Are you curious to know what happens when you flush paper towels down the toilet? Can paper towels be flushed down toilets?
Using paper towels may be convenient, but people are all too often tempted to throw them in the toilet when it’s time for a quick cleanup. But flushing paper towels, wipes, and other items that aren’t toilet paper can cause major problems with your plumbing.
Using non-flushable items is not only bad for your plumbing, but from an environmental perspective, throwing away non-biodegradable objects presents harm. Knowing the potential risks and damages that come from flushing paper towels can help you make better decisions in order to protect your pipes and our environment. In this article, we’ll be discussing the consequences of using paper towels as toilet wipes and what happens if they get flushed down the drain.
What Are Paper Towels Made of?
Paper towels are made of a variety of materials, including cotton, rayon, and wood pulp. They are usually very absorbent and can be used for many tasks around the home or office. While paper towels are certainly convenient, they should never be flushed down the toilet as they can easily clog up your plumbing system.
What Are the Consequences of Flushing Paper Towels Down a Toilet?
Flushing paper towels down a toilet can have serious consequences. Firstly, it can lead to your pipes becoming clogged as the paper towel may not break down quickly enough in the water, leading to a blockage. This can cause gurgling noises from the pipes, resulting in water backing up into your house. Additionally, foreign objects like paper towels are not biodegradable and can damage the sewer system if they don’t break down fast enough.
What Are the Reasons Against Flushing Paper Towels Down the Toilet?
Flushing paper towels down the toilet is a big no-no when it comes to plumbing.
- When paper towels are flushed, they can cause blocked drains and gurgling sounds that could potentially damage your piping system. Paper towels are not designed to break down in the water, so they will often clump together and get stuck in your pipes or sewers. This can lead to foreign objects being present in the drainage system, which can cause major blockages and damage if left unchecked.
- Aside from this, flushed paper towels can also block the flow of water in the toilet bowl, resulting in the need for professional plumbers to come out and fix the issue.
- Another issue with flushing paper towels is that many people think that flushable wipes are the same as paper towels, but this is not the case. Although both can be flushed down the toilet, flushable wipes are designed to break down in the water, whereas paper towels will not. This means that if you flush a paper towel, it could cause a blockage and require a plumber’s snake or boiling water to remove it from your pipes.
- Additionally, flushing paper towels can cause damaged sewage pipes and may cause health risks. When these items are flushed, they can cause a buildup of bacteria in the drainage system, leading to diseases and illnesses if left unchecked.
- Finally, other items, such as baby wipes and wet wipes containing chemical compounds, should never be flushed down the toilet. It can damage your pipes and even corrode them over time. Similarly, cardboard toilet paper rolls and bits of toilet paper should also be thrown in the trash instead of being flushed down the drain.
Environmental Impacts of Flushing Paper Towels Down the Toilet
As a result, paper towels can cause significant environmental damage. When paper towels are flushed down the toilet, they can take a long time to break down in the sewer system, blocking up drains and causing pollution.
This pollution can then enter rivers and streams, causing further damage to the environment. Not only this, but if enough debris builds up in certain areas of the sewer system, it can cause drain blockages that require caustic cleaners or tree roots to be removed. NSW Environmental protection agency suggests the recycling and disposal of waste as the most effective way to reduce the impacts on our environment.
Damages and Costs Associated with Flushing Paper Towels Down the Toilet
Flushing paper towels down the toilet can lead to a variety of costly repairs and damages.
If you flush something that is not designed to break down, such as paper towels, it can cause blockages in your pipes and sewers. This can result in major clogs and backups, which will require professional help from a plumber. Plumbers may need to use tools like a plumber’s snake or caustic cleaners to unclog the blocked drains.
Additionally, the longer something is left in a drain, the more damage it can cause. If you flush paper towels down the toilet, they may not break down quickly enough, blocking your pipes and causing corrosion. This could lead to costly repairs or even the replacement of the pipes.
Finally, if you have flushed paper towels down the toilet and are experiencing a clogged drain, it is best to avoid using harsh chemicals or boiling water to clear it. These methods may temporarily fix the problem but can cause further damage in the long run. Instead, use baking soda and vinegar or natural drain cleaners like baking soda and lemon juice to clear out any blockages without damaging your plumbing system.
What is the Best Way to Dispose of Paper Towels?
The best way to dispose of paper towels is by throwing them in the trash. Unlike toilet paper, paper towels are not designed to break down quickly in water and can cause plumbing issues if flushed down the toilet.
Here are some guidelines for proper disposal:
- Use Them for their Intended Purpose: Use paper towels for cleaning up spills, drying hands, or other non-toilet-related tasks.
- Avoid Flushing: Do not flush paper towels down the toilet, as they can clog the plumbing system.
- Dispose of in the Trash: After use, place paper towels in a trash bag or bin designated for solid waste.
- Consider Composting: If you use unbleached paper towels without chemicals or contaminants, you may be able to compost them. Check with local composting facilities or guidelines to ensure proper composting practices.
If you find yourself needing an alternative to toilet paper, throw the paper towels away in the trash instead. If you experience signs of a blocked drain, contact a professional plumber as soon as possible so they can clear your drains quickly and safely.
Get in touch with Get Unblocked today to get your drains unblocked quickly and safely. Our team of qualified plumbing professionals is available 24/7 to help you with any drainage issues. If your toilets are clogged, or you want a drain cleaning to prevent blockages in the future, you can count on our services.