Prevent Clogs While You Sequester at Home
Total Plumbing is always happy to deliver professional services, especially when you need us to unclog any debris from your plumbing, but we also want to offer sound advice to make our customers’ lives easier while they’re spending most of their time at home. So, we’re going to take a closer look at what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet or put into your disposal as well as some odd practices we’re noticing when people don’t have access to toilet paper. Spoiler alert, your old t-shirt that you tore up cannot be flushed down the toilet; although, we commend you for being resourceful.
What shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet?
You should never flush anything other than toilet paper and waste down the toilet, which means tampons, sanitary napkins, paper towels, condoms, and tissues are included in the “Do Not Flush” list. Some common items that have been disposed of in the toilet along with uncommon items that were flushed when toilet paper supply ran low include the following:
- Cleaning Wipes
- T-shirt scraps
- Cat litter
- Dental floss
- Cotton balls
None of these should be flushed because they can easily clog your pipes. Flushable wipes is another odd category since their name suggests they can go down the toilet. If you use these for children or have made the switch to them yourself, it’s highly important that you don’t flush these items. Compared to toilet paper, “flushable” wipes do not biodegrade easily, which means they can get stuck in your pipes and cause major blockages.
What shouldn’t go down the sink?
Your sink’s disposal system isn’t as clear cut as your toilet when it comes to what can and cannot be put down there. You’re safe with most liquids unless it’s grease since grease can harden in your sink and trap other debris as it gets thrown in your disposal. Any foods that are fibrous and hard to break down can also cause problems. Refer to the following list for items that should not be put down your sink:
- Potato peels
- Too much ice
- Lemons and limes
- Bones from chicken, pork, or steaks
- Egg shells
- Coffee grounds
- Oil paints
- Corn husks
Basically, tough skins from vegetables and fruits cannot be ground up easily by your garage disposal. An easy way to remember whether or not your garbage disposal can handle it is if you can’t eat the skin, neither can your garbage disposal. Pumpkins, banana peels, onion peels, and fruit pits also fall into this category as well.
Another large category that should be avoided are industrial-grade cleaners and any harsh chemicals, including unclogging-solutions. The truth is these harsh chemicals can strip away the inside of your pipes, and too much corrosion over time can lead to leaks and flooding in your home.
What happens when these items go down the drain?
Even if you don’t see a problem right away with putting the above items down your pipes, you are likely adding to a growing problem. Poor flushing practices cause major sewage backups in homes and make it harder for your wastewater treatment facilities to treat the local water supply. Any sewage overflows that take place at wastewater plants can affect lakes, rivers, and the overall process to treat the water.
Before you try to put anything down your pipes, make sure you reference the lists above to determine whether or not it’s safe for your plumbing. If not, just put it in the trash. Easy enough, but if you do encounter issues with clogged pipes, don’t hesitate to call Total Plumbing for any repairs or maintenance!