None of these things break down in the sewer pipes of your home or on the way to the wastewater treatment plant. So what happens when you flush them down the toilet or drain? Since they don't break down, they can tangle and clump together, forming clogs that cause sewage to back up into your home or neighborhood. Even items labeled "flushable" can clog sewer pipes. Defend Your Drains by disposing of these products in the trash (where they belong) before they cause unpleasant and expensive problems.
Wipes are designed to be stronger than facial tissue or toilet tissue, so they don’t break down in water. This includes baby wipes, bathroom wipes, facial or cosmetic wipes, personal hygiene wipes, disinfecting wipes, floor cleaning or dusting wipes and toilet bowl scrub pads. Even products labeled "flushable" can clog your sewer line because their plastic fibers don’t break down quickly.
Wipes should always be thrown directly into the trash.
Feminine hygiene products, such as sanitary napkins and tampons, are made of fibers like cotton and rayon. They are designed to absorb liquids instead of breaking down like toilet paper. These products can easily result in a clogged sewer line.
Wrap used products in toilet tissue, then put them in the trash.
Paper towels are designed to be absorbent and strong, and specifically not to break down in water. They are not intended to be flushed down the toilet.
Throw used paper towels in the trash – or switch to cloth, which can be washed and reused.
While it's possible to flush things like dental floss, hair, cotton swabs, cotton balls and condoms down the toilet, it's a bad idea. None of these items break down in water, and they can tangle with other items and block your sewer line. Just because something is used or dirty doesn't mean it should go down the toilet.
Toss these items in the trash.
These things should not go down any drain because they can be either hazardous to water quality or turned into something beneficial. Defend Your Drains by disposing of these products as described to prevent plumbing problems and to protect the quality of our lakes, rivers and streams.
Fats, oils and grease will harden in your pipes or the city sewer lines, and could cause a sewer backup either in your home or neighborhood. Fats, oils and grease come from meats, butter, lard, food scraps, sauces, dressings, dairy products and cooking oil. And, yes, gravy can cause problems too. Even hot, soapy water won’t move these substances very far through the pipes before they start to solidify.
While it's OK for small amounts of household chemicals to go down the drain - no more than about a cup - large amounts of these chemicals should not be disposed by way of your household plumbing. Bleach, disinfectants and other household cleaners are difficult to extract from water, and chemicals can be harmful to workers and the environment.
When getting rid of these products, Dallas residents should take them to the Dallas County Home Chemical Collection Center for proper disposal.
If you put medicines such as antibiotics, antidepressants, vitamins or pain medications down the drain or into the toilet, they end up in the water supply because water treatment processes can't completely remove them.
Leftover paint, insecticides, herbicides and paint remover can be hazardous, and they should not be disposed of by way of your household plumbing. These chemicals are difficult and expensive to remove from the water and could damage your home.