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When you are standing there… watching that icky water level rise… and rise… and not go down… and then, OVERFLOW onto your bathroom floor… and you wonder “what did I flush down the toilet that caused this?” Sometimes, using a plunger can clear your clog, but sometimes, the clog is too big, or just too far down the line for a plunger to work. Time to call the emergency plumber!

What Not To Flush Down The Toilet

Why can’t I flush it?

Remember, your toilet is not a trash can. The public toilet or urinal you use is also not a trash can. Toilets are designed for disposing of 3 items – Pee, Poo and Toilet Paper! That is the limit of what the local sewer processing plant or your septic system can handle. Eventually, everything you flush ends up passing through a series of filters, then the liquid portion (along with everything that has dissolved in it) is treated with chemicals or UV light, travels to our groundwater or oceans. In a septic system, you have to be especially careful, as the treatment process relies on a delicate balance of specialized “poo eating”
bacteria, to clean the water before it flows into your septic field.

Never flush what cannot be unflushed!

Just like seeing something that cannot be unseen, flushing things that should not be flushed cannot be ignored.

Below is a list of the common items that should never be flushed:

  1. Wet Wipes/Cosmetic Wipes/ Baby Wipes
  2. Q-Tips/ Cotton Balls
  3. Condoms
  4. Feminine sanitary pads/ tampons
  5. Facial Tissues
  6. Medication/ Pills
  7. Paper Towels
  8. Cigarette Butts
  9. Contact Lenses
  10. Hair


What NOT To Flush Down The Toilet | Top 10

These items have an often smelly way of “coming back up” to present issues – namely – a flood of sewage in your home!


can you flush paper towels down the toilet

1. Never flush Paper Towels?

Paper towels are ubiquitous. Sometimes, when you are in a public restroom, and the TP roll is out, you may be tempted to use paper towels in a pinch – and hey – they are paper, right? Paper towels are not designed to be flushed. If you must use, place them in the trash bin – do not flush a paper towel. Paper towels cannot be processed by the sewer treatment plant.


can you flush tissues down the toilet

2. OK – so Paper Towels are bad – Never flush a Kleenex?

Facial tissues are soft, and oh so handy when there is no TP, buutt… they have the same problem as paper towels. Facial tissues do not decompose properly in a sewer plant. Used facial tissues should never be flushed, use the trash bin.


can you flush baby wipes

3. Shhesh. You’re too picky. Flushable Wipes? Baby wipes? Makeup wipes?

Nope. Nope, and nope. Even those items that may say they are “flushable” are not. Don’t believe for one minute that a wipe that holds together so well when you are wiping will ever break down in the sewer treatment plants. Never flush a wipe.


can you flush used tampons down the toilet

4. Never Flush – Tampons. Pads. Incontinence Pads. They’re cotton -that’s natural!

Tampons, pads and incontinence pads are designed to absorb and hold liquids – and are often more than just cotton. Synthetic fibers, plastic fibers, and even some weird gel stuff – all fall into the NO FLUSH ZONE!


can you flush diapers down the toilet

5. Diapers are so smelly! Just Never Flush them.

Even if you can get that used diaper to flush down the toilet, you should never, ever flush a diaper down the toilet. The water-absorbent fibers and the plastic coatings all will result in a phone call to the plumber.


can you flush q tips

6. Never Flush Personal Hygiene? – Q-tips, Cotton Balls, Dental Floss?

They are little, and really, won’t they just break down? Nope. Never flush these little bits and pieces – they all add up to a call to the plumber.


can you flush condoms

7. Never Flush Condoms or Dental Dams

Essentially, these items are made of latex, polyurethane or nitrile, these items should never be flushed. No matter how tempting it is to do so! All of these products are designed to stop fluids from passing through them.


can you flush hair down the toilet

8. Never Flush Hair – REALLY?

Hair is such an issue. Really. Hair is a porous protein called keratin – and the outside surface (cuticle) has little scales which cause it to bind up with itself and other things in along with it. Never Flush Hair!


9. Never Flush your Medications/Pills

Medications and pills contain compounds, which, once dissolved in water, can harm our environment. It may seem funny to think of a fish all relaxed on Xanax, but its not funny when you want to eat the same fish! Never flush meds.


can you flush grease down the toilet

10. Never Flush Food or Cooking Oils/Grease

Isn’t there a quick way to get rid of food or oil if you don’t want to put it in your garbage? Don’t be tempted to flush it! Food and grease congeal as they get cold, and stick to other things along the way.


I tried to follow all the rules, really I did, but there is something stuck and my toilet is overflowing….

It happens – stuff ends up in the toilet, and not just the three “P”s. Maybe your pet sitter decided to dump the kitty litter box down the toilet, or your future hydraulic engineer was testing how many flushes it took to flush their Matchbox cars down the drain, or you just moved into your new home, so you have no idea what has been flushed in the past. Call Stollwerck Plumbing to assist you today!

If you need emergency plumbing in the Greater Everett area, reach out to us at 425-905-2931, or through our online contact form, at