12 Things That Shouldn’t Be Dumped Down the Drain

People throw all sorts of things down the sewer. Among the most unpleasant things that plumbers find there are plastic bottles, bricks, and even clothes. Of course, regular people won’t try to get rid of their things in this barbaric way. But who would have thought that even the most harmless things, such as dental floss or a face mask can end up clogging a pipe?

Today, Bright Side has prepared a list of things that you should never throw down the sewer.

1. Toilet paper

There is a lot of debate over whether or not it is okay to flush toilet paper down the drain. Most experts think that this doesn’t do any harm if you live in a regular house or in an apartment building. However, if there is a septic tank, you shouldn’t throw anything down the drain.

2. Dental floss

Dental floss consists of fibrous material which is why it can get piled up inside pipes and can form clogs. Also, throwing away dental floss down the drain is not eco-friendly at all. Synthetic fiber doesn’t decompose and harms the environment.

3. Bubble gum

Bubble gum doesn’t dissolve in water and it can also stick to the pipes and form a clog. This is why you should never get rid of bubble gum this way.

4. Fish

It seems to be really common to flush dead fish down the drain. However, this is not a good idea at all as the dead bodies can block the pipe.

In Canada, the authorities asked the citizens to not throw live fish down the sewer.

5. A Band-Aid

A regular Band-Aid is made of a lot of different things — fats, wax, rubber, and other ingredients. It doesn’t dissolve in water and can clog the pipes in your house.

6. Contact lenses

Contact lenses are made of polymers that don’t decompose for many years. Of course, a tiny lens probably won’t block a pipe but it will definitely harm the environment. Experts calculated that each year, more than 25 tons of contact lens end up in sewers and contaminate water.

7. Cat litter

The sewage system is supposed to help us get rid of feces, and cat feces are no exception. However, experts don’t recommend throwing away cat litter. In a few hours, the litter will solidify and get stuck somewhere in the pipe. Remember: cat litter should be thrown away along with the rest of the trash you have.

8. Chlorine bleach

Chlorine-based detergents are very aggressive. In fact, they are so aggressive that they can damage the pipes if you use them too often. In fact, you don’t need to wash your toilet every day using these detergents — you can use vinegar instead.

9. Face masks

Clay-based face masks should not be washed down the sewer. The small particles eventually will pile up on the inside of the pipes and make a huge clog. The upper layer of the mask should be removed with a piece of cloth and the rest of the small particles can be washed off with water.

10. Tea leaves

Despite the fact that tea leaves seem completely harmless, they actually aren’t. Over time, tea leaves pile up inside the pipes and form clogs that are very hard to remove.

11. Plastic bags

Even the smallest pieces of plastic bags can be dangerous — they form clogs and, of course, they are really dangerous to the environment.

12. Products that say you can throw them down the sewer.

The information on the pack that says that toilet paper is safe to wash down the sewer is, most of the time, just a marketing ploy. In fact, such paper can be dissolved only within several hours which is more than enough time to form a clog.

There is a simple way to find out if toilet paper will dissolve. Put pieces of toilet paper into a glass of cold water. And if you still see big pieces 5-10 minutes after, it means that you can’t throw this toilet paper into the sewer. But if the pieces are almost impossible to notice, it means that you can believe the manufacturer.

Do you throw any of these things down the sewer? Have you ever had any trouble? Tell us in the comments section below.

Please note: This article was updated in June 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Illustrated by Sergey Raskovalov for Bright Side


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