15 Common Items You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

You should never flush certain items down the toilet. | irinia88w/iStock/Getty Images

Anyone over age 2 knows puzzle pieces shouldn’t get flushed down the toilet. But what about more commonly flushed items?

Your plumber will tell you that anything besides natural waste and toilet paper should never get flushed. Even if your toilet doesn’t get clogged right away, flushing certain items could lead to major sewage blockages and other expensive problems down the road. The simplest solution? When in doubt, don’t try to flush it. Ahead, check out some items you should never flush down the toilet.

1. Flushable wipes

The package might say flushable, but it’s all a lie. These products don’t disintegrate as quickly as toilet paper and could cause clogs in your sewer pipes if you flush them.

Next: This common cleaning product doesn’t belong near the toilet.

2. Bleach

It can compromise pipe strength. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This harsh chemical can compromise pipe strength over time. People typically use bleach to clean their toilets, but that isn’t necessary. Instead, use distilled vinegar and a toilet brush to abolish mineral stains on the bowl.

Next: It’s paper, but don’t flush it.

3. Tissues

They don’t dissolve like toilet paper. | joedebiase/iStock/Getty Images

Tissues are paper, so they can get flushed, right? Wrong.

Toilet paper and tissues are made differently. Tissues don’t dissolve like toilet paper does, which can lead to clogs at home or at the public sewage treatment facility (which you’ll end up paying for when your taxes go up).

Next: TV shows love to show people flushing this.

4. Pills

The chemicals can get into the sewage system or ground water. | Txking/iStock/Getty Images

People flush pills on TV all the time, but in reality, this dramatic act can cause a lot of damage. The chemicals in pills can get into the sewage system or ground water, which is a huge issue. Dispose of expired medications during a local medicine take-back program instead.

Next: Just use the trash for this oral hygiene item.

5. Dental floss

It can tangle with other debris in the pipes. | BLACKDAY/iStock/Getty Images

Keep a little trash can next to the sink and dispose of your used dental floss there instead. Flushed floss has a tendency to get tangled up with other debris in the sewer lines or can wrap around moving parts and make them stop working.

Next: Ignore it when the package says, “flushable.”

6. Kitty litter

It might clog your pipes. | BWFolsom/iStock/Getty Images

“But the package says it’s flushable!” Kitty litter manufacturers may be willing to make that claim, but just remember they aren’t the ones footing the plumbing bills. Water-saving toilets often don’t have enough water to handle the extra load and keep kitty litter moving.

Next: This poop shouldn’t be flushed.

7. Dried pet poop

Don’t be tempted to dispose of their old poop in the toilet either. | Okeanas/iStock/Getty Images

Not all poop is the same. Old cat poop gets dried out and hard, which can be a nightmare for your pipes. Save the toilet for human waste and keep pet poop in the trash can.

Next: This common item can cause big clogs.

8. Hair

Hair can clog your pipes. | iStock.com/Voyagerix

Like floss, hair gets tangled up with other stuff and causes extensive damage to your pipes. Don’t even clean your hairbrush into the toilet — at least not if you want to keep your plumbing working properly.

Next: This is just gross to flush.

9. Condoms

Just put them in the trash. | Chris Jackson/Pool/Getty Images

There’s no reason to flush a condom when you have a trash can sitting nearby. It’s gross, and it can cause a big clog.

Next: These don’t belong in the bathroom, anyway.

10. Cigarette butts

They belong in the trash. | BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images

The only butts that belong near the toilet bowl are the ones attached to bodies. Dispose of cigarette butts in the trash, not the toilet.

Next: This is one of the worst things you can flush.

11. Gum

Don’t ever throw gum in the toilet. | Nyul/iStock/Getty Images

It’s sticky and it doesn’t break down — a volatile combination for plumbing pipes. Wrap used gum in paper and put in the trash can instead.

Next: These absorb water and get bigger when flushed.

12. Tampons

They easily cause clogs. | Matka Wariatka/iStock/Getty Images

These are made to absorb liquid, so they expand when submerged in water. They’re notorious for causing embarrassing sewage clogs and aren’t ever supposed to be flushed down the toilet.

Next: It’s unclear why anyone thinks they can flush these.

13. Diapers

They can cause a huge clog. | iStock/Getty Images

It’s shocking how many people attempt to flush these huge, water absorbing messes down the toilet rather than putting them in the trash. Diapers cause big, expensive clogs all the time because people don’t realize how hazardous it is to flush them.

Next: These are unexpected sources of clogs.

14. Cotton balls or swabs

They don’t break down in your pipes. | iStock/Getty Images

Cotton balls don’t break down, they just sit there and cause clogs. Dispose of them in the trash and never in the toilet.

Next: Keep this out of your toilet, no matter what.

15. Food

Grease is the worst to flush. | Marilyna/iStock/Getty Images

Yes, it will eventually disintegrate, but until then food sits in your pipes and could cause unnecessary clogs. Grease is the worst thing you can flush because it solidifies after it cools and causes major issues that only a professional can solve.

Read more: Hassle-Free Bathroom Cleaning Secrets You Need to Know

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