It's happened to just about everyone. Whether it fell from your pocket, dropped off the counter, or was tossed in by a toddler, you've probably flushed something down the toilet that you shouldn't have. It's okay! No matter how it plopped in, there's likely a way to get it out.
How to Get Something out of the Toilet
If you can still see the object, you're in luck. Toss on a pair of rubber gloves and reach in! Unless it's stuck, you should be able to pull it out in just a few seconds.
It may take more work if the item is lodged or stuck farther down your toilet's plumbing. If the item is causing your toilet to back up, call a professional to avoid water damage in your bathroom. If the toilet is still functioning, don't give up!
Here's how to retrieve something flushed down the toilet:
Use a plunger. Larger items won't make it very far down the pipe. Grab a plunger and carefully plunge; this might be enough to dislodge the object and even bring it back into the bowl. It can be helpful to ask someone – wearing rubber gloves – to stand by and make a quick grab if the item pops up.
Use a coat hanger. Bend a coat hanger into a single, long wire. You can often use this to knock the item loose and possibly pull it back up into the bowl. Experiment by shaping the end of the wire into a hook, an L shape, or anything that might successfully nab that flushed object!
Need help in other areas of your home? Explore all our plumbing services.
The Last-ditch Effort Before You Call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Denver
This is one of our favorite tips if you're committed to retrieving something from your toilet. Grab a wet/dry vacuum and follow these five steps:
Turn off the water. Cut off the water supply to the toilet by turning the small valve on the wall behind the toilet. You may need to wait a minute or two to allow the water to drain.
Use the vacuum to remove the remaining water in the toilet. Watch for the item to come up with the water if it's small, like a necklace or bracelet.
If your item still needs to be knocked free, try using your plunger or wire hanger again.
Jostle the item (if you can feel it) or prod to find it with the vacuum hose.
Once you've recovered the item or called it a lost cause, turn your toilet's water supply back on.
Can You Flush Paper Towels? Plastic? Baby Wipes?
If you’ve accidentally flushed baby wipes down the toilet once, it's not an emergency. However, flushing paper towels, facial wipes, tissue paper, Q-tips, and other items can cause serious plumbing problems.
Check out this list of five things you should never flush down the toilet:
Baby wipes. Even if they’re labeled flushable, baby wipes should never go down the toilet. Baby wipes don't disintegrate as quickly as toilet paper and can cause clogs.
Cotton swabs and balls. Avoid flushing cotton swabs and balls down the toilet. Cotton takes a very long time to break down and tends to clump. This makes cotton items extremely likely to cause problems.
Dental floss. Dental floss contributes to clogs and poses a risk to the environment. Even if it clears your pipes, floss takes years to break down and pollutes Denver waterways.
Menstrual products. Tampons and pads are designed to absorb without disintegrating. When flushed, menstrual products expand, causing plumbing problems.
Paper towels. Like menstrual products, paper towels are designed to absorb water. Always throw paper towels into the trash or recycling bin.