What you can (and can't) flush

Learn what you can safely flush down the toilet into the City sewer system.
The only three things you can safely flush down the toilet into the sewer system are the three Ps —pee, poop and (toilet) paper. Nothing else. Remember: Wipes clog pipes. Even if it says "flushable" — it’s not.
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What you flush matters

Sewer backups into your home, business, or neighborhood are not only gross, they can be hazardous to your health and expensive to clean up.

Flushing the wrong things down the toilet can:

  • Clog your toilet or pipes and cause a sewage backup into your home or building.
  • Cause sewer blockages that result in sewage flowing into a street or the environment.
  • Harm people, fish, or wildlife.
  • Damage the sewer system and wastewater treatment plant.

Flush only the three Ps – pee, poop, and (toilet) paper.

Graphic shows a toilet with a thumbs-up icon and urine, poop, and toilet paper icons with green outline

Wipes clog pipes!

Wipes of all kinds — cleaning, antibacterial, facial, baby, whatever type — can block your pipes. Even wipes that are marketed as "flushable" aren’t flushable and can clog the sewer.  Watch this video on the Water Environment Federation's channel to see how these materials don’t breakdown when flushed.

Source: City of Spokane Department of Wastewater Management

This video shows how wipes can pile up over time in the pipe connecting a home to the sewer, slowly creating a blockage that will eventually cause a sewage backup.

Source: City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services

Avoid Blockages: Don't flush these items

Never flush the following items down the toilet or pour them down a drain because they can block sewer pipes and cause sewer backups to your home or the street.

  • Baby wipes or other types of wipes—even if labeled or marketed as “flushable”
  • Paper towels
  • Mini or maxi pads, panty liners, or any sanitary napkin
  • Tampons and tampon applicators
  • Disposable diapers
  • Fats, oils, or grease from cooking. Learn what to do with kitchen FOG.
  • Bandages and bandage wrappings
  • Condoms
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Dental floss and dental picks
  • Disposable gloves
  • Facial tissue
  • Face masks
  • Pet poop in a plastic bag
  • Cat litter— even if labeled or marketed as “flushable”
Graphic shows a toilet with a red line through it and photos of wipes, diaper, sanitary napkin, condom, paper towels, cotton balls, swabs, bandage, disposable gloves, facial tissue, dental pick and floss, face masks, cat litter, dog poop in bag.

Prevent Pollution: Don't flush medications or hazardous waste

Graphic with red outline and toilet with prohibited slash through it includes medication bottle, chemical bottles, paint cans, contact lens with eye

Never flush unused medications or other chemicals down the toilet or pour them down a drain.

These items can’t be treated and pass through the treatment system and into our rivers:

  • Contact lenses
  • Medications
  • Automotive fluids
  • Fertilizers, weed killers, and other yard chemicals
  • Paint, solvents, sealants, and thinners
  • Poisons and hazardous waste

Portland’s wastewater treatment plants remove bacteria and human waste from wastewater, but they are not designed to remove plastic from contact lenses or other small items, or chemicals found in things like medications, paint, or motor oil. When these types of substances enter the sewer system, they can harm City workers, treatment plant processes, and our rivers and streams. Pollutants in our waterways harm public health, water quality, fish, and wildlife.

How to dispose of medications

Drop off unused medications at an approved prescription drug take-back site, take-back event, or mail-back service.

Learn more on the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s website about how to manage unwanted medications

How to dispose of common auto, home, or yard products

When doing painting projects, check out Metro’s guidance on clean up and managing paint waste.

Also from Metro, learn how to dispose of unwanted paint, yard chemicals, solvents, and other hazardous waste. Find a Metro station near you.

Thank you for helping to protect public health, the sewer system, and our environment!