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Ask Art: Can You Flush Food Down The Toilet?

flush food down the toilet

Toilets are one of the most essential items in our homes. Considering most are used multiple times a day, it’s no surprise they can be finicky. One of the main problems with toilets are clogs. While several things can cause clogs, it’s often due to people trying to flush food down the toilet. It may seem convenient to get rid of old leftovers, but flushing food can cause massive clogs and expensive repairs.

Here, Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric, the expert plumbers in Boca Raton, explain why flushing food down the toilet is not a good idea.

Can I Flush Food Down the Toilet?

While it’s understandable that not everyone has a garbage disposal and nobody wants their kitchen to smell like old food, it’s never good to flush food down the toilet. The pipes that allow waste to leave the toilet are too small to handle food and can lead to clogging or sewage backups. Toilet clogs due to food waste also often occur because it does not break down as quickly or easily as human waste.

Things To Never Flush

Infrequently flushing food down the toilet probably won’t result in severe damage, but you should always use caution if you absolutely must.

Some food items that you should never flush include:

Fats and Oils

Just like how you should never rinse fats and oils down your kitchen (or any) sink, you should also never flush them. A simple way to remember this? If the substance hardens as it cools, you’re breaking the flushing rules.

Simply put, fats and oils are bad for your toilet and sewage system because as they harden, they stick to the sides of the pipes and can lead to massive toilet backups. Fatbergs, more extensive collections of fats and oils that gather debris, can occur inside the sewer, and cause major sewage issues for entire communities.

Grains And Starches

Things like cereal, oats, and rice should never be flushed. Many assume it should be fine because of the small size of grains. However, that’s not the case. As grains become waterlogged, they begin to expand in size. This expansion can cause significant clogs and backups in your toilet and sewer line. Starches, such as pasta or potatoes, have a similar effect but cause issues because of their thick, gelatinous nature.

Large, Hard Scraps

Most people know that flushing large food items down your toilet is a bad idea. What many don’t consider is that even if they are small, hard food waste takes a long time to break down. Some examples of hard scraps include bones, corn cobs, and fruit cores. The main issue with flushing hard scraps is that it can lead to significant clogs. If they miraculously make it into the sewer, they can become the debris to grow into those notorious fatbergs.

What Can I Do Instead?

Even if you do not have a garbage disposal, several better options exist than flushing food down the toilet.

They include:

  • Store unwanted leftovers and old food scraps in sealable plastic bags in your freezer and throw them away on trash day.
  • Consider composting! Almost all food scraps can be recycled into nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer to enrich your plants or gardens.
  • Use empty cans or sealable bags to dispose of fats, oils, and other liquids.
  • Repurpose leftovers. For example, use last night’s baked chicken to make today’s chicken salad. Peels and vegetable scraps are great for soups and stocks.

Expert Plumbers in Boca Raton

While we hope it’s now clear that you should not flush food down the toilet, accidents still happen. If you find your toilet suffering from a backup or clog you suspect is due to food or any other foreign object, call the experts at Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric. Since 1983, we have been trusted plumbers in Boca Raton.

Call Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric today at 1-561-391-1048 or schedule service online today for expert plumbing services you can trust!