Does Toothpaste Gum up Plumbing?

Updated on September 10, 2010
M.B. asks from Milwaukee, WI
10 answers

Hi everyone... I have a question you might think strange, but here goes. We moved one year ago from an old house that had plumbing problems (slow bathroom drain, eventually roto-rootered it, there were roots in our plumbing!) and the plumber that helped us said that toothpaste spit in the drain causes sludge that slows the drain. So we began the habit of spitting toothpaste in the toilet (I know... TMI!) Now we've moved into a newer (but still kind of old) house and I still have been spitting toothpaste into the toilet. I was pretty good at keeping it from my 2-year-old but she discovered I was doing it and wants to do it too. I don't want her to learn to do that! So I've started spitting toothpaste in the bathroom sink (like normal people LOL) So... will we have plumbing problems down the line because we're using the sink for its intended purpose? I've never heard of anyone having to not let toothpaste get in the bathroom sink, but I'm also afraid of having to pay a plumber some time in the future. Any advice or reassurance for me? Many many thanks.. *Peace*! :)

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answers from New York on

go to Home Depot or a home hardware store and buy a metal snake; ask the clerk how to use it. it will work great on hair and sludge clogs. my husband has to do this every 3 months or so.

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answers from Norfolk on

Sludge forms. And you want to know why?
For SO many years they've been hammering home the message "turn the water off while you brush". When it's time to spit, people only turn the water on long enough to rinse the paste down the drain, but not long enough to flush it past the trap. If it doesn't settle in the trap, you will be sludge free. (I'm talking tooth paste sludge here - if you get hair clogs, you've got a different problem.)
Spitting in the toilet is an effective method because a single flush is enough to clear it's trap. Some people will brush their teeth while taking a shower. This also works because even a short shower is enough to rinse debris clear of the trap.

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answers from Houston on

Never heard of that particular problem, but an easy solution is a big pot of boiling hot water down the drain once a month or so. If it seems really tough pour baking soda then vinegar and then the boiling water.

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answers from Eugene on

When ever our sinks get slow to drain we get a bottle of Liquid Plumber. Every 9 month to a year it seems to happen. All kinds of gross stuff gets caught in drain.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

We have never had a problem with toothpaste in our drains.

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answers from Savannah on

Never heard of toothpaste causing drain sludge but "B's" thought makes total sense!!


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answers from Topeka on

Use your sinks as they were intended to be used.I also do this baking soda
sprinkled down the drain heat up vinegar to a boiling point then pour it down the drain the most inexpensive way to clear out your drains before a problem arises.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

Yes, toothpaste has clogged our sink plumbing regularly in our house, built in 1994, although it never did in any of our apartments (some newer, some older). I think it depends on your plumbing - it's a possibility, but not a given. I'd go ahead and use the sink as it is intended, and if it gets clogged, you'll know why. If it does, ask your plumber to show you how to clean it out yourself if possible. Our plumber did this for us so that we don't have to keep calling them out (it doesn't require chemicals, but it does require some plumbing skills). Good luck.

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answers from Washington DC on

Spitting it in the toilet is still sending it down the pipes so really there shouldn't be any difference. I've never had a plumbing problem related to toothpaste. It's usually activated and on it's way to being dissolved by the time you spit it out anyways. The big killer for the plumbing is hair in the drains so we keep a little mesh drain cover on our shower drains and clear the hair out of it once every day or two.

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answers from Minneapolis on

One of the best to ask is find a nice Orthodontist office that is busy as they have kids and adults each time they come in brush there teeth in a brushing station. At least that is what we saw when we visited a well ranked and popular Orthodontist Office. Instead of spitting into a toilet that will then need to be flushed at some point and use a lot of water, how about taking a ziplock sandwich bag and spitting into that, zipping it and throwing it into the trash basket. I have never heard of toothpaste doing this before. But it is more likely other things like hair which can mat and make it hard for anything to pass is the culprit. We are only a family of three, a long haired child, full head of hair mom and losing hair dad and when "we" open the bath drain it is incredible how much builds up there which can bring the draining of the water down to a dribble down it. Under the sink cabinet there is the "S" curve trap which goes down further than other parts. It has two big Nuts that with an adjustable big wrench one could fit the wrench and slowly and carefully loosen the two nuts one on each side of the "S curve from its lowest point. The reason I know this is we lost a ring down and the trap is what kept it from being lost forever and watched the plumber unscrew and screw it back in. Have not had to that ourselves though! In terms of Toothpaste it requires only a small single roughly 1/4 inch ball of paste to be adequate to brush one's teeth. Any more is a waste. That alone may solve this toothpaste concern and save many tubes of toothpaste going to fast through them. And roots in the plumbing is bad for any plumbing of a household and not related much except maybe all that fluoride and minerals helped the roots grow faster.... just kidding. We had a neighbor with an older home have to in the dead of winter have a main pipe located and the main drain had a root the size of a small tree in it if you could imagine. How about cosmetics?

1 mom found this helpful
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