What You Can and Cannot Flush

To flush or not to flush? We don’t mean to echo Hamlet and the writing of good ‘ole Bill Shakespeare here – and rightfully so. Because what we flush down the toilet really isn’t up for debate. There are a very small number of things that are acceptable to flush and a lot of things that aren’t acceptable to flush and could cause some major plumbing headaches. Let’s take a look:


Literally, the only two things you should be flushing down your toilet are human waste and toilet paper. It’s as simple as that.


So what should not be flushed down the toilet? Pretty much everything and anything aside from human waste and toilet paper. Like we said above, it’s really that simple. But if you really need additional context, here’s a list of items that should not be flushed and instead discarded of appropriately in the wastebasket:


  • Feminine hygiene products and contraceptives
  • Q-tips or cotton balls
  • Flushable Wipes(even though flush is in the name, we NEVER recommend flushing these)
    • *The misnomer “flushable” in the definition of wipes causes a large number of problems. Though these wipes may actually go down the toilet but are not designed – nor do they – deteriorate. They can easily snag any uneven spots in lines, get stuck in bellies or bends, or even just pile up on their own.
  • Tissues, napkins, and paper towels
  • Dental floss and bandages
  • Diapers
  • Medication and dental floss
  • Hair and contact lenses
  • Pet waste
  • Cigarette butts
  • Goldfish (yes, even despite what you may have heard)


Why shouldn’t you flush any of these items? It’s because they have the potential to clog your plumbing and lead to backups or plumbing damage. Keep in mind that your pipes are only about 3 or 4 inches in diameter at their widest. Any blockages could lead to overflows that could cause costly water damage. And it can cost a few hundred dollars for a professional to snake your drains and clear any blocks.

Additionally, regularly flushing what you shouldn’t can cause issues with the sewer system, making it more likely that your sewers back up into your home. There’s even the potential for environmental contamination.


For more information on what you should and shouldn’t flush – and why – contact J.W. Freeman today. We’re also standing by ready to help resolve any blockages that are causing problems in your household. Contact us today for more information.

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