A modern, standard toilet uses 1.6 gallons of water with each flush, reports the E.P.A. (United States Environmental Protection Agency.) Older toilets may use up from 3.5 to as many as 7 gallons per flush. Every time someone flushes something than is non-human waste, not only is water wasted but harmful chemicals are washed into your septic or sewer system.

Help keep your drains flowing by not flushing these items again.


Dirty diapers may contain human waste, but they should never be flushed down the toilet. Diapers will clog the drain and harm your septic system. Dispose of diapers in the trash or go eco-friendly and try cloth diapers that can be washed and reused as one way for preventing septic back-up.

Sanitary napkins and tampons

It seems like these items should cause no issue when flushed down a toilet. However, your home toilet can't accommodate these items if flushed because cotton will snag on pipes and become stuck. After multiple flushes, a buildup can form resulting in a clog. Depending on where the clog occurs, a repair expert may have to be called in to unclog the drain. This is an expense that can be avoided. If you continually flush items that are not friendly to your pipes, you'll be spending time and money cleaning your drain.

Dental floss

It's so easy to just toss used dental floss into the toilet after flossing and hitting the handle to flush it away. However, dental floss does not break down and easily becomes snagged and tangled within drain pipes. Keep drains running smoothly by tossing the floss into the trash and not the toilet.

Kitty litter

Silica litter can clog drains and clay-based litters are not good for the septic system. Litter is designed to absorb liquid. When it's flushed, it's likely it will continue to expand and that is not good for pipes. In addition, cat feces contain a parasite that can be harmful to marine mammals, which is why it should never be flushed down the toilet and into a sewer system or leach field.

Cigarette butts and ashes

Old cigarette butts and ashes are easy to flush but they are not good for the health of a septic or sewer system. They contain chemicals that can be harmful to either system and flushing cigarette butts regularly can lead to clogged drain. It's easy to maintain drains if you keep these items out of toilet. However, if you do end up with a clogged drain stay away from harsh chemicals that are damaging to the environment. Opt for an eco-friendly product such as DrainOut® to tackle a tough clog.

Cotton swabs

Just like the tampons and sanitary napkins, cotton swabs do not do well snaking their way through the pipes. Avoid flushing used cotton swabs down the toilet to help reduce the risk of clogs and drain back-ups.