Condoms are crucial contraceptive devices that can protect you and your partner from STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Using one is the most courteous thing to do when you have intercourse. But how can you dispose of them, and can you flush them down the toilet?

Condoms should never be flushed down the toilet. They do not dissolve or soften in water and can clog up the plumbing system and septic tank. These clogs will, in turn, cause catastrophic problems.

So, let’s talk more about condoms and how to dispose of them. I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t flush them down the toilet and give you some tips on how to dispose of condoms properly.

Are Condoms Biodegradable, and Should I Flush Them?

Most condoms are made of latex, which is a biodegradable plant-based rubber. However, there are other options, including lambskin condoms, which are made from lamb intestine, just like sausage casings.

Condoms might be bio-degradable, but you shouldn’t flush them. Lambskin condoms are always biodegradable, but latex condoms are semi-biodegradable. They take many years to break down fully since they often contain some plastic-based ingredients.

However, neither of these condoms should be flushed down the toilet.

Latex condoms are made from rubber sourced from rubber trees, which is natural and biodegradable. However, most condom brands use artificial ingredients, including plastic-derived polyisoprene and lubricants.

These ingredients keep the latex tough enough to withstand intercourse without breaking and help protect you from STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Thus, while some latex condoms are biodegradable, most of them are not.

Lambskin condoms, on the other hand, are biodegradable and don’t take long to break down back into the dirt.

That said, whether or not a condom is biodegradable has no bearing on whether it should be flushed down a toilet. All types of condoms need time to degrade, and that cannot happen if they are tossed into the toilet.

See also: Can You Flush Wipes Down the Toilet?

Benefits of Biodegradable Condoms

If you are concerned about your city’s sewage system and your local wildlife, you may want to consider only purchasing biodegradable condoms.

That way, you can ensure that your used condoms won’t be seen floating down a river in 15 years. Better yet, they won’t choke or entangle fish, birds, turtles, and any other animals that could stumble upon them.

Lambskin condoms are as easily available as latex condoms, as you can get them at most pharmacies. However, lambskin condoms don’t protect you from getting STDs, so you should stick with a natural latex option if you have multiple partners.

Many companies also specialize in natural, vegan, and biodegradable condoms. So, if you’re looking for the most ethical choice, make sure to shop around and find a brand that fits with your ethos.

What Happens if You Flush Condoms Down the Toilet?

Condoms are made to be waterproof and durable so that they do not break during intercourse. When you flush a latex or lambskin condom down the toilet, they won’t break.

Instead, they will clog your plumbing pipes or septic tank. If they make it into the sewer system, they float in the city water until someone removes them.

So, if you want to protect your plumbing and your city’s sewage system from your dirty condoms, don’t flush them.

Let’s now take a look at some other issues that take place if you flush condoms down the toilet.

Condoms May Get Stuck in Your Plumbing Pipes

It’s easy to flush your used condom down the toilet after intercourse. Theoretically, all you have to do is drop it in the bowl, press a button, and never deal with it again. However, it could end up clogging your plumbing system and causing damage to your septic tank, so you will have to deal with that one pesky condom again.

The most common and immediate problem when you flush a condom down the toilet is clogged pipes.

When the condom goes down the drain, it will have to make its way into the sewer or your septic tank through a series of curved, snaking drains that run from your bathroom to reservoirs underground.

If you are lucky, your condom will clog your toilet when it gets down into the first series of pipes.

When that happens, you can usually use a toilet plunger or drain snake to pull it back out and dispose of it properly. However, that means that you will have to pull the condom out of your dirty toilet pipes, pick it up, and throw it away.

And let me tell you from experience, this isn’t a fun task.

Condoms Can Buildup and Clog Your Septic Tank

It may seem like you’re all in the clear if the condom doesn’t clog your toilet pipes. However, there are more issues to come, especially if your home has a septic tank. If your used condom makes it deeper into your plumbing pipes, it will take more to get it out and clear the clog than a drain snake or plunger.

To clear the blockage, you may need to use an acidic drain cleaner to burn through the rubber condom, or you may have to plunge your toilet for a while to push it down into the sewer or your septic tank, which brings up another issue.

If your condom makes it to your septic tank, it will take more than a year for it to degrade.

That’s a long time for one condom to take up space in your tank. The more condoms that are flushed down the drains, the more they’ll build up in the septic tank, and the greater the chance that they’ll cause the tank to fail.

When a septic tank fails, it could burst underground, causing toxic leaks. Otherwise, it will send all of your sewage back up the pipes.

That means that you will have sewage bubbling out of every water drain in your house.

For one little condom down the drain, that’s a lot of potential problems that will cost you time and money to solve. So, don’t flush condoms down the toilet. Your plumbing system will thank you.

If you have accidentally flushed a condom down the toilet and want to prevent your septic tank from failing, you can flush ½ cup of baker’s yeast down to help facilitate the degradation of the latex.

Then, flush ¼ cup down the drain monthly for the next four months.

Condoms Stay in the Water Until Someone Removes Them

Condoms left floating in the sewage water take years to break down. That means that your dirty condom will make its way to the wastewater treatment center, or in the worst case, it will make it to natural bodies of water around you, such as oceans, rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Since it takes so long for condoms to break down in the water, flushing them down the toilet can endanger wildlife and kill aquatic animals who may try to eat the garbage or get tangled in it.

Even if your used condom makes it to the shore, it will still contribute to even more litter and endanger other wildlife in the area.

It is not worth it to flush a condom down the toilet. Just throw it away.

Do Condoms Come Back Up When You Flush Them?

One common myth is that condoms will come back up into your toilet when you flush them. However, that is just a myth.

Condoms won’t come back up after you flush them down the toilet. Instead, they will “stick” to the pipes or septic tank. However, if your toilet is already clogged, it may come back up. Condoms will go down into your plumbing pipes after you flush them, and they should stay there.

This is essentially the main issue with flushing them in the first place. They will cling to the sides of your pipes or septic tank or interfere with wastewater treatment from your city sewer. However, the only time they might come back up is if you have clogged your toilet and need to plunge it to remove the blockage.

How Do You Dispose of Used Condoms?

So, if flushing used condoms down the toilet is forbidden, where can you put them?

The best way to dispose of a used condom is to wrap it in a bit of toilet paper or a tissue and throw it away in a garbage can. They can be sent to the landfill with the rest of your trash. Condoms are meant to only be used once, so dispose of your condom right after you finish with it.

Additionally, they aren’t recyclable, so don’t try to put them in with your plastics.

Realistically, throwing them away and sending them to the landfill is your only option if you want to keep your plumbing and the environment clean.

If you want to be covert about your condom disposal, you can always wrap it in some other garbage such as a food wrapper, cereal box, or chip bag. That way, no one will see it sitting in your garbage can.

Final Thoughts

Condoms may be one of the best contraceptives out there, but they aren’t always suitable for your plumbing or your environment.

You should never flush a condom down the toilet. If you do, you could cause many problems with your plumbing, your septic tank, and your city’s water system.

So, just throw your condoms away. In the long run, tossing it in the garbage will save you from major plumbing issues.

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