To Flush or Not to Flush?

To Flush or Not to Flush?

Imagine life without a toilet. 

Pretty bad, right? These unsung heroes save the day with every flush. But what exactly can you flush down the toilet? When we flush things that we shouldn’t, they can clog the pipes in our home as well as sewer systems. They can also find their way into waterbodies when combined sewer systems overflow.


You’ve heard of “Will It Blend?”, now get ready for: 


Disclaimer: Do not take this as a personal challenge to see how many non-flushable items you can send down the drain unless you want to be dealing with a clogged toilet right now. 


So, what can you flush down the toilet?


The simple answer is that toilets are for human waste and toilet paper–that’s it. Always adhere to the ‘5-P’ rule, and only flush the following five things down the toilet:

If you’re flushing anything other than the ‘5-Ps’ down your pipes, you can clog sewer systems and contaminate our environment and waterbodies. 


Since 2020, a lot more items have become staples in our daily lives. Let’s talk about their flushability.


Can you flush face masks?


No! Flushing masks is not healthy for sewer systems and ecosystems. Dispose of them in the garbage. 


Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash


Can I flush rubber gloves?


No! Hand your rubber gloves over to the garbage when you’re done with them. You definitely don’t want them gripping the sides of your pipes and clogging your toilet or ending up in a sea turtle’s stomach.  


Can I flush tissues and paper towels?


No! Tissues and paper towels are chemically treated so they do not break down in sewer systems like toilet paper does. Tissues cause issues when they build up in the drains. Throw them out in the garbage. 

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash


Can I flush disinfectant wipes?

No! Wipes (even ‘flushable’ ones) can clog sewers. The wipes will eventually disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces, but they never truly disappear. Their synthetic fibres (like rayon or viscose) accumulate in our waterbodies. Wipe away ocean pollution along with germs by putting your wipes in the garbage.


What else won’t flush?


All types of wipes, such as:

Baby wipes Makeup wipes Flushable wipes Cotton swabs and cotton pads 

Photo by Natracare on Unsplash


Feminine hygiene products, such as:

Pads Tampons and applicators Diva cups 

Medications, such as:

Prescription drugs Birth control Painkillers 

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash


And also:

Dental floss Bandaids Condoms Contact lenses Cigarettes Diapers Hair Cat litter 

Remember your ‘5-Ps’ and when in doubt, throw it out.

Author: Walter Cook