If you’ve been reading our posts lately, you probably noticed that we don’t recommend throwing baby wipes and Q tips in the toilet. But what about food waste?
Can you flush food down the toilet?
The answer is clear — no, you can’t throw food scraps in the toilet bowl. Unlike human waste, food leftovers are bigger, more compact, and harder to dissolve.
You should always think twice before flushing food scraps down the toilet because they will likely form clogs in the long run. In this article, we will discuss why not to flush food waste and how to treat your leftovers.
Why Shouldn’t You Throw Food Scraps In the Toilet?
Throwing food scraps in the toilet bowl is not the way to go for many reasons, but we will only point out the most problematic.
Food Waste Is Too Big for the Pipes
The main reason not to flush food down the toilet is that food scraps are too large for the pipes in your sewer system. Toilet drain traps stop sewer line gases from coming out while letting water flow through.
Flushing food will clog up your toilet trap, leading to bad odor or even water leaks. Food may be organic, but it comes in chunks and pieces too wide to flow through the pipes.
Food Degrades Slowly
Contrary to popular belief, food waste doesn’t degrade so easily. Sometimes it may take weeks for leftovers to dissolve — more than enough to become stiff and impenetrable. Therefore, flushing food is a bad idea because it will only accumulate.
Most Foods Are Absorbable
Do you know that most types of food are highly absorbable? Your average meal consists of scraps that collect water and grow, making it even more difficult for toilet waste to pass through the holes and pipes.
Food Forms Clogs
The reasons we mentioned above lead to the final issue — clogging. If you throw food down the toilet, it will accumulate to form piles of scraps. Sooner or later, it will build up to create clogs large enough to disable your toilet.
The Worst Food Waste to Flush Down the Toilet
It’s worth mentioning that different foods cause different levels of damage to your toilet. There are products that you simply cannot throw in the toilet.
Greasy and oily food like meat is terrible for the sewer system. Oil and fat take a few minutes to stiffen, but they remain sticky — a deadly combination that creates clogs with ease.
To make things worse, oily and greasy meals are probably your all-time favorites. They include pizza, potato chips, burgers, doughnuts, fried chicken, cheese, popcorn with butter, sausages, and many more.
Starchy food scraps seem benevolent, but they can harm your toilet. For instance, mashed potato becomes gelatinous in the sewer line, and it obstructs the usual flow of water and debris.
Potatoes aren’t the only ones to blame. On the contrary, starchy foods also include everyday kitchen items like bread, pasta, rice, pretzels, corn, flour, and so on. When they get in touch with toilet water, they turn gelatinous and form clogs.
Grains also represent a high-absorbing food type. This is particularly the case with rice, a popular grain that quickly expands when you flush it in the toilet. After that, it stays in the drains and ends up forming a clog.
Hard Food Waste
You should be extra careful with hard food scraps like bones, meat skin, woody stems, shells, and similar. These leftovers are dangerous because they don’t break down — they are hard enough to sustain frequent flushing.
Besides that, hard food scraps are often too large to go through the drains. A typical pipeline is only two inches wide, so it can’t handle bigger components. The bottom line is that you must use a different garbage disposal plan for hard leftovers.
Can You Pour Soup in the Toilet?
Okay, food can’t go down the drains. But what about soup? It’s liquid and flows smoothly, which probably tempts you to get rid of it through flushing.
The answer is once again negative — you shouldn’t flush soup because it’s almost always greasy. As such, it thickens quickly and also leads to toilet blockades. You can only pour soup in the toilet if it’s crystal clear and non-greasy.
What Can You Do With Leftovers?
By this point, you will probably ask yourself: What the heck can I do with food waste and leftovers? The answer is to make a different garbage disposal plan. Our advice is to go for conventional solutions such as:
- Save food for later: Leave it in the fridge and eat your leftovers later
- Throw it in the trash: Pack food waste in a bag and throw it in the garbage bin
- Feed your pets: If your food is suitable for pets, let them feast
- Think about composting: Use leftovers to compost and create fertile soil
How to Unclog Food-Induced Clogs in the Toilet?
If you end up with food-induced clogs in the toilet, the only solution is to break the blockades and fix your toilet. You have three options:
Solution 1: Use a Plunger
A toilet plunger is a simple and time-tested way to unclog toilets. Use your plunger to create a vacuum seal over the toilet outlet. After that, push it repeatedly to create enough force to break the clog.
You will hear the food clog cracking and the water flowing through the drains again if you succeed. We also recommend flushing your toilet a few times to make sure everything works properly.
Solution 2: Use a Toilet Auger
When the food clog is too deep in the sewer line, you can use a toilet auger to break it. It’s a long wire tool with a sharp head, which allows it to reach the blockade and drill it.
Insert the drill’s head into the toilet outlet and turn it clockwise. Make sure you exert enough pressure to break the clog but don’t push it too hard — the auger may scratch and break the pipes, particularly plastic elements.
Solution 3: Call a Plumber
If you fail with plunging and augering, the last option is to ask a professional plumber for help. This option guarantees success because plumbers have the skills and tools to unclog a toilet, but it’s also the most expensive way to remove food clogs.
Will a Toilet Unclog Itself?
Sometimes it’s reasonable to wonder whether your toilet will eventually unclog itself, but it’s hard to predict. The outcome depends on two things.
The Size of the Clog
If the clog you’re dealing with is too big, you shouldn’t wait for it to dissolve on its own. On the contrary, huge clogs will probably pick up other particles and debris, becoming even larger and more compact.
The Food That Formed the Clog
Another detail you should analyze is the kind of food you’ve thrown down the toilet. Is it soft and creamy or stiff and greasy? In case it’s soft and creamy, it will probably unclog on its own. If not, you will have to unclog your toilet the hard way.
The Bottom Line
To flush or not to flush food down the toilet?
Whenever you face this dilemma, remember that you can’t throw food waste in the toilet bowl. Food leftovers will soon build up to form clogs in your sewer system, so you’ll have to break them using an auger or a plunger.
Follow our garbage disposal suggestions, and you won’t have to worry about food-induced clogs. And yes, make sure to read more posts on our site — we have loads of practical tips and bathroom remodeling ideas for you.
What cannot be flushed in the toilet?
You shouldn’t flush anything except for toilet paper and human waste (urine and feces). Everything else will probably block the pipes and end up clogging your toilet.
Can you flush bread down the toilet?
No, you can’t flush bread. It is one of the worst kinds of food to flush because it forms a bulky and compact blockage. Bread absorbs water and grows, making a stubborn clog in the process.
How do you unclog a toilet with food?
You can break food clogs using a plunger or an auger. In each case, the pressure is strong enough to unclog the toilet and enable the free flow of wastewater and debris.
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