8 Things to Stop Flushing Down the Toilet

Learn why you should stop flushing these items down your toilet.

The next time you decide to clean out your medicine cabinets and clean your bathroom stop yourself before you discard medications and junk into your toilet. Why? If you’ve been treating the porcelain bowl as a trash compactor, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening when it comes to plumbing problems. Not only can flushing objects down the toilet back up your toilet; they can cause damage to your pipes, your sewage system, and cause backups in your home. Your township or city’s sewage and water purification departments are spending money trying to remove all of those non-flushable items from the water supply. Depending on what you tossed into the toilet, it could also break down and pollute the water with chemicals and plastics, or, it may not break down and could impact wildlife. Make everyone’s life easier by letting your toilet do the job it’s supposed to, discarding everything else in the trash. Here are common items to stop tossing in the John.

Any “Flushable” Wipes

Plenty of products such as wipes often claim to be flushable, but they aren't, according to the City of Oregon Environmental Services website. Even though the packaging for wet wipes, adult wipes or baby wipes may say “safe for septic and sewers” they don’t disintegrate the way toilet paper does and could cost you or your township money as they back up sewage systems. Throw them out in your bathroom garbage can.


Contact Lenses

When you’re done with your contacts, dispose of them in the trash so the microplastics don’t wind up in the environment. According to an article on PopSci.com, “Contact lenses are made of complicated polymers that create a material known as hydrogel. These polymers sink to the bottom of the wastewater tanks.” Billions of contact lenses end up in wastewater each year, according to the article. The lenses even wind up spread on fields with the fertilizer. Throw them in the garbage or send them to a recycling program.

Medications

You’ve heard this one before, but here’s why it’s important. Depending on what medications you’re tossing in your toilet, the concern is that they might be impacting the environment, water safety, and the ecology of rivers and streams. The FDA has a program to help dispose of unwanted medications, through a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) collector in your area and a National Prescription Take-Back Day. Some prescription medications are considered “safe to flush” according to the FDA website, like powerful narcotic pain medicines (fentanyl patch) and other controlled substances — which have instructions for flushing to reduce the danger of overdose from unintentional or illegal use. Read medication labels and dispose of medicines safely.

Pet Poop

It’s time to stop tossing Fluffy’s litter box findings in your toilet. Just because your waste goes down the toilet doesn’t mean you should dump all living creatures’ poop into the bowl. Throw any kind of pet poop in the garbage, even better if it’s an outdoor can so it doesn’t stink up your home.

Tampons and Applicators

Yes, tampons are said to be biodegradable, but that doesn't mean they can do that in the toilet. They’re designed to degrade in a landfill. When you flush tampons (or the applicators) down the toilet, they can wind up in our oceans, according to the Ocean Conservancy.  Some women switch to using menstrual cups to reduce their waste during their periods. Depending on the brand, some cups can be tossed in with compost; others are medical grade silicone and should be disposed of in the trash.

Condoms

Tossing used condoms in the toilet is a no-no, unless you don’t mind possibly seeing that condom again. Your toilet might back up right away and you’ll need to use a plunger. Also, if you’re using a latex condom, they won’t break down in the sewer system. Though they are usually discarded at the beginning of the water recycling process, if they aren’t found, they could end up in our oceans and lakes. Wrap a used condom in tissue, toilet paper, or a paper bag and toss it in the garbage.

Bandages and Bandage Wrappings

Think it’s easier to toss a bloody Band-Aid down the toilet rather than tossing it in the garbage? They might clog up your pipes. Dispose of a bandage by wrapping it up in a tissue and then tossing it in the trash.

Diapers

These are also not flushable, no matter what the packaging says. They’ll back up the sewage systems, and, if they aren’t caught in the cleaning process, could also wind up in our oceans. (Think about that the next time you order fresh fish.) Place soiled disposable diapers in a plastic-lined trashcan. If you’re using a cloth diaper, dispose of waste in the toilet before adding the diaper to a specially designated garbage can.

Related:

4 Easy, Natural Cleaning Fixes 

Does Your Poop Look Normal?

How Your Environment Impacts Asthma
 

7 Essential Items to Have for a Pandemic Date, According to a Relationship Expert

Celebrity divorce attorney and relationship expert Vikki Ziegler says you should treat COVID-19 like an STD.

Just when we thought relationships and dating could not get any more complicated, the pandemic took this matter to a whole new level. Celebrity divorce attorney and relationship expert, Vikki Ziegler receives an abundance of questions about this exact topic, every single day. Her fans and followers message her via her social media channels, in the hopes of finding the right way to safely date during these times. So, if this topic has crossed your mind, rest assured you are not alone.

For those who used to "swipe left and right," on the regular, Vikki recommends slowing down for the time being, no matter what type of antibacterial wipes are being used between your swipes. Serial dating during COVID-19 can be dangerous and also very selfish at the same time. This might be a good time to either take a break from dating altogether, or invest more time in one relationship and being monogamous, at least for right now. "Everyone should treat COVID-19 as they do an STD, while dating and practice safe EVERYTHING, even beyond just intimacy," says Ziegler. "This will simplify the process and make the do's and don'ts much less complex."

She recommends that new partners keep the dating virtual prior to both being tested and or having the vaccine. "Screendating" can still be both fun and safe at the same time. She suggests that you still wear your favorite new dress, get that fresh haircut or blowout and act as though you are still going out, even if the date is happening in the privacy of your own home. She has suggested some ideas such as virtual movie nights, happy hours, cooking classes, and the most obvious, the at-home and virtual dining date. This would entail both partners ordering food to each of their respective homes, but using the same menu as if they were dining in person.

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