Local officials are reminding area residents that the shortage of toilet paper due to hoarding is causing users to look for alternative products.

There are only two things any toilet was designed to flush – human waste and toilet paper.

Sioux City utilities officials say if it isn’t one of those two things, don’t flush it.

Paper towels, facial tissues, baby wipes, flush-able wipes, and other similar items do not break down like toilet paper and can cause sanitary sewer overflows.

Everything that is flushed is actually going somewhere.

Often times that “somewhere” is starting a new clog in your home’s plumbing system or the city sewer system and items can wreak havoc further down the line.

That in turn can cause additional public health hazards.


• Baby wipes (all kinds, including the “flushable” toddler or adult wipes), paper towels, napkins, or any other “paper” product that isn’t toilet paper

• Cotton balls, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, fabric softener/dryer sheets, or similar fibrous materials

• Hair (ladies and gents with long hair, please use a trashcan when you clean out your brushes!)

• Cat litter, even the “flushable” kind

• Condoms – they basically inflate like balloons and can be a destructive obstruction (don’t flush balloons either!)

• Band-aids and dental floss – these both tangle up with small clogs to turn them into big clogs

• Prescription medications and cosmetics – while anything that goes in or on your body might seem safe, these items can be potentially toxic to wildlife and/or leach into our drinking water.

• Tampons, maxi pads, and other feminine hygiene products

• Razors, blades, syringes, needles, etc. – these can cause serious injury to municipal sewage/wastewater workers and to wildlife. Contact your local pharmacy or public health authority for safe ways to dispose of this type of item.

• Gum – obviously something that is a sticky ball will get hung up somewhere

It’s important to understand that minor clogs can happen no matter how diligent you are, but the risk of a highly damaging, expensive to deal with clog in your home or the municipal sewage system is greatly reduced by only flushing appropriate things and properly maintaining your toilet.

The City may not be liable for damage caused as a result of a backflow into homes and businesses when users flush items that are not compatible with the system.