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Bathroom toilet

Should You Use Toilet Paper Alternatives?

The short answer is no. Many people have been caught out without access to toilet paper and have searched around for an alternative. We have noticed this recently with the toilet paper scares surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. But, it’s important to realize that a toilet is only designed to handle toilet paper. Any other materials can cause a clog that could be tough to remove without a professional plumber. Let’s take a look at this subject in a little more detail.

“Flushable”Wipes

In recent years we have seen the appearance of so called “flushable” wipes that are safer to use and flush away when you’re finished with them. These may be used for potty training, to clean a baby, or there are disposable cleaning wipes for your toilet. But, in reality, none of these products are safe to flush down your toilet. A “flushable” wipe takes much longer to break down in your toilet drain, and this can lead to a clog that is costly to remove.

Other Items to Keep Out of the Toilet

When we use the bathroom, it can be tempting to reduce the trash load by flushing items in the toilet. But, this urge should be resisted, and everyone in the home should be made aware. Flushing anything in the toilet other than toilet paper can lead to a clog in the drain and an expensive repair bill. Let’s take a look at some common household items that plumbers have found in many toilet drain clogs:

  1. “Flushable” baby, disinfectant, and moist wipes.
  2. Toilet cleaning scrub pads.
  3. Paper or cloth napkins.
  4. Thick kitchen paper towels.
  5. Facial tissues.
  6. Dental floss.
  7. Hair.
  8. Fats, oils, and grease.
  9. Feminine sanitary products.
  10. Condoms.
  11. Q-tips and cotton balls.
  12. Plastics.
  13. Unused pharmaceutical products.
  14. Coffee grounds.
  15. Eggshells.
  16. Used diapers (“flushable” and cloth).
  17. Vitamin bottles.
  18. Kids toys.

This is just a sample of what a plumber might find in a clogged toilet. Any of these items could cause a clog that will require a plumber to visit your home.

Prevention is Better Than the Cure

This old adage is very applicable to many aspects of plumbing, including avoiding clogs. The best way to prevent a toilet clog is to keep everything out of the toilet except toilet paper and human waste. If you don’t have a trash bin in each bathroom, it’s a great idea to rectify that situation. Ensure that everyone understands that the toilet isn’t for trash. If you have purchased a stockpile of “flushable” wipes, they can be used in a number of different ways and then be placed in the trash. The wipes can be used to wipe off scuff marks on shoes, clean dirty pet paws, dust the home, and they have many other unconventional applications.

Of course, accidents can and do occur when you use your plumbing system. If you have a clog in your toilet that you cannot remove, contact your local certified plumber. They have the training, experience, and specialized tools to remove the clog safely.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.