There are few things in life as inconvenient as a blocked toilet, yet this is one of the most common plumbing problems plumbers are contacted with. We share a few of JT’s handy tips on what not to flush…
There are certain things that should be flushed and other things that are best disposed of in the rubbish bin. If you start flushing things other than toilet paper and bodily waste down the toilet, you could cause some serious clogs that we bet you don’t want to deal with. Some of the things you should not flush include hygiene products, cotton balls and earbuds, prescription medications, and yes… even the unfortunate goldfish.
So what is safe to flush? Remember the 3 P’s: Pee, Poo and (Toilet) Paper.
We’ve pulled a lot of strange things out of toilets over the years, most often toys! For some reason, kids like to experiment with household plumbing. If water alone flushes just fine, but anything solid gets stuck, it’s likely that the problem is being caused by a foreign object.
Anything too solid or that can form a mass, such as hair, dental floss or wipes can get trapped on the tree roots that have sprung through tiny gaps in the wastewater pipes. Fats, grease and oil and also lead to clogs down the line. Oil is the glue of a fatberg. Grease and oils flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink, slide through your pipes and meet up with other greasy conglomerates and single-use plastic items that have been flushed down the toilet. Over time, these items build up, creating a fatberg.
Feminine hygiene products are common culprits, along with baby wipes, nappies, cotton balls, paper towels, dental floss and condoms. Even if a product claims to be “flushable”, don’t believe it.
Using too much toilet paper at a time can also lead to clogs. If you’re using clog-prone toilet paper, switch brands. If the toilet doesn’t flush well even when you’re just flushing water, there may be an accumulation of toilet paper and organic matter somewhere in the line. You’ll have to try a plunger or get a licensed plumber to come unblock the toilet.
So, remember the 3Ps before the next time you flush.
This video by the NZ Food and Grocery Council and Water New Zealand reminds us that everything we flush will find its way into a wastewater treatment plant and then to oceans, rivers, or on to the land, and can cause blockages that overflow to rivers and streams.