doesn’t degrade in water, meaning it can linger in your plumbing for a long time. If you’re not paying attention to what else you’re flushing, it can become tangled with other items like wet wipes and kitchen rolls, as well as toilet paper, to form stubborn blockages.
5. Avoid a Hairball Blockage
If you’ve ever had to deal with a blocked shower drain before, the reason was almost certainly hair. While getting rid of hairball blockages in a shower is easy enough, dealing with one in the trap way of your toilet is a different matter entirely. If you’re someone who loses a lot of stray hair after brushing, make sure you’re dumping the surplus in a bin. To remove the temptation to flush it entirely, keep your brush well away from your bathroom.
6. Don’t Dump Ashtrays Down the Toilet
If you smoke, you’re probably guilty of flushing a full ashtray down the toilet at least once in your life. While this might get rid of the unwanted smell of used cigarette butts and ash, you’re exposing your pipes to toxic non-biodegradable material.
Think about all those advertisements that talk about how long it takes for a cigarette butt to break down. The same applies to butts that are flushed down the toilet. What’s more, you’re introducing harmful chemicals into the water table.
7. Bin Cooking Oil and Grease, Don’t Flush It
You probably know not to pour cooking oil and grease down the sink. The same rules apply to the toilet. Flushed fats can make an existing blockage even worse. What’s more, they’re a key contributor to those fatbergs swelling in size across the country’s sewer network.
8. Medications and Water Pollution
Carrying out a cleanout of your medicine cabinet? Make sure those expired tablets and bottles are going in the bin, rather than down the toilet. A single tablet might seem harmless, but it contains chemicals that have no place in the wider sewage system. Even the best wastewater treatment facilities can’t completely remove these chemicals.
9. Plasters and the Dangers of Adhesives
Most of us tear off used plasters and apply a fresh one in the bathroom. However, used first aid items should be disposed of properly, rather than flushed. For starters, the material used to make them isn’t dissolvable. Furthermore, they all contain adhesives. Just like cooking oil, these adhesives can attract other materials like hair, wipes and undissolved paper, leading to blockages.
10. Litter Trays
Cat lovers might think it’s safe to pour a used litter tray down the toilet. However, just because your four-legged friend’s litter tray serves the same function as your toilet, doesn’t mean the two things are compatible.
Most cat litter products are made from materials like paper, silica and clay. They’re used because they’re incredibly absorbent, locking in moisture and unwanted odours. This also means they don’t dissolve in water. If you’re dumping a full litter tray down an already overworked toilet, you’re asking for trouble.
The Cost of Clogs
While you might be able to resolve minor clogs yourself, there’ll come a time when you’ll need to call in a plumber in Cork to deal with more stubborn blockages that just won’t shift. Even a minor blockage can cost up to €200 to resolve. However, if you’ve been flushing all manner of household items down your toilet every day, you could end up spending thousands to put the problem right.
Looking for a plumber in Mallow to take charge of a blocked toilet or clogged plumbing? Complete Plumbing Solutions have been helping customers throughout County Cork for years. Need help with a plumbing emergency or power flushing? Perhaps you want to talk about gas boiler replacement or schedule a gas boiler service. Give us a call at (085) 169 4244 or get an online quote today.