Not all clogs begin at the toilet, but it’s a usual suspect for sure. While you might see promo videos of toilets shooting golf balls out the back, there are limits. The limit is often down stream of the toilet where it can be difficult to clear the clog. Case in point: One of our techs recently pulled a diaper out through a toilet on a commercial job (yes, someone flushed a diaper)! The diaper had actually cleared the toilet but got stuck downstream as the water slowed and the diaper swelled up to fill the pipe, just barely in reach of the toilet auger. One might imagine how difficult it was to get that thing back through the toilet! The next step would have been removing the toilet and attacking it with the big snake…….or perhaps chipping up the floor to take the pipe apart.
Ok, a diaper might be an extreme example, but there are plenty of other things that you should not be challenging your plumbing with. The biggest culprit is disposable wipes! ( and it does not matter whether the package says “flushable” or not; don’t do it!) Feminine products are just as bad or even worse. These things have the half life of plutonium and can snag on the slightest crack, edge or tree root or settle into a bend in the pipe. Then the collection process begins. They continue collecting a bit of everything that you flush down the toilet until the pipe is completely clogged. Just because you “can” flush it, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
While we are on the subject of flushing things down the toilet, one of the three things that you should flush is toilet paper. Of course, it should be noted that if you have a septic system it’s best to use septic safe TP. Some would argue this point, but it makes sense to play it safe. Under no circumstance should wipes be sent to your septic system. Or diapers. ( Just sayin’)
The other usual suspects apply the same for toilets as for other drains. No grease or oils, coffee grounds or tea leaves, plastic of any kind, dental floss, any kind of wipes or feminine products no matter what the package says (I know I said this already, but it bears repeating). Some of these things might seem counterintuitive, but things like coffee grounds are relatively heavy and tend to settle out of suspension in traps, low spots and turns (anywhere flow slows down), starting the collection process. Fibrous items like dental floss can snag much like wipes as described above.
To wrap it up, take care what you flush, and whatever you do; don’t flush the diaper!