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Next to using, you know, the garbage, there’s no easier way to dispose of refuse than a toilet. It’s sitting right there, oh so tantalizing, practically begging for your trash. And while several disposables are perfectly safe to flush down the toilet, others are not. Flushing unsafe items down the toilet can have a catastrophic impact on your plumbing. We’re not talking about clogged drains; we’re talking cracked and even collapsed pipelines, which could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.

Now that you know the risks, here are seven items you should never flush:


1) Paper towels: You may think paper towels are safe to flush since they’re from the same “I came from a tree” family as toilet paper, but this is wrong. Paper towels are thick and don’t break down in water like toilet paper, causing clogs.

2) Cigarette butts: Cigarettes contain toxic chemicals that contaminate the water supply. Also, consider how much water you waste by flushing one cigarette.

3) Female hygiene products: Since tampons don’t break down in water, they wind up lingering in your pipeline and converging with other tampons. When too many tampons accumulate, they can fuse into a ball and clog your pipeline.

4) Band-Aids: While Band-Aids are a great remedy for small cuts on the body, they’re horrible for the environment. This is because Band-Aids are made of non-biodegradable plastic, which doesn’t break down in water.

5) Food: Unless you actually dine on the toilet (no judging), it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which you would need to flush food down the toilet. This is a good thing, because certain foods – like apple cores and anything with a bone – can get stuck in your pipeline and cause major obstruction.

6) Kitty Litter: Kitty litter contains clay and sand, a pair of items that should never be flushed. Not only that, but cat waste actually contains toxins and parasites that are terrible for the water system.

7) Dental floss: While dental floss appears harmless, it can wreck serious havoc on your plumbing. Dental floss gets tangled with other stagnant items in your plumbing, making tiny clogs big enough to cause issues.

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