The Unflushables

Imagine a beautiful, sunny day…

It’s the weekend, and you have your home all to yourself, with plans for some rest and relaxation. You take a trip to the bathroom to clean out those ears, and as you flush down that Q-tip… it won’t stay down. Rather, it all comes back up. You flush again, but there’s no hope. It overflows onto the floor, your home, and even backs up into the streets. Now the neighbors all know — you’re a clogger!

Did you know many common household objects cause clogs? And most people regularly flush or pour them down the drain because they just don’t know. Let’s change that!

Unflushables can lead to sewer backups. Even the smallest objects add up. That backup doesn’t have many places to go, so it finds a new home. Where do you wonder? You guessed it. Sewage can back up into your home and neighborhood streets, which is not fun to clean up or good for the environment.

Don’t let a clog ruin your weekend of R&R — or your pipes!

So, what shouldn't be flushed or put down the drain?

So, what shouldn't be flushed or put down the drain? We're glad you asked. Just because you can flush things down the toilet or pour things down the drain doesn't mean they should go down the toilet or drain. Remember, only flush the 3 Ps. Everything else belongs in your trash can.


Grease solidifies, when it goes down the drain.
That means it's solidifying along pipe walls and helping trap whatever objects float by. This causes even more buildup inside pipes and increases the risk of clogs.
Photo of flusable wipes

“Flushable Wipes”

Don’t fall for the wipe hype. “Flushable” wipes don’t dissolve in water. When they go down the drain, they cause blockage and destroy the pumps in the sewer system.
Photo of flusable wipes

Cotton Swabs

Cotton swabs don't dissolve in water. When they go down the drain, they clump together and cause blockage.
Photo of flusable wipes

Paper Towels

All paper is not created equal, and paper towels don't dissolve in water. When they go down the drain, it's bad news for your pipes. Toss them in the trash.
Photo of flusable wipes

Dental Floss

Dental floss doesn't dissolve in water. When it goes down the drain, it forms a sort of net and catch and holds onto other objects, causing a blockage.
Photo of flusable wipes


Paint isn't environmentally-friendly and can contaminate our lakes and rivers. Paint also solidifies when it goes down the drain. After enough build-up, it'll clog your pipes.
Photo of flusable wipes


Rags down the drain is a rags-to-riches story for your plumber. Put rags in the trash and not down the drain.
Photo of flusable wipes


When you're done with the mask, it goes in the trash. Masks down the drain cause blockage.
Photo of flusable wipes


Prescriptions down the drain can contaminate our lakes and rivers. They can also hurt fish and other aquatic animals.
Bottle of Pills

If everyone pitched in to ditch items properly and flush only the 3 Ps (pee, poop, and toilet paper, that is), there'd be far less damage to our wastewater collection system (our fancy word for the underground pipe system) and less maintenance costs coming out of customers' wallets. Thank you for taking the time to learn more!

Information Provided by your friends at

WEAT invites utilities to participate in the Clog Alert campaign. Download the toolkit for guidance on launching the campaign as well as access to the assets, such as social media ads, videos, and more.

Download the
Clog Alert Toolkit
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Interested in being a partner? Download the Stakeholder Guidance, a one-page outreach material for potential partners.