Some of us use the toilet like a convenient alternative rubbish bin for ikky things that we don’t want hanging around in our regular bins or for products that we use in the bathroom area. One flush and the problem is gone! But is it really?

Ask any plumber and they’ll be able to tell you about times they’ve had to deal with some pretty unpleasant messes caused by item flotsams that should never have been flushed! Here’s a list of some things you should never flush.

Feminine products and wipes

Tampons, pads, baby-wipes, nappy liners, make-up removal wipes, and bathroom surface cleaning wipes aren’t designed to be flushed. They are strong, often synthetic products that don’t break down easily and can combine to create clogs in the sewage system. These clogs back-up sewage and can lead to some pretty potent and toxic (and costly to fix!) flooding in your home, community, and the environment.


Grease may look all lovely and liquidy when you’re pouring it down a drain or into your toilet, but as soon as it cools, it will congeal. Congealed grease can block pipes, or combine with the aforementioned wipes to create giant lumps called “fatbergs”. In 2013 a fatberg the size of a bus was discovered in London sewers! The best thing to do with grease is to collect it, let it cool, and then bin it.

Dental floss, cotton buds, and cotton balls

Like your dead goldfish, you might just want these used products to be gone. But, like wipes, they don’t break down and will clog up your pipes something savage.

Disposable nappies

In the event that you can actually get these to flush, they will most certainly clog up your u-bend.


Flushing old medications might seem safer than having them around the house, but the chemicals in these pills leach directly in your (and everyone else’s) water supply. Have a think before you flush, and help keep New Zealand’s land and water clean and fresh.