What can you flush into the sewer?

Please do not flush anything inappropriate down the toilet. Sort waste into the correct waste containers.

You can flush down

  • toilet paper, urine, excrement and flushing water accompanying them;
  • water used in dishwashing and laundry; and
  • water used for washing and cleaning.

​Get a waste basket for your bathroom. This makes it easy to throw trash away in the right place.

Do not flush down

  • face masks, rubber gloves and cleaning wipes;
  • grease from food;
  • sanitary towels or tampons;
  • toilet paper cores or fibre cloths (even if marked ‘flushable’);
  • kitchen towels;
  • nappies;
  • condoms;
  • cotton swabs;
  • cotton wool;
  • medications; and
  • paints or other chemicals.

Sewer divers see in their work what grease and trash can cause. Watch what they say about throwing trash into the sewer!

The Sewer Diver and the Rubbish

Sewer rats feed on biowaste

All solid biowaste is a source of food for rats, for example. Soft food scraps do not clog the sewers, but they are a delicious treat for any rats living in the side pipes of the sewer net​work. The side pipes have been built in case the main sewers become full, and in normal conditions they remain empty. The rat population living in them increases if the sewers provide them with food.​

The Sewer Diver and the Rat

Grease – the greatest enemy of sewers

A grease blockage is the most common reason for sewer blockages in homes. The grease congeals in the sewer and gradually forms a blockage.

How to prevent a grease blockage

Dispose of solid or congealed grease and small amounts of liquid fats absorbed in tissue paper in biowaste containers. Wipe any remaining grease from the frying pan with a kitchen towel and put it into biowaste.

Dispose of liquid fats in a sealed package in mixed waste containers.

Use the oil marinade from feta cheese and olives to season salads and potatoes or in sauces, for example.

Signs of a blocked pipe

​Flushing personal hygiene products, food waste and cooking grease into the sewer may result in an expensive blockage in your pipes. When the sewer is blocked, the wastewater rises quickly from the floor drains, sinks and toilet bowl and floods the floor. This results in an ill-smelling mess and a massive cleaning bill.

The following may indicate a blocked pipe:

  • The sewers have an unpleasant odour.
  • The sewers make weird sounds.
  • The water level in floor drains and toilet bowls rises often.​

Every year, over a million kilograms of solid waste that does not belong in the sewers is transported into the wastewater treatment plants of Helsinki and Espoo. The multi-phased treatment of this waste results in annual extra costs of over 400,000 euros for the plants.​

Make chemical-wise choices

  • Deliver paints, varnishes, solvents and oils to hazardous waste collection. Do not pour them down the drain.
  • Deliver old and unnecessary medications to a pharmacy.
  • Avoid unnecessary use of chemicals.
  • Choose products with an environmental label.
  • Favour products made in Finland and the EU.

By keeping chemicals out of the sewer network, you reduce the load on the Baltic Sea.

Clean brushes and rollers in a separate container

Cleaning painting tools with running tap water should be avoided to prevent harmful substances from ending up in waterways through the sewer. See the painting tool cleaning instructions for water-dilutable and solvent-dilutable products on our Cleaning paint brushes page.