There are a lot of products out there that claim to be “flushable”, but can actually do more harm than good. When it comes to keeping your septic system running smoothly, there are certain items that should never get flushed. Certain items that might seem flushable can actually cause serious clogs and backups, which might call for septic tank pumping to fully resolve the problem.
Here are 5 things to never flush down your toilet:
Baby wipes and face wipes are commonly used items in the bathroom, though they should be thrown away in the trash can instead of the toilet. While there are some wipes that are marketed as “flushable”, they still take a lot longer to disintegrate than products like toilet paper. If you tend to use wipes often and flush them, they can contribute to the buildup of solids in the septic tank and you may need to unclog your septic tank drain line.
2. Paper Towels
While paper towels might not seem that different from toilet paper, paper towels are actually designed quite differently with durability in mind. Many paper towel products are made to absorb a lot more moisture without breaking down like toilet paper does. Because paper towels stay strong when they absorb water it means they will last a lot longer in the septic system and can even clog the toilet.
Flushing medicines down the toilet can actually affect the delicate balance of bacteria in the septic tank that breaks down solids and processes liquid waste. Medications like antibiotics can even kill off the bacteria that are designed to properly and safely treat your septic system. Additionally, medicines have their own complex chemical combinations that can end up polluting and contaminating groundwater, harming nearby wildlife.
4. Cat Litter
Cat litter is another type of product that is sometimes marketed as flushable, though it can be a terrible combination with septic systems. Especially if you have a low-flow toilet, the flush might not produce enough water to safely move the litter through the pipes and into the septic tank. Cat litter is also designed to absorb liquids and clump, so if it doesn’t move through the pipes effectively it can cause clogs and backups. Cat litter often has chemicals in it that can also harm the bacteria in the septic tank necessary to treat waste.
5. Cotton Products
Cotton balls, cotton swabs, and feminine hygiene products are all unsafe to flush down the toilet. Cotton products do not break down effectively like toilet paper does because it naturally expands when absorbing liquids. Tampons and pads are also designed to absorb and not break down, and if you flush them, they may continue to expand, which could lead to a clogged pipe. Cotton swabs you use to clean your ears or do your makeup are not flexible and can also get stuck in drain pipes.
What to Do When Your Toilet Clogs
If you flush the toilet and the water takes a while to fully flush then that could be a sign that there’s an issue in the septic system. Clogged toilets can happen at the most inconvenient of times, and you might want to try to fix it yourself before calling in for septic tank services. If there is a clog in the pipe then you might be able to use a plunger to force air pressure into the drain. However, a large clog or a clog located deeper in the septic system may require the assistance of septic system professionals.
When to Call in the Professionals
If a large clog is present and you are unable to clear the clog with a plunger then it’s time to call in the professionals at Septic Masters, LLC. Additionally, the toilet backing up may not always be the sign of a clog. When you have a septic system, water that’s slow to flush can also be a sign of a full septic tank. If this is the case then you may need an emergency septic tank pumping. Technicians at Septic Masters, LLC, can inspect the system for clogs and recommend a septic tank pumping depending on what is causing the problem. Septic Masters, LLC, is available 24/7, 365 days a year so you can get the help you need as soon as possible.