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What not to flush down the toilet or pour down the sink

Regardless of whether your drains are connected to a main sewer, or you have your own sewage treatment system or septic tank, it’s very important not to flush ‘alien’ items down the toilet as they’ll clog your system in less time than you might imagine! It’s equally important to be careful about what you pour down the sink, for the same reasons.

The only items that should be flushed down the toilet is human waste and toilet paper – other items such as nappies and wet wipes do not degrade properly and can quickly cause blockages.

Common items that should never be flushed/poured into your drainage system include:

  • Baby wipes
  • Sanitary towels/tampons
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wool pads/cotton buds
  • Cleaning rags
  • Cooking fats/oils
  • Motor oil
  • Anti-freeze/brake fluid
  • Weed killer/gardening chemicals
  • Paints/spirits
  • Medicines
  • Excessive amount of cleaning/washing chemicals or detergents

Over the years, our engineers have been called out to hundreds of sites to clear blockages or repair pumps where items have been flushed that have caused problems. The above items are common, but we’ve also encountered underwear, magazines, golf balls and even stuffed toys clogging systems throughout the UK. Aside from the inconvenience and mess that blockages cause, if your system fails you face a call-out charge from an engineer to diagnose and fix the problem, and a bill for any replacement parts you may require.

We always recommend helping yourself by disposing of items appropriately, and ensuring you keep your treatment system regularly serviced and emptied. If you notice that your toilets and sinks are backing up, or there’s a funny smell, report it and get it checked out sooner rather than later.