What Not to Flush: The Top 10 Things You Shouldn't Put Down the Toilet

Tips & Tricks / Article
December 23, 2022


You know not to flush things like tampons and diapers down the toilet. But what else shouldn't you flush? Here are the top 10 things you shouldn't flush down the toilet.

Kitchen Grease and Fats

One of the most common items people flush down the toilet is kitchen grease and fats. But just like any other type of trash, it's important not to put these down the drain.

Grease and fats will harden as they cool and can easily block your plumbing. This can cause some serious damage, not to mention a nasty mess. So if you're ever in doubt about what to do with kitchen grease, just remember: don't flush it!

Feminine Hygiene Products

Don't flush your tampons! Believe it or not, they can cause some serious damage to your plumbing. Tampons are made of cotton and other materials that can easily get tangled up in sewer lines and pumps. Not to mention, they create a big mess for sanitation workers when they have to clean up after a blockage.

Just think, if every woman followed this one rule, it would save the city millions of dollars in repairs every year. So please, do your part and toss your tampons in the trash can.

Cotton Swabs and Plastic Cotton Buds

Cotton swabs and plastic cotton buds are two of the top items on our list of things you should never flush down the toilet.

Why? For one, they can easily get clogged in your pipes. Second, they can create a mess and damage the environment. And finally, they can even be dangerous for your septic system.

If you need to use a cotton swab or plastic cotton bud, try to stick to using them on external areas only. And please dispose of them properly—either in the trash or in a designated waste bin.

Cigarette Butts

You know not to flush cigarettes, right? Cigarette butts don't dissolve like anything else down the toilet. And what's worse, they'll clog up your drainage system. Not to mention, cigarettes don't break down in the water ever.

Pipes are already so small that they can get clogged up pretty easily; cigarette butts just make things worse. Even if you think that flushing the butt is a good way to dispose of it, it'll just travel further down the pipes and cause a massive problem at the end.

So regardless of how convenient it may seem, try not to flush cigarettes. Don’t be tempted by this “quick fix” solution – after all, disposing of them in a non-flushable container is much easier and more manageable in the long run!

Tissues, Paper Towels, Wet Wipes and Diapers

Let’s face it, we all like to have a good stash of tissues and paper towels on hand. They are great for cleaning up messes and blowing your nose. But please, whatever you do, don’t flush them down the toilet!

Tissues and paper towels might feel soft and look like regular toilet paper, but they don’t dissolve in water like TP does, and can cause major blockages in your plumbing system. The same goes for wet wipes and diapers -- all three can get stuck to the walls of your pipes and cause a clog that will require costly repairs.

So no matter how tempting it is to flush these items down the toilet, please just don't do it. Instead, you can throw them into your regular trash can or recycle bin, or even compost them if possible.

Medications and Needles

Always make sure to properly dispose of medications and needles. These should never go down the toilet, since they can be hazardous to your health and the environment.

In most cases, you can take old medications and other pharmaceutical items to a drug disposal site for safe disposal. Some pharmacies may also offer a drop-off option for medications that have been expired or no longer have an active ingredient.

If you're unsure about what to do with old bras, needles, syringes or other medical devices, contact a local health department for guidance on safe disposal. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Nappies, Sanitary Napkins and Pads

You’ve probably heard this before, but just in case you haven’t: nappies, sanitary napkins, and pads should never be flushed down the toilet. That’s because these items are made to absorb liquid, and they can cause serious blockages in your pipes.

Furthermore, they don’t break down quickly enough to move through the plumbing system without causing problems. If you throw them down the toilet, then they may end up clogging pipes and causing a backup, potentially damaging your plumbing and sewage system.

On top of that, your water treatment process won't be able to filter out these materials properly; so it’s best to throw them in an appropriate waste bin. Remember: when it comes to these items, when in doubt—throw it out!

Hair and Dental Floss

You may be surprised to learn that flushing hair down the toilet isn't a great idea. Even though it looks like they just dissolve and disappear, they'll just get stuck in the pipes and eventually cause blockages. The same goes for dental floss, too – it's best to throw these out in the trash instead of flushing them down your toilet.

Speaking of hair, there are some really nasty things that can collect in your toilet drains if you're not careful. If you have long hair and don't clean your drain regularly, it’s possible that you might end up with a big clump of nasty stuff – soap scum, grease, food particles, dead skin cells – all sticking together with your hair! While you may think this won't cause much of a problem, in reality it can be very difficult to get rid of once it has built up. So if you want to avoid clogged drains and have shiny and clean plumbing lines, make sure you clean your drain regularly.

Pet Waste

We can all agree that pet waste should remain in the litter box, not in the toilet. While it may seem harmless, flushing your pet’s waste is a big no-no. Not only do cat and dog poop contain bacteria that can lead to serious illnesses, but if this waste makes it way into the water supply, it can contaminate drinking water for an entire community.

In addition to that, pet waste contains parasites like worms and tapeworms which can then spread to other animals or humans who come into contact with contaminated water. That’s why it’s important to keep both our pets and our waterways healthy by disposing of animal waste properly.

Paint, Pesticides and Household Cleaners

Number 10 on our list of things not to flush are paint, pesticides and other household cleaners. We all know these products contain hazardous materials, but many of us still don’t realize that flushing them down the toilet is a big no-no!

When paint and toxic cleaners are flushed down the toilet, they can end up in our rivers and other bodies of water where they can cause serious damage to the environment. These products can also wreak havoc on your septic or sewage system, as they contain chemicals that can destroy bacteria and cause blockages.

The best way to dispose of these items is to take them to a local hazardous waste facility where they will be disposed of safely – never flush them down your toilet!


So, now you know the top 10 things you should never flush down the toilet. As long as you remember these items, you'll be able to keep your plumbing in good condition and avoid any costly repairs. Remember, just because something is flushable, that doesn't mean it's supposed to be!