The Do’s and Don’ts in the Bathroom – What Not to Flush
Many people seem to regard their toilet as a trash can and can be found flushing a whole host of items down the toilet or drain. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious and expensive plumbing issues and flooding. So, to keep your bathroom problem free, you should be aware of these essential bathroom do’s and don’ts.
Don’t Flush Just Anything
Your toilet is only designed to flush human waste and toilet tissue. While it may appear harmless to flush other items, it can cause the drain to become blocked or cause problems in your sewer system. The list of items not to flush include:
1. Cotton balls
4. Tampons/ Feminine napkins
6. Cigarette butts
7. Paper towels of ANY kind
8. Baby wipes
Do Remember That Flush Safe Products May Not Be Safe
There are some products that are marketed as being flushable. These products include personal wipes, feminine products and cleaning wipes. While these products may be labeled as safe, it is best not to take the risk. Even if your toilet can handle flushing these items away, they can still create problems in the drain and in the sewer system down the line. According to the NACWA (National Association of Clean Water Agencies) many so-called “flushable” wipes are not broken down quickly enough to avoid causing problems such as overflows in the sewer system.
NEVER Flush Tampons
Although most women understand that flushing feminine napkins can cause plumbing problems, there is a question about whether tampons can be flushed. Although most tampons are marketed as flushable, according to the Department of Environment, Health and Safety at the University of Wisconsin, tampons are considered an item that you “should never flush.”
Do Remember FOG
Although you may be familiar with FOG or Fats, Oil and Grease in regards to your kitchen drains, it can also be a problem in the bathroom. Your shower, bathtub and sink drains are just as vulnerable to FOG as your kitchen sink. Oils can congeal inside the drain, causing a clog or blockage. You can reduce the chances of FOG in your bathroom drains, by using bath oils sparingly, wiping off any greasy lotions before you shower and limiting the use of moisturizing oils when you bathe.
Don’t Reach for the Chemicals
If you do notice that your water is draining more slowly, don’t just reach for the chemicals. Although there are a number of chemical products available for de-clogging bathroom drains, they are bad for the environment and often lead to harmful chemicals entering streams and lakes. Additionally, harsh chemicals not only break down a clog, but they can also start to eat away at your pipes. In most cases, chemical products fail to provide an effective solution anyway, and emit potentially toxic fumes. Call a professional to snake or clear your lines before dumping chemical down the drain.
Do Keep a Plunger Handy
While plungers can be ineffective when there is a complete obstruction in a drain pipe, they can be helpful when there is a small clog. A plunger can be used for clearing a clog in a sink drain or removing an obstruction in the toilet drain. When you first notice that an accumulation of debris may be forming, reach for your plunger to try to correct the problem before it develops further. Once the pipe has become fully obstructed, you are likely to need help from a plumber.
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 solutions.