So your toilet clogs often and you don’t know the reasons why. In the modern age of technology, we are afforded the ability to have indoor toilets. With this luxury comes the occasional clogged toilet.
We all instinctively know that flushing trash down the toilet isn’t the best idea. And let’s face it, a clogged toilet is a smelly thing to have to deal with.
Furthermore, flushing things down your toilet that is not from your own body, wastes water, approximately 3 gallons with each flush. But of course we’re all human and sometimes through sheer laziness we flush things down the toilet because we think we can get away with it.
We’ve all been there before, you flush the toilet and instead of the water rushing out of the bowl, the solid waste rises to the top. The natural instinct is the get rid of that nasty stuff so you flush the toilet again and now you have an unwanted mess all on your bathroom floor.
Don’t you wish you knew why your toilet seems to clog for no reason so that you could eliminate these bathroom catastrophes? In this post, we’ll give you the definitive guide of why your toilet clogs frequently and what you can do as a homeowner to prevent it from happening.
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You put something in your toilet that wasn’t meant to flush. Don’t be fooled by that “flushable” label that you see being advertised on many products today. Just because it says flushable doesn’t mean your toilet will agree with the manufacturers of those products.
The truth is your toilet is not able to break down those items that are labeled as flushable and thus clog your toilet and your sewer system. So here are some items that you should not flush:
Dental floss is not biodegradable. A little dental floss may not seem like a big deal but you can imagine what happens when it all starts to tangle together. Just throw your floss in the trash.
Toilet fresheners. Don’t treat your toilet like a garbage can. The truth of the matter is that items like these don’t disintegrate fast enough and sooner rather than later you will have a blocked drain and toilet.
Oil, grease and fat. The best rule of thumb is never to flush any food at all down your toilet. If it’s designed to be eaten by you, let your body process it before you pour it into your toilet. Oil, grease and fat may go in as a liquid but then they cool when they come in contact with the cold pipes. Over time, they make your pipe openings smaller and smaller. Think of what clogged arteries look like and then you’ll get the picture. Instead, you can pour your grease into a heavy duty Ziplock bag and when its full throw it in the garbage.
Bandaids. Most bandaids are made of plastic ,which isn’t biodegradable, that can lead to clogged toilets. The best place for used band-aids is in the garbage can.
Medication. Clogs really aren’t the issue when it comes to flushing pills down the toilet but contaminating our water supply is a huge issue. The water in your toilet is water that ends up in our rivers, oceans, lakes and sewer systems don’t remove medicines from the water. Dispose of your old unused pills and any other medications through your local pharmacy.
Q-tips and cotton balls. Neither of these items is biodegradable so they don’t break down when you flush. Cotton balls tend to lump together and clog up your pipes.
Disposable wipes. Some of these wipes will tell you on the packaging that they can be flushed down your toilet. Please don’t ever do that. These wipes should definitely be thrown into the trash. To learn more about why flushing disposable wipes is a bad idea, even the ones that say they are safe for sewers and septic tanks, check out this Fatberg article.
Paper towels. Paper towels don’t break down nearly as fast as toilet paper. Yes, those Bounty paper towels will clog your toilet quicker than you can call a plumber.
Tampons and pads. There’s a good reason why every restaurant has a sign prominently posted in their bathrooms “do not flush feminine hygiene products down the toilet.” They also place a little basket for you to dispose of these items. Feminine hygiene products are absorbent and this makes them expand past the point where it makes it safe for them to flow through your plumbing. This would also include cotton pads and cotton swabs.
Condoms. We won’t get into a long discussion of why flushing condoms in the toilet is a bad idea. Just realize its better to wrap them in a discreet fashion and dispose of them in the trash.
Hair. Just because hair comes from your body doesn’t mean it can safely be flushed down the toilet. Arguably, hair clogs more drains than anything else on this list, so either compost it or throw it into the garbage.
Kitty litter. Your kitten should have their own toilet and unless you’re training your cat on how to pee and poop on a human toilet you should dispose of their waste in the trash, compost or by recycling it.
Cigarettes. Cigarettes put pollutants in our water supply when their chemicals are released. Ashtrays are a much better solution for your butts.
Goldfish. Either you or someone you know has made Goldie’s graveyard the toilet bowl. The problem with this is that goldfish could have diseases that are being released into the waterways which are unhealthy for all of us.
Also, if you have little ones roaming around your house it’s not a bad idea to use a childproof lock that prevents unwanted items from being tossed down the toilet.
Hard water deposits in your pipes. The build up of calcium magnesium caused by the hardness of the water could be the culprit of your clogged toilet. This can be especially true if your home hasn’t been repiped in awhile and it’s still using that old copper plumbing.
A couple of options are you could have a full house water filtration system installed in your home which is the most expensive route but well worth it for a number of health reasons not just preventing water hardness.
You also could clean the hard water deposits from your bowl by pouring a homemade solution inside the toilet bowl. Mix together 1’1/2 cups of white distilled vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda and pour it into your bowl. Use a toilet brush to remove the water deposits. When you’re done be sure to flush the toilet. This may prevent the toilet clogs every time you flush.
Tree and plant roots. Roots will not only cause toilet clogs but they can also do extensive damage to your main pipes. Once or twice a year it’s a good idea to put some type of root killer down the main drain.
We like Roebic Foaming Root Killer that you can pick up on Amazon for about $20. The good thing about this product is that there is no copper in it. It expands and coats the whole pipe when its inside and this allows it to get all around the pipe where the tree roots are looking for water and nutrients.
Clogged toilet rim jets. The source of the problem is actually within the rim of the toilet not visible to the naked eye. Cleaning your toilet on a regular schedule is one way to help reduce clogs. This would include the rim jet holes where minerals deposits and bacteria tend to accumulate.
You have a dual flush toilet. With a dual flush toilet, you have the option to use a half flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste. Make sure that you are pushing the right button so that your toilet is able to handle the load it’s given. The flush needs to be strong enough to handle the waste it’s being given.
Toilet paper overload. Putting too much toilet paper in the bowl at once, regardless of the type or brand, will cause your toilet to clog. Try to drop and flush smaller loads to prevent this from happening.
According to any plumber that are worth listening to there are three things that can be safely flushed down your toilet. That would be urine, solid waste, and toilet paper.