What Keeps Clogging the Toilet?
Valentine's Day is nearly here, and people everywhere are planning their perfect romantic evenings with their significant others. Whether it involves an extravagant meal at a fancy restaurant, a carriage ride through the park, or a candlelit dinner at home, one thing's for sure - the plan doesn't include trying to unclog a toilet.
Not only is a clogged toilet decidedly unromantic, but it can also be incredibly frustrating, disruptive, and downright nasty. But as bad as they are, toilet clogs are also surprisingly easy to prevent. So homeowners and lovebirds can keep reading to discover three easy ways to break up with toilet clogs for good!
Limit What Gets Flushed
One easy way to avoid clogged toilets is to flush only what's meant to be flushed. Fortunately, that list is easy to remember because it only includes one item: toilet paper. Toilet paper is designed to break down into a soft pulp as it travels down the drains and into the wastewater treatment system (be it a municipal facility or a septic system), making it unlikely to form clogs.
Other materials may seem flushable, but instead of disintegrating like toilet paper, they stay intact, making them more likely to get stuck inside a pipe and form blockages. Some of the most common culprits behind clogs include napkins, paper towels, contraceptive devices, feminine hygiene products, makeup remover pads, and diapers. Even facial tissues, while delicate, can cause clogs. Likewise, many sanitary wipes claim to be flushable but are commonly found gumming up the works in drain pipes and wastewater treatment facilities!
Flush Less Toilet Paper
So toilet paper is the only material that should ever be flushed (other than the bodily waste toilets exist to dispose of, of course). But even toilet paper can cause problems in large amounts. When a large volume of toilet paper is flushed at once, it can get stuck in a curve or a section of pipe that already contains a buildup of other debris. When this happens, the mass of toilet paper can become compacted, making it difficult for water to penetrate and disintegrate it - and voila, a clog is born.
This is why it's a good idea to flush only small or moderate amounts of toilet paper at a time, whether accomplished by flushing multiple times or using less toilet paper overall. There's no universally agreed-upon limit to how much toilet paper is acceptable per flush. Still, homeowners would do well to err on the side of caution - particularly those with older toilets, septic systems, or a preference for thicker, sturdier toilet paper.
Take Steps To Prevent Sewer Line Clogs
Some toilet clogs are caused by issues far from the toilet in the home's sewer line. All of the home's drain lines converge on this pipe, also known as the lateral line, which carries wastewater to the municipal sewer main (a similar pipe serves essentially the same function in homes with septic tanks). If the sewer pipe is clogged, it will affect every drain in the home, including the toilets.
Sewer line clogs are often caused by grease, which tends to go down the kitchen sink as a liquid on a river of hot water only to cool and solidify inside the underground sewer line. The grease then forms a sort of mire, trapping food waste and other debris, and gradually forming a clog. This is why it's always best to dispose of grease and other food waste in the trash (even with the garbage disposal, certain items like coffee grounds and eggshells should be avoided).
But sewer pipes and drain lines will develop a nasty buildup over time, regardless of how careful homeowners are about what they put down the drains. That's where drain cleaning comes in. Having the drains cleaned by a professional every two years (give or take, depending on how quickly they get dirty) is one of the best ways to prevent clogs. It's important to note, however, that sewer drain cleaning usually requires special industrial equipment such as a hydro-jetter or rooter, as well as a permit from the city or county - so it's best to cuddle up on the couch with a good rom-com and leave this job to the pros!