Flushability: A Major Concern

January 01, 2022

Modern toilets are a marvel of plumbing and engineering that we all take for granted. While it is easy to press a button or a lever and dispose of waste, few pay close attention to where that waste ends up.
Everything is taken through your plumbing system towards a sewage processing facility or an on-site septic tank when you flush. Most Americans are served by municipal sewage treatment plants, which separate organic waste matter from the water and release it into local waterways. But it is important to note that the plumbing system is only designed to handle certain kinds of waste.

Treatment plants must dispose of these items to avoid backing up sewage pipes, which adds to inefficiency and cost. That is why it is important to adopt some responsible practices to your hygiene routine and be better informed about what to flush.

Flushing Hygiene Products: The Facts

1. If You Do Not Have A Septic Tank, Tampons Are Safe To Flush.
Myth! It is convenient to quickly take a bathroom break and flush a tampon down the toilet. Millions of tampons are flushed down the toilet every day, which may be because ladies are concerned about disposing of them discreetly and avoiding unpleasant sights or smells.

However, this causes considerable problems within plumbing systems, with or without a septic tank. Tampons are designed to absorb and hold as much liquid as possible while expanding in size. They are also designed not to break down, which is the opposite of what you want when you flush them down the drain. Once they arrive at a sewage treatment plant, they are challenging to treat properly and often end up straight in a landfill. Worse, they can end up intact in rivers, lakes, and even the ocean, contributing to environmental waste.

The best (and most environmentally-friendly) way to dispose of a tampon is to drop it into a designated bin for feminine hygiene products. If you do not have one available, wrap it in toilet paper and throw it in the trash. The same applies to sanitary pads and panty liners.

2. You Should Never Flush Baby Wipes
Fact! While baby wipes are a convenience, they can cause headaches by clogging your plumbing and septic tank. It is also well-documented that they cause great harm to public sewage systems. And while manufacturers do sometimes indicate a “Do Not Flush” label on their products, they are not obligated to do so. In addition, baby wipes often contain alcohol, which can kill enzymes that help break down waste in your septic tank. That is why it is safest never to flush baby wipes; even if they are advertised to be biodegradable, they can take a long time to decompose, accumulating in your pipes in the meantime.

3. Paper Towels Are Fine To Flush Down The Toilet
Myth! You might not think there are too many differences between toilet paper and paper towels, but that is far from true. Toilet paper manufacturers design them specifically to break down and decompose. On the other hand, paper towels, napkins, and tissues do not break down as easily, absorb water, and can lead to clogs within the drain lines.


It is true that flushing unsuitable items down the toilet can clog up your plumbing and septic tank, causing inconvenient and costly repairs. These products can also end up causing problems and increasing costs for utility plants, which are ultimately borne by the consumer. So, we hope this article has inspired you to think twice before you flush!

If you have any toilet or plumbing issues caused by non-flushable items, we are here for you! Give Show Plumbing a call at (281) 860-2000, and our courteous professionals will be happy to help. We also offer 24/7 emergency services for your convenience and promise the best plumbing service in Cypress.