Don't Flush the Paper Towels

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Photo of 4 rolls of paper towels

So everything that is happening with the Corona Virus and the Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, people are turning to different items to keep themselves clean and fresh.

Many have now turned to Paper Towels. Large enough (even cut in half) and durable enough to do the job. But wait!! Do not flush these!!

Here are 10 things you should never flush:

1. Cotton Balls/Q-Tips

You may think that this type of cotton is flushable since a lot of toilet paper is made from cotton linen, but it is not! Cotton balls, Q-tips, and cotton rounds will clump together in your pipes and cause a clog.

2. Paper Towels

Paper towels are tough and not made to dissolve in water. Some are even strong enough to hold a bowling ball, if you remember the commercial. Even the biodegradable kinds are not meant to be flushed, so throw all paper towels in the trash, not the toilet.

3. Dental Floss

No dental floss is meant to dissolve in water, so it will end up getting stuck and tangled in pipes and sewage systems, snagging other things like fats, oils, paper towels, wipes, and other material. 

4. Facial Tissue

Like paper towels, tissues are made to be much stronger than toilet paper. Toilet paper is a specially designed product made of shortened fibers to speed up the process of disintegration.

5. Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes cause the biggest trouble for toilets and septic systems since so many people use them and think that they are “flushable.” As a result, there have been public awareness campaigns, lawsuits, and countless stories of the problems they cause for sewage treatment centers. Brands are now being forced to remove the “flushable” and “disposable” labels and warn consumers not to flush them. We understand their appeal, but just like tissues and paper towels, remember to throw these in the trash.

6. Band-Aids

Band-Aids contain plastic which is not biodegradable. Throw these in the trash, where they belong.

7. Diapers

Diapers are thick and can expand and cause pipe clogs, usually in the U-bend. Even the biodegradable kinds will tell you not to flush them. Do the responsible thing and throw the diapers and wet wipes in the trash.

8. Pills

Any drugs, including pills, should never be flushed down the toilet. This isn’t so much a clog concern, but rather an environmental one.  Most medications cannot be removed from the water, so they end up in our lakes, oceans, rivers, and ponds.

9. Cat Litter

You may think that it would be healthier and more environmentally friendly to dispose of cat waste and litter in your toilet, but this isn’t the case. Although some litter brands may market themselves as flushable, others can expand to 15 times their normal size and clog your pipes. Additionally, cat feces contain a parasite call toxoplasma gondii, which cannot be broken down by sewage systems and can enter the oceans and cause harm to wildlife. This goes for all pet excrement.

10. Feminine Products

Most public restrooms have signs and little disposal bins to encourage women to throw away, not flush, their feminine products. Like the other cotton items on our list, tampons will expand and cause clogs. Just don’t do it, ladies.

Don’t flush any of these items either:

  • Hair
  • Paint/Sealants/Thinners
  • Oils/Grease/Food/Coffee Grounds
  • Bandages/Bandage Wrapping
  • Pet Excrement
  • Condoms
  • Anything Plastic
  • Poisons/Hazardous Waste
  • Cigarette Butts

Regular toilet paper is the only thing you should flush down your toilet.


Remember if you do have a plumbing issue do not hesitate to call JPI Plumbing & Heating, Inc. We are available 24/7 to help you in your plumbing emergencies. Call us at 718-727-9100.

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