If you have a septic system in San Francisco, treating your toilets with care will not only help to prevent plumbing problems; it will protect your septic tank as well. When items are flushed down your toilet, they invariably end up in your septic tank, where they can affect its ability to treat wastewater or clog its drainage pipes. Knowing which items should never be flushed down your toilets and into your septic system can help you prevent plumbing problems that affect your comfort at home.
Because paper is damaged by water, it may seem like it is safe to flush down your toilet. However, the only paper product that should ever be flushed down a toilet is toilet paper. Toilet paper is specifically manufactured to disintegrate in water, making it safe to flush through your plumbing and septic system. However, other types of paper products are not designed to break down as quickly when exposed to water, meaning they can easily cause clogs. Your toilets and plumbing are not equipped to handle scrap paper, paper packaging or wrapping, paper towels, or tissues.
Toiletries and First Aid Products
Toiletry products, including used dental floss, should never be flushed down the toilet. Even if items claim to be flushable, such as baby wipes or personal wipes, it’s still best to throw them in the trash to avoid plumbing problems. Similarly, cotton products such as feminine napkins, cotton balls, and cotton swabs or pads will not disintegrate in water and should not be flushed down the toilet. Used first aid items, including bandages and gauze, should also never be flushed—these items won’t break down in water and are likely to become lodged in your plumbing, causing clogs that require plunging or a plumbing snake to remove.
You can avoid accidentally flushing hazardous items down your toilet by keeping the lid closed and placing a small trash can in each bathroom. If you do experience drainage or septic problems, have them addressed right away to protect your home and your septic system.