Proudly Serving the Knoxville Area

Emergency Plumbing Service: The Worst Things to Flush Down Your Toilet | Knoxville, TN

Photo By Phira Phonruewiangphing at istock

In the age of the COVID-19 virus, most people have taken plenty of steps to try to protect themselves and their families from spreading disease. That’s a positive, but it’s come with a negative: drains getting clogged with cleaning supplies and other items that require a call for an emergency plumbing service.

While it’s wise to protect yourself and your family, this isn’t a time to throw out your knowledge of the do’s and do not do’s of flushing. If you send these items down the toilet of your home, chances are that you’re soon going to need a call to an emergency plumbing service to undo the damage!

Flushable Wipes

This is easily the most confusing thing for many homeowners, because the term “flushable” is right there on the package. But there’s no legal requirement for what qualifies as flushable in the United States, so the label doesn’t really mean anything.

How flushable are these wipes? At Ryerson University in Toronto, scientists chose to label products as flushable if 95 percent of the item dissolved after 30 minutes or more in water. When flushable wipes were tested, a mere 13 percent dissolved. That means they don’t break down well in water, and that means they cause real problems in your plumbing. Over time, they can block your pipes, requiring a call to an emergency plumbing service.

Harsh Chemicals

Are you the kind of person who likes to keep bleach by your toilet for cleaning it? You should know that’s a mistake. First, bleach can do some serious damage to your pipes because it’s a corrosive chemical. Second, you’ll get your toilet just as clean by using vinegar, which won’t damage your pipes in any way.

Drano also shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet under any circumstances, because not only can it cause damage to your pipes, but it turns your toilet water into a biohazard. Once you’ve done that, calling an emergency service in is a requirement.


Remember what was just said about harsh chemicals? Medicine is a similar problem for a different reason. While medicine won’t require you to call in an emergency plumbing service to fix the issue, it will cause problems for the water supply in the sewer system. Putting medicine in the sewer system causes real problems because most water treatment plants don’t remove it, meaning that it can impact plants, animals and other humans. It won’t ruin your plumbing, but you should still just throw it away.


Want to get to know your emergency plumbing service in a hurry? Just send one of these down the toilet. If you’ve ever changed a diaper, you’re probably well aware that they’re used because they absorb liquid and keep it away from the child’s skin. When something absorbs liquid, the last place it should be is down your pipes, where it’s surrounded by water.

What happens if you flush one? It’s going to expand and eventually block your pipes completely, requiring you to call for an emergency service as soon as possible. Don’t ever make this mistake.

Animal Waste

Doesn’t all bodily waste go down the toilet the same way? No, it doesn’t. Cat and dog waste actually hardens over time because it dries out, which doesn’t really work going down your pipes. The only way you can realistically flush animal waste without needing to call for an emergency plumbing service is if you pick up their waste and flush it as soon as it happens, and most pet parents have neither the time nor ability to do that. Save yourself the trouble and just throw it in the trash.


Have you ever had to call for an emergency plumbing service in Knoxville, TN because your shower drain was clogged with hair? The same principle is in place with flushing hair down the toilet. Hair can clump together and get tangled up with other things in your pipes, and that can lead to a blockage that only an expert can repair. Even if you’re just emptying out your electric shaver or your hairbrush, do so over the wastebasket. Emptying out hair into the toilet is a plumbing problem waiting to happen.

Feminine Hygiene Products

Everything that was said about diapers applies here as well. Just like diapers, pads and tampons are made to absorb liquid. Just like diapers, they’re going to expand if they’re taking a ride of rushing water down your pipes, and eventually, they’re going to cause a blockage. Like diapers, sending one of these down the toilet is an accident waiting to happen.


If you think gum seems harmless, think again. Gum can cause a lot of problems for your plumbing because it doesn’t dissolve in water. Think about it: you’ve probably chewed gum for hours, and never once has it dissolved from saliva in your mouth. Plus, even after it’s been thoroughly used, gum is still pretty sticky, and if it gets caught in your pipes, your next step is going to be to call for an emergency plumbing service to undo the damage. It’s far better to simply toss it in the trash.

What Can I Do to Prevent Issues?

If someone in your home does flush one of these items down the toilet, the worst thing you can do is try to fix it yourself. Unless you’ve trained with a certified plumber in the past, there’s a high chance that you possess neither the knowledge nor the tools to locate the blockage, clear it away and put your pipes back together so that they can properly flow.

Instead, the best thing to do is to call for a Knoxville, TN emergency plumbing service as soon as possible. At My Professional Plumber, we know how to help customers get their plumbing problems solved so that their water flows the way it should without any further issues. Be sure to give us a call when something seems off with the plumbing!


118 North Peters Road
Knoxville, TN 37923


8:00 am–5:00pm