Emergency plumbers deal with disgusting toilet clogs every day. These clogs typically don't arise spontaneously; instead, they result from people flushing items down the toilet that the plumbing system can't handle. If you flush any of the following five common causes of toilet blockages, you need to change your habits right away, or risk facing an emergency plumbing bill.
1. "Flushable" Wipes
Many wipes that claim to be "flushable" can actually wreak havoc on home plumbing systems. When the Australian consumer organisation CHOICE conducted tests on 11 brands of "flushable" wipes, the results were worrying. Many wipes do not disintegrate in water, which means they could get stuck in the pipes and lead to a clog. According to information provided by Sydney Water and published by CHOICE, three-quarters of sewer blockages involve wet wipes, suggesting they are not as "flushable" as manufacturers claim.
Tampons may seem small and innocent, but they can contribute to blockages in home plumbing systems. When you submerge a tampon in water, it swells up to a much larger size, which can lead to a blockage in the pipe that takes waste from your toilet. Instead of flushing used tampons, wrap them in toilet paper or the packaging from your next tampon and throw them away with household waste.
When you clean out your hairbrush, what do you do with the hairs you pull from the bristles? If you flush them down the toilet, you could be putting your plumbing system at risk. Hair can twist around other items in the pipe and cause a clog. Although it is a natural substance, hair takes a very long time to break down.
4. Dental Floss
Like hair, dental floss can tangle with other items in the plumbing system and block the pipe. Even worse, dental floss doesn't break down in water, so it can become a very long-term problem if it becomes lodged in the pipe. You shouldn't stop using dental floss, as it is important for dental hygiene, but it is important to dispose of with solid trash, rather than throwing it in the toilet.
Disposing of a condom can be embarrassing, but it is even more embarrassing to watch an emergency plumber pull one out of a clogged toilet system. Condoms that fill with water can stretch across the pipe and cause a toilet to back up. When you have finished using a condom, tie the open end, slip the condom back inside its wrapper and throw it away, rather than flushing it.