Flushing do’s and don’ts

Learn more about what items should and shouldn’t be flushed down toilets, sinks and drains, and what happens when the wrong items are flushed.

Protect your home, the environment and our wastewater system from costly repairs by flushing only what is allowed down drains, sinks and toilets.

What to flush

The only acceptable items to flush are: 

  • Human waste
  • Toilet paper
  • Water

What not to flush

The following items should not be flushed:

  • Wipes, including ones advertised as “flushable,” can’t be flushed. Flushable wipes keep their shape and strength and don’t break down in the wastewater system. 
  • Paper towels, tissues and napkins also don’t break down like toilet paper and can clog your pipes.

How to dispose of these items properly: Place all wipes (including those labeled “flushable”) in the garbage. Paper towels and facial tissues can be placed in the green bin. 

The following items can clog your pipes and pumps within the wastewater system:

  • Bandages
  • Condoms
  • Cosmetics
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Rags
  • Sanitary pads
  • Tampons

How to dispose of these items properly: Place these items in the garbage.

Flushing medication down the sink or toilet, whether in liquid or pill form, can harm the environment and aquatic life.

How to dispose of these items properly: Take unused, unwanted or expired medication to a pharmacy for proper disposal. 

FOG clogs! When drained into sinks or toilets; fats, oils and grease will solidify and build up in your pipes, creating blockages in the wastewater system.

How to dispose of these items properly: Wipe and/or scrape FOG from dishes and pans before rinsing and place in your green bin. Allow excess fats, oils and grease (such as cooking oils and sauces) to cool and solidify and place in your green bin. 

The following items should never be flushed down the drain:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Solvents
  • Spot removers
  • Disinfectants 
  • Hot tub and swimming pool chemicals
  • Oven cleaners
  • Paints
  • Stains
  • Varnishes
  • Paint thinners
  • Motor oil
  • Gasoline

How to dispose of these items properly: Learn more about hazardous waste disposal, including acceptable materials and drop-off locations, at quinterecycling.org

What happens when you flush items you shouldn’t?

Flushing items you shouldn’t can clog your pipes (increasing the risk of sewer back-ups in homes, increased maintenance costs, unnecessary home damage and insurance claims), damage the City’s wastewater infrastructure (pipes and equipment) and harm the environment. 

Last Updated: 8 months ago

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