What Can Be Flushed?

What can I put down my drain?

Have you ever had a moment where you thought, “Is this flushable?” If you have, you’re not alone.

There are times we need to second guess the power of our plumbing systems. Here are a few tips on what you can and cannot flush, pour, or drop down your toilet. The worst kind of thing to think with plumbing is out of sight, out of mind, but you might eventually see a lot more than you want to.

Just because your toilet can make it disappear, doesn’t mean it leaves your pipes. Here are some of the things you should NOT flush down the toilet.

Baby/disposable wipes: While these are marketed as a “flushable” product, they are not flushable. While they may flush down the toilet bowl, they will build up. They can easily get caught in p-traps or pipes and cause a major blockage. Put baby wipes in the garbage for proper disposal.

Cotton balls & cotton swabs: Cotton is absorbent, which means that once they are flushed, they expand and collect which can easily be the next thing to block your pipes.

Dental floss: This is not biodegradable. When it is flushed, dental floss will wrap itself around other objects in the pipes, making small clogs much worse in an instant.

Band-aids: Like floss, bandaids are not biodegradable and will just get worse with time.

Cat litter: Cat litter will clog your pipes no matter what the label says. Cat waste also can contain toxins and parasites that shouldn’t be in our water systems, so please use a biodegradable bag and put cat waste in the garbage.

Feminine hygiene products: Feminine products contain materials that expand when liquid is introduced and can cause major blockages. Both you and your plumber will be embarrassed when this is the source of your drain blockage. Dispose of feminine hygiene products in the garbage can.

Medications: Medications are toxic to our water systems and pollute the ecosystem that our fish and wildlife thrive off of. Take your old medication to the pharmacy and they will disposed of it properly.

Toilet clog

How to Unclog Your Toilet

DIY: How To Unclog Your Toilet

Nobody wants a clogged toilet in their home or business. Luckily a toilet clog can usually be cleared using the easy tips below.

Tools required:

Plunger (flange or ball type, not the cup type which is used for bathtubs)

Toilet auger



  1. Don’t try to flush the toilet. It’s tempting to consider that perhaps by some miracle the toilet will unclog itself, but more often than not, this isn’t the case.
  2. Grab your plunger and slowly push it into the water to the bottom of the bowl. Fit the plunger around the water drain (hole) at the bottom of the bowl and push the handle up and down rapidly until you feel the stoppage release or see the water level drop in the toilet.
  3. Don’t flush the toilet yet. Remove the lid from the tank portion and very slowly lift the flapper seal at the bottom of the tank to allow some water to enter the toilet bowl. Be careful not to lift it all the way though as this will cause the toilet to flush. If the water in the toilet bowl leaves the bowl easily then your job is done! If not, move to step 4.


  1. Turn off the water supply to your toilet.
  2. Making sure the auger cable is fully retracted into the handle, put the auger into your toilet so that the curved part where the cable comes out of the handle is facing in the same direction that the toilet drains- either the front or back of the toilet bowl.
  3. Advance the auger cable into the toilet drain by cranking with gentle pressure until you feel the cable tighten or the handle stops turning as you’ve likely located the stoppage.
  4. Quickly crank the auger to break the stoppage up. If you get to a point where you can’t crank it anymore, crank in the reverse direction. Continue cranking until the auger cable has been inserted all the way. Be careful not to be forceful as it may damage your toilet and cause a bigger problem!
  5. When the stoppage has broken up and you’re able to run the entire auger cable into the toilet, remove the auger and plunge the toilet again.
  6. Don’t flush the toilet yet. Repeat Step 3 first. If the water leaves the bowl easily, then try flushing the toilet to see what happens.
  7. If your toilet flushes normally, turn the water supply back on then clean your toilet auger outside to avoid contamination. You can spray the cable with a lubricant like WD40 to get rid of remaining water/moisture after it has been cleaned to extend the life of your cables. Finally, hang it by the handle in a warm place to dry.


SPECIAL NOTE: If your toilet still won’t flush after you’ve used the hand auger, this means that the blockage is further down the pipe and will require some advanced tools & techniques to clear. Call the plumbing professionals at Plumbing & Drain Rescue to bail you out! 604-628-3333

Bathroom Plumbing Part 2

Bathroom Plumbing Part 2

The bathroom is a highly used area of the home. Learn some bathroom energy tips with this blog series.

Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue continue to raise awareness of the issue with today’s lack of energy efficient homes in today’s post about energy efficient bathrooms part 2.


There are a few ways you can reduce water usage with your faucet. Firstly, repair any leaks immediately as a leaky faucet can waste gallons of water over time. Follow our DIY, or call on our technicians to fix your faucet with expert timing! If water pressure is not a major concern in your home, installing a low-flow aerator on your bathroom faucet will also reduce your water usage. Another easy-to-adapt-to water saving tip is turning off the water when brushing your teeth instead of letting it run. This tip can also be applied to men who shave with the water running!


Keeping water pressure preference in mind, switching to a low flow showerhead or aerator is one of the easiest routes for saving water while you shower. If you’re the type that likes their pressure, try shortening your shower time to conserve water. A shower longer than 10 minutes uses more water than a full bath takes!


