What can I Flush Down my Toilet?

When it comes to what you can and should flush down any toilet, the list is actually very small. All toilets are designed to take your organic waste (stools and urine); you should be able to flush down unused soft food like soup or porridge; some can handle toilet paper (all on mains drainage should) and that is it. Anything else is taking a big risk. Having said that, the amount of call-outs drain unblocking companies receive each year to unblock toilets that have had inappropriate matter flushed down them is mind-blowing. This is of particular importance for households or workplaces with septic tanks, as these systems are far more fragile, but is also completely relevant to all properties and toilets.

Never pour fatty, greasy substances down the toilet

While certain cooked foods like soup or porridge can be flushed away in small amounts you should never under any circumstances countenance pouring fat or grease or food containing large amounts of this down the toilet or any drain or sink. You may have heard of sewage fat islands – well in London, there have been fat islands in sewers bigger than you could imagine. In 2017 a ‘fatberg’ was found that weighed 130 tonnes and measured 250m in length. In it were congealed tampons, syringes and other nasties and the task of breaking it down took nearly a month. On a micro-scale, your grease and fat may pour down the drain but within a matter of minutes it solidifies in the pipes and will act as a honey trap for other detritus. This is a fast-track to a blocked drain.

The only white item to be flushed is toilet paper

By far the most common cause of blocked domestic toilets is the flushing of sanitary towels, tampons, nappies, baby wipes, condoms, cotton wool and incontinence pads as well as other such items down the toilet. Keeping a bin, with liner in every bathroom and regularly emptying it is the best deterrent for anyone tempted to flush such inappropriate items down the toilet, causing a potentially costly and time-consuming issue, not to mention contributing to severe sewage contamination and problems down the line.

Be sparing with bleach and other chemicals

This one is especially pertinent to off-mains drainage folks as pouring too much bleach or other chemicals including medicines or mouthwash into the toilet can alter the delicate balance of bacteria needed to break down and ‘treat’ your waste. It is also not environmentally sound.

Tell guests the rules!

Especially for those with off-mains drainage systems and crucially for septic tank owners, it is vital that you make sure that guests are fully aware of what they should and shouldn’t dispose of in the toilet or down the sink.

The very last thing you want to happen to your sewage system is to cause a blockage. This can cause other problems, lead to foul smells, costly repairs and downtime. Taking care with all of the above will help to ensure that your system keeps running like clockwork.