12 Things You Should Never Flush- But Why?

When it comes to flushing things down the toilet, there are certain rules you should follow. The impact of flushing unsuitable items poses a huge threat to the waterways and aquatic life. Toilets were designed to handle pee, paper, and poo only. Any other waste products are considered harmful not only to humans and other animals but can also cost you a lot of money in plumbing repairs!

Which Items Should You Never Flush

One important thing to remember is the list of things you can flush down the toilet is short. However, the list of things you shouldn’t flush is longer than a roll of loo paper! The rules around what can and can’t be flushed have been put in place to prevent severe blockages in your pipework and to reduce the levels of pollution in our waterways. It may seem more convenient to flush these items at the time, but we can say for certain that doing this continually will land you with big problems with your pipes and drains.

Wet Wipes

These are the most common item that gets flushed down the toilet, but they are disastrous for your pipework. Baby wipes, household cleaning wipes, and even “flushable” toilet wipes are all unsuitable for your toilet, despite what they might say on the packet. This is because they are unable to break down in the drain as toilet paper would, clogging your toilet and potentially damaging your sewerage system.

Sanitary Products

There are many issues that can arise from flushing sanitary products down the toilet. They are highly absorbent products; depending on the brand, they are not biodegradable. Once these items are in your sewerage system, they’re in there for good. The more water they absorb, the more swollen they become, taking up more space and blocking the system.


Dental Floss

Many people are under the misconception that dental floss is flushable. However, this is far from the case. This is because dental floss is small, so it won’t get stuck in your drains. But, dental floss causes damage elsewhere in the water system. It is unable to decompose.

Cotton Pads, Cotton Wool and Q-Tips

Never flush cotton pads or similar items down the toilet. They are highly absorbent and can cause blockages in your pipes. This includes cotton balls and pads. Even more damaging are cotton buds, also known as Q-tips. The plastic stick can end up in the ocean and harm marine life because it does not biodegrade.

Paper Towels

Paper hand towels are another product that will cause problems with your drainage system. They are much larger and more absorbent than toilet paper sheets, making it easier for them to block your pipework, meaning bad news for you and your toilet!

Kitchen Roll/Blue Roll

Can you flush blue roll? The answer is no. Even though it's made of paper, it's not meant to be flushed like toilet paper. Blue roll and kitchen roll are designed for absorbing spills, which makes them highly absorbent. Also, their size can cause issues with your pipes. Shockingly, 20% of people surveyed admitted to flushing kitchen roll. The best place for this type of paper is in the bin.

Fat & Oil

While grease and fat are in liquid form, it may seem like a good idea to flush these substances down the toilet. However, you need to take a few things into account. Fats, oil, and grease can solidify and become congealed in your pipework. Once this happens, it can be a pricey problem to fix.

Cigarette Butts

There is more than one reason that cigarettes are harmful, and one of these includes the damage they can do to our waterways. Cigarette butts are highly toxic, and if they make their way into the drains, the chemicals they secrete can severely harm both freshwater and marine life.

Drugs & Medications

Both illegal and prescription substances should never be flushed away. Because of their solvent form, once tablet medication makes its way into the water systems, it will begin to dissolve, polluting the water. This is extremely harmful to any fish and other animals who live in or around the water. Medical waste must always be disposed of correctly, and never ever flushed down the toilet.

Plastic Packaging

Any form of plastic packaging is completely unsuitable to flush down your toilet. Not only does plastic take hundreds of years to decompose, if it does at all, and it poses a huge threat to marine life. Fish and other aquatic animals can get stuck in the plastic packaging floating in the water, which can injure them or even be fatal.


Nappies work similarly to sanitary products. They have been developed to be highly moisture absorbent, so if left in water, they will swell to a much large size. Not only are nappies not biodegradable, but they are also guaranteed to cause damage to your pipes. If they make their way around the U-bend, they will likely get stuck in the waste pipe.

Cat Litter

Cat litter is commonly made from a substance called bentonite clay, which can build up in your pipes if repeatedly flushed down the toilet. As well as the litter causing problems, cat poo itself poses a risk of pollution in the water. Cat litter can carry a harmful parasite, toxoplasma gondii, which can spread into the waterways, potentially poisoning both humans and marine life.

Which Items Are Safe to Be Flushed Down the Toilet?

Over 24 million people have admitted to flushing these unsuitable products down the toilet. There are only three things that are safe to be flushed down the toilet, and thankfully, they’re easy to remember! 

  • Pee
  • Paper
  • Poo. 

That’s it. Any other items should be disposed of in the proper manner, either in a general waste bin or sanitary waste bin. Human waste is fine to be flushed because toilets and sewerage systems have been specifically designed to deal with this. The only other thing it is safe to flush is toilet paper. This is because it has been designed to break down in the water easily and is divided into small sheets to avoid clogging the pipes.

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