10 Things You Should Never Flush Down Your Drains

10 Things You Should Never Flush Down Your Drains

10 things not to flush into your septic system

Many items on the market today state that they are flushable. These items can include moist flushable wipes, disinfecting wipes, makeup-removing wipes, cleaning solutions, pipe cleaners, and more. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.


Many of these items have one base material in common… cotton and plastic—neither of these items breaks down inside the septic tank. Septic tanks are designed to break down human waste… yes pee and poop, and simple toilet paper.  When items like wipes state they are “septic safe”, those words are just marketing jargon.

Today, I’d love to share with you the top 10 things we see inside of the septic tank that should NOT be there!

  1. Grease and Excessive Food Waste – your sink and your garbage disposal should not be used as a kitchen garbage can. Food waste goes into the real garbage can. Flushing grease and excessive food waste down your drains will not only coats the pipes in your home and cause backup issues, but will also clog up the baffles in the septic tank and cause backup issues. 
  2. “Flushable Wipes” – if you know me at all, these are Priority Pumping’s nemesis. Check out more about why you should use these dirty little things in our blog on Why flushable wipes are ruining your septic system.
  3. Paper Towels and Disinfecting Wipes – These items do not break down inside of the septic tank. When used in large quantities, they will get hung up on filters, stuck in baffles and sewer lines, and create a much higher pumping bill since they are extremely hard to get out of the septic tank…and our septic truck, once we arrive at the disposal location.
  4. Feminine Products: tampons/applicators, maxi pads, and more – Again, these items are made of cotton and plastic and they do not break down inside of the septic tank. When these items are flushed, they enter the tank and create a “quilt” that floats on the septic tank effluent levels. These blobs of cotton goo are very difficult to remove and result in higher pumping bills.
  5. Kitty Litter and Hair – Kitty litter is used to absorb cat pee – what do you think it is doing when you introduce it to your septic tank? It’s an absorbent material – it will turn like concrete in the bottom of your septic tank. Hair also coagulates with all the items in the tank and makes massive balls of yuck that are also hard to suck out during your pumping service.
  6. Cotton pads, Diapers, Cotton Swabs, Bandages – Use the garbage can – cotton and plastic once again. I’m not even sure how people get diapers down to the septic tank, but they do and they make a giant mess. Again, this a product designed to absorb water….
  7. Medication or other Hazardous Materials (paint, cleaners, bleach, etc)  medications flushed consistently will cause disposal field failure because it changes the effluent water leaving the septic tank. Medications can be properly disposed of at many pharmacies and should be taken care of that way. The same goes with paint and other harmful hazardous chemicals, only dispose of these items at the proper facilities. Although it may not appear harmful, long-term exposure to these kinds of items can cause environmental harm.
  8. Anything Plastic – little toys or minor things like protection wrapping on bottles, bottle seals, wrappers, and more cause serious harm to pipes and tanks.
  9. Cigarette Butts – just don’t, please! Cotton again! 
  10. Condoms or Disposable Gloves – latex doesn’t break down either so just put them in the trash. Flushing condoms does not get rid of them forever, trust us…they will surface when we pump your tank!
Picture of Tanya Wilson

Tanya Wilson

Tanya Wilson is the owner and CEO of Priority Pumping. She loves the wastewater industry and all of the opportunities for consumer education.

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