Stop Flushing These 5 Things Down Your Toilet Before It's Too Late

This may come as a surprise, but just because you can flush something does not mean you should. While modern plumbing is truly a marvel and toilets have powerful flushing mechanisms, not everything is good for your septic system or your municipal waste water treatment center. 

1. Dental Floss: Little known fact, don't flush floss. While you try to say that ten times fast, toss the floss in the trash can. When flushed, it can get wrapped around other clogged items creating a traffic jam of epic proportions in your pipes.  Reporters at the Toronto Star appropriately called it a "snowball effect" when softball-sized wads of dental floss shut down their city-wide system.   

2. Cleaning Wipes: Manufacturers make it so easy for us to clean our bathrooms now. There is a wipe for everything from the sink to the toilet. Everything is disinfected and sparkling clean in one quick sweep. While that's fine, don't flush the wipes. The container may say you can, but don't. Just like dental floss, pieces of the wipes can get wrapped up with other clogs and create a bigger mess than your bathroom sink was before you cleaned it.

3. Feminine Hygiene Products: Again, this has to deal with packaging that isn't entirely honest about ease of disposal, but feminine hygiene products cannot be flushed either. They do not break down in your septic tank and, at best, take up space until you have it pumped out. Why not dispose of it the right way the first time?

4. Cigarette Butts: Smokers who have a quick cigarette in the morning while getting ready for work have been known to toss the butt in the toilet when they are done. Unfortunately, that filter is not biodegradable and will sit in your tank for years. Also, due to the overall size of a cigarette butt it can clog the pipes inside your home, those leading to the street (for a municipal system), and those running to your septic tank (for a private sewer system).  

5. Medicine: We see it all the time on television. The bad guys flush the drugs as the police are banging down the bathroom door. To keep our water safe, don't flush any medicine — over-the-counter, prescription, or illicit — down the drain. Studies show that trace amounts stay in the water and can affect fish, wildlife, and people. There is not currently a way to filter it out of home septic systems or municipal waste water treatment centers. Contact your pharmacist and ask how they recommend disposing of any leftover medication.  

Contact a company like Eckmayer Inc for more information on protecting your septic system.

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