Interior Bathrooms Toilets

10 Things Never to Flush Down the Toilet

Save your plumbing and the sewer system by correctly disposing of these items in the trash—not your toilet.
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Do Not Flush

Whether due to the last of the toilet paper being used up or a moment of forgetfulness (or laziness), every so often homeowners flush something they shouldn’t—something that wasn’t designed to disintegrate as well. When the “unsinkable” happens, they’re left with an unwelcome mess, a visit from the plumber, and a hefty bill. Even if it doesn’t cause the toilet to overflow immediately, you may be harming your home’s pipes in the process and contributing to an even bigger problem in the local sewer system. Avoid all that inconvenience and damage by making sure you never flush these 10 things down the toilet.

Related: 5 Most Common Toilet Troubles and How to Fix Them

“Flushable” Wipes

Even when they’re advertised as “flushable,” most moist towelettes should never go down the toilet. The wipes don’t disintegrate in water, leading to clogs and (if you don’t catch them with a plunger in time) backed-up sewer lines.

Feminine Hygiene Products

There’s a good reason public bathrooms post signs warning users not to flush feminine hygiene products. Pads and tampons, which are designed to expand and retain fluids, won’t dissolve after being flushed down the pipes. To properly dispose of personal items, wrap them in toilet paper and throw them in the garbage can.

Related: Your Top 10 Bathroom Dilemmas—Solved

Paper Towels

Paper towel manufacturers often tout the strength of their products. But there’s a downside to all this durability: Because the paper is meant to stay strong when exposed to liquids, it won’t break down like toilet paper does, making it likely to clog the toilet. Always throw used paper towels in the trash.


Not even a plumber relishes fishing used condoms out of clogged sewer lines. These latex prophylactics won’t biodegrade for years, so don’t introduce them into the water treatment system. Instead, wrap a used condom in toilet paper and dispose of it in a waste receptacle.

Related: No Plunger Needed: 7 Easier Ways to Clear a Clog

Disposable Diapers

A single disposable diaper—even in a tiny newborn size—is likely to clog the commode. To get rid of a dirty diaper, roll it up and secure the ball with the diaper’s adhesive strips. Slip the diaper into a small plastic bag, then toss the whole thing into the trash.

Cotton Swabs

After you’ve cleaned your ears or dabbed away errant streaks of eyeliner, dropping your used cotton swab in the toilet may seem convenient. Resist the urge! Cotton swabs are notorious for getting stuck in drain pipe bends and catching everything else you flush, resulting in a huge clog.

Related: 10 Ways Your Home Is Telling You to Call a Plumber

Kitty Litter

Kitty litter—especially the “clumping” varieties—contain clay and sand that bind to moisture. When Fluffy does his business, the moisture transforms into hard chunks that can clog toilets and pipes. Instead of flushing, slip the waste and soiled litter into a disposable bag and secure it shut before throwing away.

Dryer Sheets

If you uncover a hidden dryer sheet in your sweater sleeve or pant leg, refrain from flushing it down the toilet. Dryer sheets don’t dissolve in water, and they’re also loaded with harmful synthetic chemicals that can seep into the water system if flushed.


Those big clumps of hair on your brush belong in the waste receptacle, not the toilet. Another non-dissolver, hair is quick to catch on any projections inside pipes. Those stringy pieces then snag other bits of waste, leading to formidable clogs that could require a drain snake to remove. Toss that tangle in the trash!

Related: 10 Smart Storage Tricks for a Tiny Bathroom

Dental Floss

After completing your dentist-recommended daily flossing, don’t drop the used piece in the commode. Long strands of waxed or unwaxed floss can wrap around other items in the drainage system, quickly turning a little string into a big headache for a plumber. Plus, dental floss isn’t biodegradable.

Please Don't Flush

Avoid a mess—and a plumber’s bill!