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Common Disposables That Can Clog Drains or Sewer Line

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Keeping your drains and sewers flowing smoothly day in and day out doesn’t typically require a lot of thought, but you can accidentally impede drain function if you have bad habits such as throwing trash in your toilet. If so, you’ll need to retrain yourself because most items other than human waste can clog your drains or the sewer line itself.

Learn what items you should never put down the drain, as well as what you should do with them instead.

Flushable Wipes

You should never flush wipes down the toilet. Personal wipes, baby wipes, wet wipes, and even flushable wipes are all a no-go.

If you flush the wipes because you heard it’s better for the environment, you were misinformed. Not only does flushing take water, but flushable wipes contain plastic so they don’t typically deteriorate well, and they’re often filtered out of the wastewater at the processing plant and then sent to the landfill.

What this means is that flushing them, instead of just sending them to the landfill to begin with, ends up using more processing and transportation energy. In addition, wipes could potentially cause problems with your plumbing, causing huge sewer clogs, and damaging the machinery at the wastewater plant.

So just throw these wipes in the trash. If you’d like a more eco-friendly alternative to personal wipes, consider a bidet attachment.

Paper Materials

Even items such as paper napkins, paper towels, and facial tissues aren’t toilet- or plumbing-friendly. This may seem counterintuitive, since they’re made out of paper. But unlike toilet paper, they’re not designed to fall apart easily, which is why they have more cleaning power and can absorb plenty of water without failing.

Some paper disposables can be composted as long as they don’t have grease, chemicals, or biohazards on them. Otherwise, simply throw them into the trash.

Dental Products

A piece of dental floss seems totally harmless, right? It’s thin and should easily fit down the drains without causing any problems. Unfortunately, due to the swirling action and the tight spaces inside the drains, dental floss has a tendency to wrap around other items such as wads of wet toilet paper, holding them together in a formation that can cause a drain blockage.

Typically, you should dispose of dental floss in the trash. If you’d like a less wasteful option, buy biodegradable silk dental floss that you can compost.

Makeup and Makeup Accessories

Makeup itself can cause clogs if you rinse too much of it down the drain over the months and years. So you’ll want to minimize the amount of cosmetics and similar products that make it into your sink. But the items you use to apply and remove the makeup can cause problems as well if they find their way into the drain or toilet.

Cotton swabs, balls, and rounds are absorbent and disposable like paper products, yet they’re actually not made of paper. Cotton is a plant material often used in clothing because it’s so strong, tear-resistant, and absorbent. The absorbency means it will swell inside the drain, and the strength of its fibers means it’s an excellent material to build a clog around.

On top of that, cotton fibers can actually get stronger once they go down the drain. Unlike your hair, which is fragile when wet, plant fibers such as cotton actually gain strength from water. Keep cotton items out of the drains, and send them to the compost or landfill instead.

As you can see, many harmless-looking disposable items can transform into drain-clogging devices once you flush them down the toilet into your sewer line. They can also cause problems in the city sewers if you’re lucky enough to flush them all the way out of your home and to the main sewer with no problems.

If you’ve noticed that your drains are running slowly lately or if they’ve started to smell strange, you could have a drain clog. Call Rapid First Plumbing today and let us know so we can help you get your plumbing back into shape.

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