You jiggle the handle on the toilet, silently praying that the water level will lower — it doesn’t. That’s when you grab the plunger and hope for the best. But is there a way to prevent a clogged toilet? It turns out, yes! Toilets are designed for body waste, yet many people see them as a garbage disposal that can get rid of anything. If you’re attempting to flush these items down your toilet, you may be causing more harm than you realize.

Tissues and Paper Towels

Run out of toilet paper? While you may think tissues and paper towels make a great quick fix, they can actually clog your toilet and even cause problems for your septic tank. Toilet paper is meant to be flushed, so it is designed to dissolve easily in water. Paper towels and tissues are not, meaning they frequently get stuck in the pipeline. 

Cat Litter

While some brands of cat litter market themselves as “flushable,” there is no such thing. Cat litter does not dissolve and can cause trouble with your sewer system. Stick to disposing of cat litter in the trash.


Similar to tissues and paper towels, diapers are also unable to dissolve in water. What’s more, a clog caused by a diaper can’t be solved with a plunger and will require the help of a professional. 


Grandma’s chicken pot pie is dry, to say the least. So dry, in fact, that the dog won’t even eat it. While you may be tempted to flush food down the toilet, the toilet is not a garbage disposal and cannot handle it, no matter how soft the food may be. 


Despite what many movies will tell you, pills should never be flushed down the toilet. While they may not cause a clog, disposing of pills this way allows for chemicals to get into the sewer system and possibly groundwater, where they will have a negative effect on the ecosystem. We recommend looking for a local medicine take-back program or simply grinding the pills up and throwing them away. 

Sometimes, a clogged toilet happens, and there’s nothing your plunger can do to fix it. In that case, contact First Chicago Plumbing. We’re more than happy to help you solve any of your plumbing problems. Just give us a call at (773) 661-7969.