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What Not to Flush

What Not to Flush
19th December 2012

One of the messiest plumbing catastrophes to deal with is the unexpected toilet overflow. Even if the clog responsible for the overflow is minor enough that you can plunge it away yourself, the messy clean-up that follows is never pleasant. When clogs are more serious, they can require professional plumbing repairs and emergency calls to a plumber.

The good news is that you can take steps to prevent toilet clogs. The majority of the time, overflows occur after items that should not have been flushed become lodged in the pipes. Sometimes one item is the culprit, while other times, it's a build up of years of debris that have jammed up the pipes. By following this easy guide of what not to flush, you can help prevent clogs and lessen the chances of a toilet overflow.


Cleaning up a dirty nappy is never a pleasant task, but flushing it down the toilet can lead to even nastier problems in the future. To deal with nappies, dump any solid waste into the bowl to eliminate as much of the unpleasant odours as you can. Then, use a diaper waste pail with a closed top to contain the mess.

Feminine Hygiene Products

Like nappies, feminine hygiene products can be unpleasant to handle, so it's tempting to dispose of them in the bowl. Unfortunately, even products that are labelled as flush-able can become jammed in the pipes and lead to clogs. A better solution for these items is to keep small paper bags next to the toilet for neat, discrete disposal.

Kitty Litter

Scoop-able and even flushable cat litter is a common cause of clogs in the toilet bowl. In addition, litter can carry parasites that you don't want to introduce to the water supply. Opt for disposing of litter in the trash.

Paper Towels

Often, people toss paper towels in the toilet bowl, believing that towels are not that different from toilet paper. While it's true that both are made from paper, paper towels are thicker and not designed to dissolve the way toilet paper does.

Cotton Balls and Cotton Swabs

Because of their small size, cotton balls and cotton swabs seem like harmless items to flush away, but in fact, they can add to a forming clog or accumulate and cause a clog on their own.


While a "burial at sea" is traditional for fish, flushing dead pets down the toilet is not a good idea. Fish can carry parasites or get trapped in the pipes and decompose, leading to unpleasant odours.

If you believe you have a clog, call us here at Sydney Emergency Plumbing for help.

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