Back around Thanksgiving we talked about how the holiday season typically means more people are going to be in your home. That might lead to a clogged toilet if you’re not careful. This time, let’s talk about what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. If everyone in your home knows these easy-to-follow pointers on how to treat your toilet, you will be less likely to have problems.
First of all, don’t treat your toilet as a disposal outlet. If it’s something that can be thrown away, just put it in the trash can instead. We all know what a toilet is meant to be used for. Don’t try to misuse it by disposing of items that belong in the trash.
It’s all too common for us to get calls from people who’ve flushed a random object down the toilet. Small, slender objects like tampon applicators, toothbrushes, or even toothpicks can cause problems. When they go down the toilet’s trap, they’ll get lodged in since they can’t bend easily. The waterway has a very sharp bend in it. The outlet of a toilet trap (especially in older toilets) may be less than two inches. Even though the opening might not look small from the top of your toilet bowl, it’s very easy for objects to get stuck.
A good rule of thumb is don’t put anything down the toilet that isn’t biodegradable. Plastic objects, gum, tampons, and toothpaste tubes don’t belong in your toilet. We’ve even had people try to dispose of food down a toilet. Toilets just aren’t made for that—you’re eventually going to run into major trouble if you try to flush those types of things.
What’s the first thing someone usually does once they get an object stuck in the toilet? They head for the plunger. Plungers are actually not very good for the toilet due to the pressure they exert. If you use a plunger often, you can ruin the seal that’s under the toilet flange. Once that wax seal is compromised it can lead to rotting of the floor around the toilet or leaks that can damage your house.
It’s perfectly fine to use a plunger once or twice a year for the occasional soft clog. If you’re having to use it multiple times a month or more, however, you’ve got a problem that needs to be dealt with. Plungers are not long-term fixes. If you don’t tackle the underlying issue, there’s a good chance you’re going to have an even bigger problem later.
Let’s say that a pen was dropped down the toilet. It’s stuck in the trap but it isn’t preventing the toilet from flushing. If there’s just a little bit of water or paper, it flushes just fine. It will only get stopped up if there’s a larger amount of material. These kinds of sporadic problems won’t happen every day. That’s why you should get your toilet checked if you have a problem on a weekly or monthly basis.
You might get away with it for a while, but the problem will rear its ugly head when it’s least convenient. It might even happen during a holiday dinner while your entire family is over. I remember when a guest had trouble with the toilet at my own house. It was very uncomfortable and embarrassing to have someone come out of the bathroom to ask for a plunger.
Save yourself from the uncomfortable situations by making sure that you have a working toilet. If you want us to give it a look over, or give us a call at (540) 483-9382. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about how to treat your toilet the way it should.