The Bathroom Product You Do Not Want To Accidentally Flush Down The Toilet

Sometimes, we flush things down the toilet without thinking. Maybe the commode is closer to the sink than the garbage can, and tossing your waste there is more convenient than taking the three extra steps to the trash. Or maybe you toss it in using muscle memory, even though you didn't mean to. Many of us throw everything in the toilet, from paper towels to dental floss. But as we all know, there are some things you absolutely should avoid flushing unless you're itching for a hefty plumber bill. There are the typical no-nos like flushable wipes and feminine hygiene products, but there is one bathroom staple that you can't flush that might surprise you: Cotton swabs.

Whether you just hopped out of the shower and cleaned your ears or finished cleaning up mascara smudges around your eyelids, you might be tempted to throw the cotton swab into the John. But that can wreak havoc on your pipes and eventually reward you with a clog. Here's why  something as small as a Q-tip can cause so much damage. 

How cotton swabs create clogs

Cotton swabs are typically made with plastic, which don't disintegrate in the water like thin toilet paper. Instead, they keep their form in the pipes, leading to eventual clogs. Think of it this way: It's ill-advised to flush disposable wipes and ultra-thick toilet paper down the toilet because it doesn't break down the same way one- and two-ply paper does, and those are designed for bathrooms! If those products can cause clogs, then cotton swabs are almost guaranteed to. They can get stuck in small pipes or get flipped by the rush of water and create a partial clog by getting attached horizontally. 

You might think that throwing one or two down the tubes every week is innocent enough, but resist the urge to do so. While you might not be tossing enough Q-tips to create a cotton-filled clog, even one or two lodged in your pipes can catch debris as it passes through your pipes, eventually forming a large mass. This will eventually lead you to call a plumber, which will result in a hefty bill you could have avoided. So, just toss them in the trash to avoid the headache.