10 Things Never to Flush Down the Toilet

Every so often homeowners flush something they shouldn’t, causing the toilet to overflow and maybe even harming the pipes in the process. When the "unsinkable" happens, they're left with an unwelcome mess, a visit from the plumber, and a hefty bill. Avoid all that cost and inconvenience, by making sure you never flush these 10 things down the toilet.

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  1. “Flushable” Wipes

    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 backed-up sewer lines.

    Related: Your Top 10 Bathroom Dilemmas—Solved


  2. Feminine Hygiene Products

    Feminine 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.


  3. Paper Towels

    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.

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


  4. Condoms

    Condoms toilet

    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.


  5. Disposable Diapers

    Disposable diaper

    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.

    Related: 11 Bathroom Hazards That Harm Your Home and Health


  6. Cotton Swabs

    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.


  7. Kitty Litter

    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.

    Related: 10 House Hacks Every Pet Owner Needs to Know


  8. Dryer Sheets

    Dryer sheet

    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.


  9. Hair


    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. Toss that tangle in the trash!

    Related: 10 Smart Storage Tricks for a Tiny Bathroom


  10. 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.