Not Down the Drain: understand what not to flush or pour down your drains

Many items we use on a daily basis cannot go down our toilets or drains.

Flushing down the toilet or pouring these materials down the drain, can cause:

  • Damage or blockages of your home plumbing, which could lead to basement flooding
  • Damage to the City's sewer pipes located under the streets, which could lead to basement flooding
  • Damage to wastewater treatment plants
  • Harm to the environment and aquatic habitat in the Lake, local streams and rivers


To help keep the entire sewage system working well, please do not flush or put the following products down the drain:

Hygiene products:

Products, such as wipes (even some that may be labeled flushable) and rags should not be flushed down the toilet. These products can create blockages in your home plumbing and in the City's sewer pipes, which can cause damage and can be costly to repair.  The wipes that do make their way through the sewer pipes can damage equipment at wastewater treatment plants.  Whether it is the cost of cleaning and repairing a flooded basement, cleaning and repairing the City's sewer pipes or fixing equipment at a wastewater treatment plant – all of this leads to increased operation and maintenance costs for you and the City.  Check the City of Toronto's Waste Wizard to find out how to dispose of different products.

Here is a quick list of some of the top hygiene products not to flush:


Where it should go

Wipes/baby wipes – even those that say flushable can cause a problem


Tampons, sanitary pads

Green Bin



Cotton swabs


Dental floss


Facial tissue

Green Bin

Paper towels (not contaminated with chemicals)

Green Bin


As a result of better measurement instruments and techniques, traces of pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment.  One way they get there is by consumers disposing of medications (prescription and non-prescription such as pain relievers, cough syrups, antibiotics, veterinary drugs, etc.) in the garbage, flushing them down the toilet or pouring them down the sink.

Unused pharmaceuticals products should be returned to the pharmacy or disposed of via household hazardous waste.

For a brochure on the above information, click here.

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