Items you Should not Flush Down the Septic Tank

In this article, we will discuss the items you should not flush down into your septic tank. What are the items that can cause great damage to the leach fields or the septic tank? Be mindful of the things you flush so you can extend the lifespan of your septic system.

List of items you should not flush down the septic tank

– Cotton Swabs:

One of the most dangerous and seemingly not harmful. They are not biodegradable and though their volume is trivial, they can clog a drain.

– Condoms:

They are also not biodegradable but they won’t clog your pipes because they are small in size and are flexible. We’ve put condoms and other latex products like gloves in the “never flush” list. When you are flushing condoms down the toilet, they connect with the debris in the scum layer or biofilm of the tank and the only way you will remove them is at the next pump-out of the tank. If left untreated they can clog the drain field. Consider asking your drain cleaning plumber expert to inspect the septic tank baffles’ condition when they are pumping it.

– Dental Floss:

Another seemingly not harmful item such as the cotton swab. Again, like cotton swabs, they are not biodegradable.

– Food Scraps:

When flushing food scraps, they might be increasing the solids load and thus will be quite slow to settle in the scum layer.

– Oil:

You should not flush grease, oils, fats or cooking oil.


Hair is not biodegradable so if you flush it down the drain, it could build up and produce a clog.

-Powdered Laundry Detergents:

This one is a tricky one. It’s on the list because powdered detergents do not dissolve as well as liquid detergents. Be extra wary how much you are using at the one time.

– Tampons:

Tampons are not biodegradable. Keep in mind that though flushing these down the drain a couple of times may not necessarily form a clog, they won’t dissolve and will remain in the tank until its pumped. It is always advised just to wrap those in toilet paper and put them in the garbage can.

Septic pump damage warning

If you suspect your septic tank has been subjected to too many wrongful items being flushed down to it, it is probably best to contact a septic tank or drain cleaning specialist to give it a check. Though most of those items would not damage your septic tank if they are being flushed in rare occasions and small volume, you should keep in mind that some items can bring serious damages. This holds in situations where you are using a septic, grinder or sewage eject or pump in your septic system. Condoms, cotton swabs, dental floss and tampons are items, marked with septic pump damage warning as they can damage, clogs and even destroy the sewage pump of any system.

Hopefully this article has provided insight on items you should not flush down the septic tank. As you can see, there are many things that many people would normally think is ok, but in reality is damaging the septic tank, which will only lead to costly effects at a later stage. If you suspect there are severe damages to your septic tank, it is best to contact a specialist in emergency plumbing in order to critically analyse the situation.

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