Think Before Your Flush

Flushing toilet

For most people, it’s not very often that we think or worry about what we’re putting down our drains or flushing down our toilets. It’s only when something goes wrong that we consider whether or not we’ve put something in our drains that’s not supposed to be there, but if we took proactive, rather than reactive steps with our drain habits, we’d experience fewer problems.

Disposing of various materials by flushing it down the toilet is something everyone has done. It requires almost no effort, and once it’s done, you don’t have to worry about it again. Unless, of course, you do: last month, a couple in Wales were found guilty of three counts of “depositing materials in the sewer”; they had used their toilet to dispose of baby wipes and underwear, which caused a blockage of the drains in their street. Other consequences included an overflowing manhole on a neighbouring property, which in turn caused said property internal plumbing issues.

So, there is obviously a whole host of materials that should not be flushed down a toilet under any circumstances. We’re going to detail them here in order to help people avoid the unnecessary outcomes mentioned above.

Wet wipes

While toilet paper is designed to disintegrate when it is flushed down the toilet, wet wipes are not. When flushed, they stay in one piece, potentially causing blockages further down the pipework.

Cotton balls and paper towels

Although similar in material to toilet paper, cotton balls and paper towels do not break down when flushed, and are therefore unsuitable for flushing.


It’s highly likely plasters won’t flush at all; they’ll just float in the toilet until you have to pick them out. That’s a task nobody wants!

Dental floss

Surprisingly, dental floss should not be flushed, either. It might disappear from your toilet, but after time it will pose an issue as it blocks sewer pipes further along. Along with hair and dust, it can quickly combine into a knotted mess that contributes towards clogged drains.

Fat, oil and grease

While you may not even consider flushing these fluids down the toilet, this is a good opportunity to reiterate that pouring leftover fat, oil and grease from cooking or even machinery down the drain is never a good idea. Although it may seem harmless – they are liquids, after all – they can congeal in sewers and form sizeable blockages called ‘fatbergs’. These entities are not only disgusting, they also require a lot of work to remove.

Cat litter

Quite simply, while cat litter is a toilet for your pet, it will not flush and will block your drains. Instead, it should always be disposed of in a bin.


What if these items have been flushed?

As you can see, there’s a variety of items that shouldn’t go anywhere near your toilet. Disposing of these materials carefully and properly might take a little extra effort in the short term, but the severity of problems that can be avoided by doing this makes it more than worthwhile.

In the event that a blockage occurs, it might not be immediately clear to property owners that there is a problem. Furthermore, if there is an issue, and it is apparent, it could still be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause or location.

Using a CCTV drain survey is one way to find the source of any drainage problems: using either a crawler or extendable rod-mounted camera, drainage professionals inspect the inside of your drains, further than would ever be possible without such technology. This is by far the most efficient way of locating drainage issues, so if you so happen to have attempted flushing the above items then it’d be wise to consider a CCTV drain survey to verify the health of your drains.


Express Drainage Surveys are the leading providers of CCTV drainage surveys for customers throughout London. Using state of the art inspection equipment and dedicated staff, we offer unrivalled service that ensures drainage issues are identified and resolved efficiently and safely. For more information, get in touch with us today.