What Not to Flush
Stuff which would be better not to flush down a toilet or into the septic system.
- Cotton swabs (Q-TipsŪ) have been known to clog a drain or two - not biodegradable, though trivial in volume.
- Dental floss is not biodegradable, though trivial in volume.
oils, grease - Waste or unwanted cooking oil, other than incidental
oils and fats from washing dishes and pots and pans shoulf not be sent
to the septic system.
food from a garbage disposer - This adds to the solids load in the
septic tank and increases the needed pumping frequency. For more details on the effects of a garbage disposer or grinder on septic systems, take a look at this.
- Hair - Animal or human hair combings do not decompose in septic tanks and can speed clogging of septic filters.
detergent - Avoid using more than the necessary amount of powdered
detergent. Better still, use liquid laundry detergent. Excessive
amounts of powdered laundry detergent often fail to dissolve in the
washing machine. These pass solid clumps of detergent into the septic
tank speed clogging of the system and in severe cases can even block a
building drain. "Budget" powdered laundry detergents contain extra
amounts of fillers (in some cases montmorillonite clay), which increase the risk of system clogging. Don't use more laundry detergent than is necessary.
which are basically not biodegradable cotton are advised against in the
"Don't Flush" list above. In fact a couple of tampons are not going to
clog up a drain line nor ruin the septic tank. However they'll still be
there years later when the tank is pumped. In a large household where
many of these items may need to be disposed of, wrapping them in
toilet tissue and placing them in the garbage is a better destination.
- Unwanted cooking oil, cleaners, and the like should not be emptied down your drains. So we listed them above as "never flush".
machine lint which speeds the clogging of septic systems can be kept
out of the septic tank and drain field by using a washing machine lint
- Photo chemicals, paints, thinners, oils, varnishes, pesticides, used
motor oil, unwanted cooking oil should never be flushed down a toilet
nor put into any other building drains.
- Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and should not be flushed into the septic system.
- Coffee grounds should not be flushed into the septic system.
- Dirt, such as from people who clean their flower pots in the bath tub should never be flushed down a building drain.
prescription or non-prescription medicines, should never be flushed
down a toilet unless your pharmacist or the drug manufacturer tells you
specifically that the particular drug is absolutely harmless to the
- Condoms won't
clog a pipe but like some other debris, the are (mostly) not
biodegradable. So we listed them above as "never flush".
For more information about septic systems, including things not to flush, look here.