Now that you got yourself clean and trimmed, the question is: what do I do with the hair? Can you flush hair down the toilet?
The fast answer would be yes, as there will be no visible problem on the short term.
But if we think long term, we may discover that flushing hair down the drain may cause some problems. Can you flush hair down the toilet after all?
Let’s find out what can happen if you take the easy way and flush that hair!
Can you flush hair down the toilet and why is it bad?
One thing is certain: the only things that should go down the toilet are human waste and toilet paper.
Both human waste and toilet paper dissolve and can be carried down the sewerage without issues.
You may thing that small inconspicuous items don’t hurt your toilet drain. Nothing further from the truth.
Unfortunately, hair is one of the most common causes for a clogged drain pipe.
The problem is usually not visible. Hair itself does not clog your toilet, but it will clog your pipes further downstream.
How does this happen?
The big issue with hair is that it tends to adhere to whatever it finds in its path. For instance, a pipe that has a small imperfection or has been repaired has some rough areas. Those areas will catch incoming hair and the problem only gets bigger in time.
The worst is when you flush long hair down the toilet. A web develops inside the pipe, catching anything that passes through. A clog eventually develops, and you only notice that too late, when your toilet stops draining.
Another issue with hair is that is breaks down very slowly. This means that a clog caused by hair does not just break in time. It stays there getting worse and worse.
Can you flush hair down the toilet, after all?
Flushing hair down the toilet is a very bad idea, even you have strong flushing toilet. Avoid doing this at all costs especially if you have a septic system. In septic systems, components are more difficult to access for repair. Repairing a septic system is difficult and costly, so only flush human waste and septic-safe toilet paper.
Is it OK to flush short hair down the toilet?
Now that we’ve made it clear that you should not flush hair, there may be some extra questions. There’s a saying that rules are made to be broken. So, if you are tempted to cross the line a little, you may flush hair every once in a while.
What could hurt if you break the rule once? Next you are wondering:
- Is it ok to flush short hair down the toilet?
- Can you flush shaved hair down the toilet?
- Is it okay to flush pubic hair down the toilet?
Sorry to give you bad news, but short hair is not OK either. Short hair is just as strong as long hair, if not more. While it may not create a web, it will still adhere to rough areas and cause clogs.
Even the shortest hairs will stick to the pipes and eventually cause a clog. This kind of clog can only be removed with specialist equipment, which comes with some costs and disruption.
So, even if it is very convenient to trim your hair over the toilet, don’t do this either. The clog will build up in less time compared to flushing long hair, but it will, sooner or later.
What other things should you never flush down the toilet?
Hair is not the only type of waste you must not flush down the toilet. Like we’ve said, you can only flush human waste and toilet paper.
Even so, there are many people that throw all kinds of items down the drain. As a result, they have to call the plumber to remove the clog. But what’s worse, their bad habits can affect the municipality’s sewerage system and cause huge problems.
So, everyone should be aware of all the items they should never flush down the toilet:
Q-tips can get caught in the trap of the toilet or at the floor flange. Waste easily adheres to blocked Q-tips and you have a blockage sooner than you know it.
- Dental floss
Dental floss acts in a similar manner to long hair. It gets caught on anything such as a burr in a pipe or a sharp bend. Everything that passes by can be caught by the dental floss and a clog develops.
- Baby wipes
Don’t be fooled by baby wipes packages claiming the product inside is flushable. Plumbing experts remind us there is no such thing as a flushable baby wipe. These never break down in water and will eventually clog your plumbing systems.
The problem goes further to wastewater treatment plants. For instance, The New York City Department of Environmental Protection spends nearly $19 million a year on repairs directly related to damage caused by baby wipes.
Flushing diapers down the toilet is a very bad idea. These clog sewer lines immediately because they are made from a material that expands when coming in contact with water. Unfortunately, more people than you think do it and wreak havoc on municipal sewer lines.
Latex condoms are not biodegradable and will not dissolve into water. When flushed down the toilet, they can end up visible in public waterways.
- Feminine products
Just like diapers, menstrual products are made from very absorptive materials. When they get into your sewer line, they become saturated with water and cause clogs.
- Paper towels and tissues
Like the rest of the items in this list, paper towels do not break down in water. The more they accumulate, the bigger the clog and the plumbing bills.
- Cigarette buts
Flushing cigarette buts into the toilet used to be common years ago. Fortunately, more and more people are giving up on this damaging habit.
Firstly, flushing cigarettes is bad for the environment because they are not biodegradable. It’s the mouthpieces and foam filters that do not dissolve.
Secondly, cigarette buts also expand inside your pipes. The foam filters are like a sponge that expands and holds water. The result is easy to imagine – a clog in your sewer line.
Clearing out your medicine cabinet of unwanted medication? Throwing them into the toilet bowl is very handy but so wrong!
Pharmaceutical products pollute water and exposes people to chemicals in those medicines. Substances such as hormones and antidepressants interfere with the reproduction and health of aquatic species.
Also, wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove medications. This means that tap water can be contaminated with medicines!
Best is to leave expired or unwanted medication at drop-off sites at police and sheriff facilities.
Gum is not biodegradable and will not break down into your sewer line. When a gum adds to a clog, it becomes tougher to break up and free the pipe.
- Cat litter
Cat poo is dangerous because it can spread zoonotic disease such as toxoplasmosis.
Moreover, litter is made from all kinds of products, including bentonite. This is a highly absorptive material that can expand 15 times its original weight. It’s obvious this is going to clog your sewer line before you say… kitty.
Food does degrade, but more slowly than human waste. Don’t make a habit out of flushing food down the toilet – it will eventually backfire.
- Cooking grease
Even if hot grease flows out the pan, as soon as it reaches the cold water inside the pipes it solidifies. Grease buildup in sewers is funnily called fatbergs, but dealing with them is not funny at all!
What should you do with hair instead?
There are two alternatives to flushing hair down the toilet:
- Disposing of it in a bin
The simplest solution is to dispose of unwanted hair in a bin, together with other waste items. No clogging if you stick to this good habit every day!
- Composting it
Hair is an organic product containing a certain amount of nitrogen. Nitrogen is nutritious for the soil.
What you can do is mix the hair with other organic waste and put it in the compost bin.
To Sum Up
The answer is a big no. Hair doesn’t break down in sewer water and is the culprit for some of the worst clogs.
Always remember: only human waste and toilet paper can be flushed.