In many households, the easiest way to get rid of a range of discarded items is to flush them down the nearest drain or toilet. While it may seem like the most convenient way to dispose of them, many homeowners don’t realise the potential damage to their plumbing.
The problem is actually larger than you may think. In fact, the plumber Keilor residents rely on to clear emergencies regularly spends a large chunk of their days unblocking drains and toilets. This is mostly because people are often careless with the items they flush or rinse away.
Common Household Products to Keep Out of Your Toilet
Many items that are flushed down the toilet or the kitchen sink don’t break down easily and are therefore at risk of getting stuck on joints in the pipes. Additionally, this creates an obstacle for anything that flows behind.
Eventually, these blockages also lead to toilet or sink water hitting a barrier and flooding onto the floor. This, in turn, can cause water damage to any carpets or furnishings in the space. To avoid this predicament in your home, our experts have compiled a list of the top items you should stop flushing down the sinks or toilets in your building.
All Types of Wet Wipes
One of the top items responsible for blockages in drains and toilets around Australia is without a doubt the many wet wipes that are flushed daily. Despite being labelled as “flushable”, it’s important to realise this doesn’t mean the wipes disappear from your pipes.
While labelled as flushable, they aren’t instantly biodegradable and can actually cause significant issues. There have been many instances where plumbers have had to unclog blockages made primarily of wet wipes.
Disposable Nappies And Hygiene Products
A huge misconception among new parents is that you can flush nappies down the toilet. This is especially the case with smaller or preemie nappies. However, disposable doesn’t mean flushable!
Typically, nappies are designed to trap liquid and be durable, meaning there’s no way they will just flush away or disintegrate. Rather, you’ll find them expanding and getting lodged in the toilet pipes.
Hygiene products have the same effect on your pipes and should also not be flushed.
Many people resort to flushing their dead fish down the toilet as if to provide their pet with a final watery grave. However, dead fish in your pipes can spread bacteria into the whole plumbing system. This bacteria can also pose a risk to wildlife if the water from your pipes reaches waterways or leaks into areas where other animals can drink it.
Since hair is thin and you usually don’t throw a lot of it away at once, you may be tempted to think that it’s one of the items that won’t cause any damage. However, hair can create a hook on the joints and pipes and catch on other debris passing by in the pipe. When this happens, it creates a massive blockage.
It’s also important to keep in mind that hair doesn’t dissolve or break down. This of course means that it can easily sit in your pipes for years causing continuous clogs.
Keep in mind that just because the item you want to flush is a liquid, doesn’t mean that it will dissolve without causing damage. Believe it or not, experts have seen blockages caused by oils, lubricants, paints and even pesticides flushed down the toilet.
These harsh chemicals can corrode and damage your plumbing pipes. This is especially the case in instances where pipes are old and worn or made of plastic. Furthermore, these chemicals are at risk of getting in contact with groundwater and the main water system.
It’s also worth mentioning that these chemicals can cause severe injury to the plumbers who need to open the pipes and remove the blockages.
It’s a common thought that the safest way to dispose of expired and unused medications is by flushing them down the toilet. The thinking behind this is that it reduces the risk of animals or people accidentally coming across it. While many pharmaceuticals easily dissolve and aren’t very likely to cause blockages, they can contaminate the waterways and main system. This ends up harming plants and wildlife.
It’s also important to point out that these medications can make their way back into the drinking system if not dissolved at treatment plants.
To avoid harmful household items from ending up in your bathroom sink or even the toilet, our experts recommend having a small bin (with a lid) in the space. This will give anyone using the bathroom a place to dispose of any items they don’t know what to do with. Doing this will reduce the risk of you and your plumber having to deal with unwanted results!