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Although some may forget, flossing should be a staple practice in your dental ritual (don’t worry, I’m guilty too!). When there’s no place to put the dirty piece of floss, the toilet bowl is the next grave.
Although they are flushed easily, dental floss can collect grease and dirt in the pipes and cause a nasty, nasty clog. This can damage your pipes and backflow into your toilet.
In short, the answer is no – it is not a good idea to flush dental floss down the toilet. As opposed to toilet paper and human waste, dental floss is tough and will not break down easily.
Can You Flush Floss?
Flossing keeps our teeth tip-top and healthy, but it isn’t so healthy for our toilets. Our water pipes are only 4 inches, which means they are only made for our business and toilet paper. Flushing other items will definitely clog your toilet or give you other plumbing problems.
Now, you’re thinking, “but dental floss is just a string, like hair. It’s small enough to go down pipes.”
While that’s true, floss is not biodegradable, which means it cannot break down. It is made from nylon or Teflon, making it pretty durable. When it is flushed, it can catch toilet paper, grease, dirt, and other unflushable things you may have flushed, such as flushable baby wipes or hair.
This leads to a nasty blockage and clogging, which leads to a not-so-pleasant odor. Then your toilet will start spewing in what you just flushed. Trust me – I’ve seen some pictures on Twitter, and they’re not pretty!
There is also a significant impact on the environment.
Dental floss can combine with other items and form a ball. If this is left unattended, it can catch other items in the pipeline, such as leaves, and cause a severe blockage in the main sewer system in your town.
Hiring a plumber is no joke too. They can be costly, and depending on the severity of the clog, the bills can just pile on. So, it’s best not to flush floss at all.
Can I Recycle Used Dental Floss?
When you aim toward living a more eco-friendly life, you ask yourself if you can recycle basically anything you use. Although not the easiest process, toothbrushes can be recycled, one would assume dental floss can be too.
Unfortunately, dental floss cannot be recycled. I’ve seen people saying to wash and reuse your dental floss, but this is not hygienic. Your dental floss catches a lot of bacteria from your mouth, and washing it may not clear all of it.
Dental floss is a one-time use, and washing it can also destroy its fibers, making it almost impossible to use again.
You cannot recycle dental floss because:
- Wax cannot be recycled. The wax and nylon are attached, so the nylon would have to be removed in order to recycle it. This process can be costly because wax can get into the recycling machines, which can cause them to break. Repairs are a pretty penny.
- Dental floss is too small to recycle. Dental floss is a thin and long piece of string. It’s not a very big piece of material, so even if it’s broken down successfully, there is too little recyclable material to work with. Additionally, the nylon in floss is too small to be reused in textile companies.
So, we have to throw away our dental floss (and in the bin, not the toilet!). You can opt for eco-friendly options that will break down fast and are compostable.
Are There Any Eco-Friendly Options for Dental Floss?
Throwing away your dental floss can contribute to landfills since they take almost forever to break down. They’re also harmful to our marine life.
However, you don’t have to stop flossing altogether! There are some environmentally conscious options around. And they’re pretty affordable too.
There is dental floss out there that isn’t made of plastic and nylon. Some are made from silk, which is biodegradable, compared to normal dental floss. They are commonly coated with candelilla wax, which makes them fully plant-based. They’re also free from PFAs.
These products will get the gunk out of your teeth while allowing you to be more sustainable. Additionally, these dental flosses usually come in fancy, reusable containers. No more unnecessary plastic!
So, you can reuse those for your next craft project or keep random small stuff in them!
Switching to eco-friendly floss keeps everyone smiling. You’d find these amazing products on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to dispose of dental floss?
Since it cannot be recycled, it has to be tossed with your other non-recyclable trash. Don’t flush them down the toilet!
How long does it take for floss to break down?
Most common dental floss has plastic or wax and nylon in them, so it can take between 50 to 80 years to completely decompose. That’s a long time!