Understanding what you’re flushing down the loo

You may not realise it, but it’s incredibly important to always consider what you flush down the toilet. There are problem items that can cause serious issues for the wastewater treatment network and wastewater treatment plant.

When the right items are flushed down the toilet, they go through a process that separates them from the water and disposes of them in a natural way. The water is then returned clean and void of waste into the seas and rivers.

However, when you flush items that shouldn’t be flushed, they can cause serious problems in not just the waterworks, but also in our homes. The items can stick together, and this can block pipes and pumps which can lead to flooding in our home. Some of these items can also end up on our beaches or polluting our oceans. If you have any enquiries, you can contact Thames Water customer services who will be happy to assist you.

To celebrate World Plumbing Day, we have put together our guide of what you can and can’t flush down the toilet and will explain why.

Toilet Roll

What are the worst toilet flushing offenders?

A recent survey suggested that 3 in 10 people in the UK have flushed bad items down the toilet. Those surveyed also admitted they didn’t realise the harm it could cause, and most did it for convenience reasons. So, it’s important that you understand what you can and can’t flush you’re your toilet.

There are some things that you may not realise can cause serious harms to yours, and others plumbing. One of the worst offenders is wet wipes.

It’s so easy when you’re cleaning the bathroom or taking your makeup off to just simply throw the wipe into the toilet, it’s easy disposal. They can, however, cause serious harm as they collect together and don’t decompose down. They are one of the main offenders in causing blocked drains. This includes makeup wipes, baby wipes and toilet/bathroom cleaning wipes.

Cotton wool buds and cotton wool balls have a similar effect, they gather together and can cause a jam. Even though, because they are a dense material, you would think they break down easily, they don’t! So, it’s important that you dispose of them in a bin.

This may sound a strange one, but you’d be surprised. Grease should not be poured down the toilet at all costs. Although it is a liquid when it cools it congeals and clogs up your pipes. Collect your grease in a jar or baking tray and throw it away in a garbage bin.

Here is a full list of what not to flush:

  • Wipes
  • Cotton Wool Buds
  • Cigarette Buds
  • Condoms
  • Plasters
  • Dental Floss
  • Nappies
  • Hair
  • Cotton Wool
  • Prescription Medication
  • Cooking Grease
  • Food Waste
  • Tampons
  • Sanitary Pads

Toilet Block

The Yorkshire Pudding Story

You’d be surprised what plumbing companies find blocking our drains, but one of the strangest stories came from East Anglia, and it claimed that Yorkshire Puddings were found to be blocking their pipes.

In a statement on their Twitter channel, East Anglia Water stated: Please don’t treat sewers as bins, avoid blocked pipes and compost your food waste.”.

Food waste clogs up in drains and pipes, so this story is evidence that you need to avoid disposing of items like this down the toilet. As strange as this story is, it’s not uncommon. So, make sure you don’t cause our water and energy companies a headache, keep food waste into dustbins, even if you’re not keen if your Mum’s Yorkshire’s aren’t as good as Aunt Bessie’s!

So, here you can see some of the common items that you may have flushed down the toilet before without realizing the potential damage they can cause. In the future, help save our beaches and hardship for our plumbers and stick to flushing toilet roll!