If you’ve been reading our blog posts for a while now you will know that we are sticklers about what we do and don’t flush down the toilet… well clearly there are people out there who should have known what we know before ending up with some rather awkward toilet situations. Take these examples of what NOT to flush as life lessons, not just tips from the plumbing professionals. 😉

Here are 13 of the oddest things flushed by the oddest people:

1. Explosives

Now we know what you’re thinking! Aren’t explosions meant to be done in bathrooms?! Well yes! But none of us would want to discover that you’re perched on top of a LIVE Civil War cannon shell found underneath an outdoor toilet in Mississippi or a LIVE bomb from World War 2 found in an outdoor toilet in Stockport, England.

2. A training bra

A training bra was found in the plumbing of a male-only bathroom in a commercial bathroom. Maybe he just got tired of wearing his socks in his training bra for the day and put them on his feet instead? One can only speculate…

3. Animals

Now we all know that toddlers are fascinated with toilets. Unfortunately for the Cocker Spaniel puppy of a 4-year-old little boy, the toilet bowl looked like a puppy bath. While vigorously washing his puppy in the toilet, he accidentally flushed the toilet and lost his grip on poor little Fido! Luckily plumbers were able to retrieve him from a nearby manhole before he met his demise!

We understand the panic felt by a mother and daughter who were battling to flush their toilet in South Florida in the USA. Luckily for them, it wasn’t anything weird or alarming, just a large Iguana that had taken up residency in their plumbing!

And what about the sad fate of the squirrel who got in through a vent in the roof of a home in Texas, looking for a dry, safe place to have a nap and ended up getting stuck in the water pipes!? We don’t envy that plumber’s discovery!

4. People

Yes we know, this is a hard one to wrap your head around but there is a story of a man in Cape Town who got so high that he got stuck, naked, in a porta-potty! In fact, he was so stuck in the actual toilet that it took rescue workers 40 minutes to pull him out!

5. Money

In 2011 a janitor in Australia found $93,000 (hidden in the pipes of the toilet and in dustbins) while cleaning a public bathroom. He did the right thing and reported it to the police, who then went on a search for the origins of the money. However, when they came up blank he was rewarded for his honesty by being allowed to keep $76 000 of the money.

6. Jewellery

Most of us have heard tales of jewellery being lost down shower or basin drains or even toilets  – how very unfortunate…but some people have lost VERY expensive pieces of jewellery!

A woman based in the US lost a $70 000 wedding ring to the automatic flush function of a restaurant bathroom. It took 8 hours of searching the sewerage system beneath the restaurant with a tiny video camera guided into the pipes, then an hour and a half of jackhammering and pipe removal before it was retrieved by a very persistent plumber. It turned out to be worth it for the plumber and his assistant who received $400 each as a tip and $200 for the restaurant employee who stayed late.

Another victim of the automatic flush is a woman who lost a $10 000 bracelet!  The plumber had to remove the toilet and was luckily able to retrieve it for her.

During the excavation of an old communal toilet in the Fontainbleu Palace in France, a team of French archaeologists discovered a 16th-century hairpin belonging to Queen Catherine de Medici! This incredible discovery was identified as belonging to her from the insignia engraved on it. What a find!

what to not flush

7. False teeth

Talking of weird things found in toilets, how about losing your teeth down the loo!? This is a lot more common than one would think and unfortunately for many, a very costly mishap.

8. Cell Phones

Cell phones are commonly found blocking toilets as they are often kept in the back pocket of trousers and fall into the toilet while pulling the pants down. And we have probably all been guilty of using our phones while on the toilet! The problem comes in when the toilet has an automatic flush function – before you know it you’ve dropped your phone in the loo and more often than not, it’s too late.

what to not flush

9. Drugs and Alcohol

We have touched on people hiding things in toilets but how about having to unclog a toilet filled with bags of weed at airports! Another common find for many plumbers are syringes in public bathrooms or even mini bottles of alcohol that were discovered after a man was caught drinking on the job and needed to hide the evidence!?

10. Wigs

This is honestly one of the weirdest things on this list! A red synthetic wig belonging to a drag queen at a nightclub was found blocking up the toilets. The kindly plumber removed it and hung it on a hook to dry off. Another drag queen thought she had struck it lucky by finding a free wig and performed in it that night!  

what to not flush

11. Adult Toys

Yes, you read that correctly. Sex toys have been found clogging up toilets and have been removed by plumbers many a time! There was even a team of archaeologists in Poland who unearthed a leather-covered sex toy in the latrine system of a fencing school! Weapons of choice aside, one of the most common discoveries we make as a plumbing company is condoms. Contrary to popular belief condoms do not take kindly to being flushed down the toilet and in-fact simply end up in your sewer line, which usually requires the work of an experienced plumber to rectify.

12. Poker Chips

In 2014, a man attended a “Poker Open No-Limit Hold ‘Em” event in Atlantic City. He brought along with him $2.7 million worth of fake poker chips. Despite these fake chips that he smuggled into the event, he only won $6,814! On leaving the event, this genius decided to dispose of the remainder of his fake poker chips DOWN THE TOILET of his hotel room. The poker chips obviously clogged up the toilet and this ultimately led to his arrest.

what to not flush

13. Children’s toys

Did you know that a survey was actually conducted in England in 2016 of the amount of Lego blocks flushed down drains by British children? But what is even stranger is that it was found that over 2.5 million Lego blocks had been flushed down the drain. We don’t know what these children have against Lego, but there are certainly easier ways to get rid of it!

So there you have it! 13 of the strangest, oddest, weirdest and creepiest things found clogging up the loo. Although we do advise you not to flush your adult toys, poker chips, jewellery, or puppies down the toilet, if you do, please contact Absolute Plumbing Cape Town to give you a hand unclogging your loo!