Skip to main content
King County logo

Only toilet paper belongs in the toilet. Do not flush anything else (even if it is labeled flushable). Solo Papel Higienico

Don't flush trash

Use a trash can instead of the toilet to dispose of used wipes, hygiene products and other items that don’t break down like toilet paper.

Even if the label says “flushable”, wipes and other trash can build up in the sewer system and cause overflows that might damage property, hurt the environment, or make people sick.

Last year, King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division spent over $120,000 just to take the wipes, tampons, and other trash that came into our treatment plants to a landfill. That’s enough trash to fill two semi-trucks every week! Plus, there’s the increased cost for system operation and maintenance.

Wipes, trash and debris are a costly problem for cities and local sewer agencies, too. Putting the wrong things down sinks and toilets might also cause expensive plumbing problems in your home or business.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has a great demonstration of how toilet paper breaks down in water, but wipes don’t.



Are you on a septic system? Think before you flush...

Think before you flushInfo for those on septic systems : Flushing trash can still get you into trouble. Your household pipes and septic tanks are only designed to handle toilet paper.

Put used masks and gloves in the trash
Put used gloves, masks, and wipes in the trash! Not only are they a health and wildlife hazard if you throw them on the ground - but they can get into the sewer system from stormwater gutters and potentially damage equipment.

Clogged pump
Wipes, even when labeled “flushable”, can clog sewer equipment – and the pipes in your home.

Cleanings from the digester - full of trash
Nothing but toilet paper! All other items should go in the trash including tissue, wipes, paper towels, hygiene products, ear swabs, dental floss, etc.

Don't flush grease

  • Use screens to keep hair, fruit stickers and other stuff out of drains and pipes.
  • Scrape out greasy bowls, pots, and pans before washing.
  • Keep fatty foods and meats out of the garbage disposal, and put cooled, solidified grease in the trash.

What happens when grease is washed down the drain?

When grease is washed down the drain, it sticks to the inside of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, it builds up and can block an entire pipe.

Garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the pipes, they only shred it into smaller pieces. Commercial additives, including detergents that claim to dissolve grease, may pass it down the line and cause problems away from the source.

The results of a grease-blocked sewer pipe can be:

  • Sewage overflows in your home or your neighbor's home
  • Expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by the property owner. The average cleanup cost is about $3,000 which does not include replacing carpets and repairing walls.
  • Possible contact with disease-causing organisms
  • An increase in operation and maintenance costs by the local sewer district and King County's regional treatment system, which causes higher sewer bills for customers.

Visit King County Solid Waste's What do I do with...? website for information about safely disposing of fats, oils, and grease.

Grease in sewer
Grease going down the drain can cause serious problems in our sewers and your house drains and side sewer.

Don't flush medications or chemicals

Don’t put unwanted medications down the toilet or sink. Worried about keeping discarded meds away from kids or pets? Many pharmacies across King County now take back expired or unwanted medications for safe disposal.

Got paint, pesticides and other household chemicals you no longer need or want? King County’s Wastemobile and Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Sites are a much safer alternative to putting these things down the drain or in the trash.

Human waste and toilet paper are the only things to flush. Nothing else belongs in the toilet!