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5 things people put down the toilet that they shouldn’t!

23rd November 2021 Print

Most of us are aware that there are certain things we shouldn’t put down the toilet – but we can’t always easily remember what those ‘forbidden’ items are. The general rule has long been to only put toilet paper down the toilet, along with anything that comes from your body. 

It can be so easy, though, for many of us to get a little lazy, and end up flushing items that could be highly damaging to the plumbing in our property. 

Let’s, then, look at just five things that you should avoid putting down the toilet, so that you can hopefully avoid an anxious call to the plumber.


Sadly, even ‘flushable’ wipes aren’t toilet friendly! Baby wipes, makeup wipes – and, with the recent pandemic – disinfectant wipes clog thousands upon thousands of toilets on a daily basis. These wipes are often marketed as biodegradable, but this is a process that takes quite a lengthy amount of time. Unlike toilet paper, they do not dissolve at all. By flushing wipes, even once, you run the risk of causing irritating, costly clogs. 

Gallingly, as of 2020, 21% of Brits were still flushing their wet wipes, despite blockage warnings. We understand how easy it seems to flush a wipe and go on with your day, but you might pay for this mistake dearly later on. Backed up sewage, and the smell that follows, is just one impact of a blocked drain caused by flushed wipes.

We would advise investing in a lined rubbish bin for your bathroom, as an efficient way to dispose of your wipes. 

Cotton balls, pads and buds

Cotton balls, pads and (especially!) cotton buds are deceivingly small. This leads many to believe that they can be easily flushed down the toilet. However, cotton products can wreak havoc on your plumbing. 

Cotton is one of the most absorbent materials available to us, and can easily expand and clog your pipes. Unlike toilet paper, cotton balls, pads and buds are very unlikely to break down and dissolve when flushed away – building up inside pipelines before you know it. In the most damaging scenario, your pipes might break entirely, with sticky clumps of cotton unable to be removed. 

So, we would urge you to play it safe, and avoid flushing cotton products entirely. It is best to leave the flushing to your toilet paper. 

Menstrual products

It is estimated that over 1.5 million period products are flushed down the toilet every year in the UK. This statistic might seem high, to a shocking extent, but it is likely true. 

Disposing of your menstrual products in an appropriate manner can be difficult, and many choose the ‘easier’ path of flushing used products away. Unfortunately, as you continue to flush tampons, applicators and pads, the likelihood that they will accumulate and block your drains greatly increases. This is in no small part thanks to their absorbent properties, which enables them to potentially expand to several times larger than their original size. 

Once your drains are blocked, flooding becomes a great, and very expensive risk. Avoid this by disposing of your menstrual products in a more sustainable way, wrapped up in the bin. 

Excessive toilet paper

Sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing! Although toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water, with the aim of preventing pesky blockages, excessive amounts of toilet paper placed down the toilet can – and will! – clog your drains, unable to get through the small pipes of your toilet. 

Not only is excessive use of toilet paper wasteful and damaging to our environment, but it also takes quite the toll on your plumbing. All in all, it is best to use just what you need to keep your plumbing flowing smoothly. 

Paper towels

Many people assume paper towels are a reasonable alternative to toilet paper when supplies are low. Sadly, this couldn’t be further than the truth! Paper towels are made for absorbing water, not dissolving in it. The more paper towels you flush, the more you place your plumbing at risk. Pipes are easily clogged with paper towels, and if that occurs at your property, it will be a problem only solved with professional help. 

The good news is that if you do flush an item that causes a nasty blockage, there are professionals on hand to help. Call our reputable blocked toilet plumbers in London, and we will get to you quickly to help put your problem at an end.  

Flushing something we shouldn’t is inevitable for most of us, whether it’s a wipe or a cotton bud. Don’t feel too bad about it, but don’t let the issue get out of hand! Blockages in your pipes can become more than troublesome if left unchecked, and, in some cases, can lead to flooding and the growth of disease-ridden bacteria. 

Arranging a callout with a professional plumber could help alleviate the problem, and your anxiety, in one fell swoop – so don’t be afraid to get in touch with our experts at First Call Drainage UK, whenever you might need us.