Perhaps the king of plumbing problems, a clogged toilet may be the most common and most annoying. It is in a homeowner’s best interest to limit clogs and sewer problems, as they can ruin a room and be expensive to fix. Plus, nobody wants to deal with sewage waste all over their bathroom floor – yuck!

The Cause of Clogged Toilets

Did you know that toilets in the United States clog more than most other countries because of the design of the seating, trapping, and flushing? Standard US toilets rely on a siphon to eliminate waste from the bowl and bring it to the drain through the trap base. While most homeowners don’t even know what a siphon is, let alone its purpose, they play an important role in a toilet’s operation. Siphons need to use a small trap because the water is essentially pulling waste down your sewage pipes. While this movement is efficient at getting waste out of the toilet bowl, the design’s curvature creates area’s where clogs can easily form. Here are some other common reasons toilets may clog:

  • A toilet with a low-flow design that isn’t flushed soon enough. These designs can’t handle as much waste, so they require more frequent flushing.
  • Clogs can be caused by hard water deposits that form at the bottom of your toilet.

Usually, the drain that connects most homes to the sewer line is fairly narrow, about four inches wide. This means waste, bathroom tissue, and whatever else is flushed down your toilet does not have a lot of room to make it to the sewer smoothly. Your toilet may not be as strong and powerful as you think. In order to avoid clogs, you must be mindful of what you flush down your toilets. Because of this, we are going to cover a few things that you should never flush down a toilet.

Things You Should NEVER Flush Down Your Toilet

Dental Floss. It’s not uncommon to toss your dental floss in the toilet once you’re done flossing, especially if a wastebasket isn’t available. And, something as thin as dental floss can’t possibly cause damage to your plumbing, right? Wrong. Flushing dental floss can actually cause a back-up if it gets stuck in the middle of your pipeline. Plus, floss isn’t biodegradable, which means it can stay in your sewage line and cause a build up over time.

Feminine Hygiene Products. These are a toilet’s worst nightmare! Feminine hygiene products expand  when they soak up moisture. For this reason, avoid flushing tampons, sanitary pads, and applicators of any kind down the toilet. These products can expand in your pipes, causing major clogging. Overtime, these will make it difficult for items to pass through the pipelines.

Cotton Swabs. Q-tips or cotton swabs are also an item that is commonly tossed in the toilet rather than the trash can. They can easily get caught in your the toilets trap or flange, which will end up leading to a clog.

Wet Wipes. Wet wipes may seem like they are flushable  – some might even claim to be ‘flushable’  – but the truth is, you should never flush wipes of any kind down the toilet. Wipes can easily get caught on pipes and cause blockages and backups. Its best to toss all wipes in a waste basket and avoid costly plumbing issues.

Kitty Litter. Although it seems odd, some people do flush kitty litter down their toilets. Although the purpose of toilets is to eliminate fecal matter, there are some boundaries that should apply. When you flush kitty litter down the toilet, in addition to the fecal matter and urine, you’re also flushing clay and sand, which is bad for the plumbing. Plus, cat waste can carry parasites and toxins that shouldn’t be flushed through your water system.

What The Flush Were They Thinking?!

While the reasons above are probably some of the most common items that are – but shouldn’t be – flushed down a toilet, believe it or not, there have been cases of more odd things taking the plunge in the toilet and causing clogs, check out some bizarre things that were flushed down a toilet and caused a clog.

False Teeth. Although it’s hard to believe, dentures and false teeth are flushed down the toilet more than they should be. While false teeth seem like an item that you would notice is missing, many homeowners have been surprised when informed that the cause of their clog was a pair of dentures!

Jewelry. Whether it was intentional or an accident, jewelry is often found in plumbing systems. Flushing jewelry is not ideal for your plumbing, and it will eventually find its way to the sewer, which makes it highly unlikely to retrieve.  

Toys. Kids have quite the imagination, flushing small items down toilets is not an uncommon thing for young children to do. However, flushed plastic toys and other items will backup your system in a short period of time.  

The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, the only things that should be flushed down a toilet is waste and toilet paper. A simple, yet effective, solution to reduce flushing items that can lead to clogs is putting a waste basket in your bathroom. Waste baskets are a great place for dental floss, cotton products, and wipes. And, a as professional plumbing company, we would rather see a pair of dentures in a waste basket than a toilet.

Being mindful of what you flush down toilets will not only reduce the amount of clogs you have, but will also keep your system from getting damaged. However, if you’re toilet has a clog that you just can’t remove, or you are in need of other plumbing and rooter services, you can rely on Complete Plumbing and Rooter. For years we have been Southern California’s premier plumbing and rooter company. We’re always available for plumbing emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year! To learn more about our services, contact our plumbing professionals today!