For the technologically savvy homeowner, there are bathroom shower, toilet & sink sets available that connect the three fixtures and conserve water by using tap water to fill the cistern on the toilet. For those with less technological inclinations, or for those on smaller budgets or lack the space required, you can save energy with your toilet by installing a low-flow toilet, or a toilet with multi-flush options. Using less toilet paper will also reduce the need to “courtesy flush” and of course, there is always the Selective Flush option, which happens to rhyme (“if it’s yellow…”) For those who are less than tickled by the latter options, or for those who cannot install a new toilet fixture, say, because they are rental tenants, the easiest way to conserve water with your toilet is to report a running toilet or any leaks to building maintenance immediately, and ensure that spray foam or caulk is used to seal any holes around penetrations near your fixture, such as pipes.

Bathroom Plumbing Part 1

Bathroom Plumbing Part 1

The bathroom is a highly used area of the home. Learn some bathroom energy tips with this blog series.

Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue want to raise awareness of the issue with today’s lack of energy efficient homes. Nowadays it is not uncommon to be concerned with how your daily living impacts the environment. With increasing media awareness of the occurrence of natural disasters and the ongoing global warming debate, more and more individuals are thinking that it’s time to change up their routine for the sake of the planet. This blog series will explore the ways in which individuals can lead greener, more environmentally-friendly lives by tweaking the spaces they live in.


By replacing the type of bulbs used in bathroom vanity lights, homeowners can save up to $70 annually on energy costs. Energy efficient lightbulbs such as Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) are great alternatives to incandescent 75 and 100 watt bulbs. Did you know: According to LiveSmartBC, 66% of BC Hydro’s electricity needs are required to be met through energy conservation and efficient alternatives by the year 2020. But why wait, upgrade your vanity lightbulbs and start living greener today!

Green tip: If you’re not in the room, turn out the lights. Remember to flick off when you leave the bathroom!

Even greener tip: Recycle old CFL and incandescent bulbs at the nearest designated location. Call the Recycle Council of BC to find your nearest location: 604-732-9253


Install a venting fan in your bathroom to control moisture in the air, if you haven’t got one already. And if you currently have a ventilation fan, make sure it is energy efficient and is the correct size for the room. Because fans control the moisture in the air while you bathe or shower, to reduce the chance of mildew/mold growth, keep the fan running for 15 minutes after your shower (if the fan is controlled separately from the light fixture.)


Many people may not consider their window set up when thinking about energy saving factors. It is suggested during the winter months to replace bathroom window screens (where applicable) with storm windows to help keep cold air outside. Caulking and weather-stripping also help to create a barrier against the cold and seam leaky windows and doors.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our 2-part blog series on bathroom plumbing!

How To Clean a Sink Sprayer

DIY: How to Clean a Sink Sprayer

Vancouver plumbers Plumbing and Drain Rescue bring you a step by step walkthrough of cleaning a sink sprayer. Sink sprayers are typical composed of the following parts: sprayer mount (mounts to sprayer hose in faucet), spring seat (base for spring)  and spring, cartridge cylinder (fits in sprayer body) and sprayer body, spray lever, insert (for spray outlets) and spray outlets, and an outlet cover.

Note: Above parts describe typical parts of a sink sprayer that has only the spray function. Multi-function sink sprayer parts will vary.

Step 1: Pry the sprayer head cover off and remove the perforated disk.

Step 2: Soak the disk overnight in a vinegar or lime dissolving solution.

Step 3: Brush the disk clean using a small wire brush, and using a paperclip, clean any clogged holes in the perforated disk. Replace any damaged parts or parts that cannot come clean.

Step 4: Reassemble the sink sprayer.

Note: Use white vinegar for the water-vinegar solution.

How to Clean an Aerator

DIY: How To Clean an Aerator

Vancouver Plumber Plumbing and Drain rescue knows the havoc that hard water can reek on your drains.Because hard water is rich in minerals, these minerals build up and may eventually cause a clog in your fixtures’ aerators, showerheads and sink sprayers. Cleaning an aerator is often as simple as removing the part and running water through it backwards. However, when the deposits harden it’s time to remove the parts, soak them and clean them. Soak the aerator in an equal parts hot water-to-vinegar or lime-dissolving solution. To clean it, use a small brush or a paperclip.

Cleaning a Faucet Aerator

Step 1: Using water pump pliers, unscrew the aerator from the faucet spout, being careful with the applied pressure so you don’t crush the aerator.

Tip: Wrapping the jaws of the pliers with masking tape will protect the surface of the aerator.


Step 2: Remove the parts of the aerator by pushing them out with your finger, then soak them in the vinegar or lime dissolving solution mentioned above. It is best to let the parts soak overnight, to ensure all mineral deposits have loosened.

Tip: If a part of the aerator is completely stuck, soak the aerator in a vinegar solution (see above for vinegar solution mixture,) then use tweezers or a pick to remove the pieces from the aerator.


Step 3: Remove the parts from the cleaning solution, wipe them dry, then using a small wire brush, remove the mineral deposits that loosened overnight. Parts may require additional soaking if not all mineral deposits have loosened. Replace any parts that are damaged or that cannot be cleaned.


Step 4: Reassemble the aerator and screw it back onto the spout, only as comfortably tight as your hand can make it. Turn on the tap and check for any leaks, and retighten as necessar

Note: Use white vinegar for the water-vinegar solution.