Tricks of the Trade

To Flush or Not to Flush?


When the future Mrs. O’Grady was young, her big brother took it upon himself to rack up their parents’ plumbing bill by pulling the head off her Ariel the Little Mermaid Barbie Doll and flushing it down the toilet. This was a pretty uncool move for many reasons (Ariel was retrieved but she was never the same) but it did teach them a valuable lesson – what not to flush.

Mr. O’Grady gets many calls to unblock toilets and he has a top tip for everyone – don’t flush anything except bodily fluids (trying to find a nice way to put that!) and toilet paper. That’s. It.

Some of the top things our clients like to flush (and therefore have to pay us to remove!) are:

  • Tampons, pads and nappies; these puppies have their own little bins in public restrooms for a reason – they’re completely non-flushable (even if they say flushable!). They don’t break down and that pesky little tampon string especially likes to wrap around things and create nasty clogs.
  • Make up wipes, baby wipes and tissues; you’d think these would be flushable but again, they don’t break down quickly enough and can therefore get stuck.
  • Band-Aid wrappers; the future Mrs. O has committed this crime more than once. Again, they don’t break down, especially since they’re made out of a waxy paper.
  • Floss; get ready for that to collect things on its journey and cause one big flossy-balled clump in your pipes (ew). Same goes for hair. When you clean out your hairbrush, put the hairball in the bin, not the loo.
  • Cotton buds; great for cleaning your ear pipes, not great for your toilet pipes. They can get stuck and then start forming a little toilet paper and waste dam in your pipes that poor old David has to come out and clear.

If you want to test the flushability (now we are just making words up!) of a product because you don’t believe us then try this: get two buckets of water. Put some toilet paper in one, and whatever else you want to flush to prove us wrong in the other. Give them a little stir and leave them for an hour or so. When you come back, the TP should be significantly coming apart and disintegrating. The non-flushables will not. Most of them will be absorbing.

Think about it, the things listed above are made specifically not to break down. If tampons or nappies broke down quickly enough to go through our sewer system, they wouldn’t survive long enough to do their job. The same goes for paper towels and tissues; we use them for certain purposes (like cleaning and nose blowing) because we know they won’t break apart in our hands like toilet paper does.

So next time you go to flush something, remember Mr. O’Grady’s golden rule – nothing but bodily fluids and TP down the loo. Everything else in the bin. It’s not too catchy and it doesn’t rhyme but it gets the point across!

And if Barbie’s head ‘accidentally’ ends up blocking your pipes, give us a call!





Changing a Tap Washer

A Step-by-Step Pictorial Guide

Before we even get into the steps, and while it seems like a no-brainer, make sure you turn the water off! You’d be surprised how many DIYers forget.

Step 1: You need to remove the tap handle.


We find that these little guys make the job a cinch:


Step 2: Unscrew the spindle from the wall.

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Step 3: Remove the old washer.

Mr. O’Grady’s Top Tip: Make sure you get the rubber from the old washer out with the washer. If it doesn’t come out all in one piece, then make sure you fish the rubber out before moving on to the next step. Pliers come in handy here.

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Another Top Tip: Pop your finger in and feel around in the seat inside the wall to make sure it’s not pitted and the new washer sits flat against it.

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Step 4: Unscrew the spindle from the spindle body.

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Step 5: Replace that O-ring! You might need some pliers to get the old one off, then just roll the new one into its place.

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Step 6: Grab some grease and grease up the spindle and new O-ring. We like this brand.

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Step 7: Screw the spindle and spindle body back together.

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Step 8: Replace the old fibre washer with a new one and pop the new washer into the spindle.

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Step 9: Screw that spindle back in. Make sure you do it up tight but not too tight!

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Then screw the flange back on!

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Step 10: Pop that lock nut and stopper back in place and screw the handle back on.

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Make sure you screw it tight but not too tight (Mr. O’Grady’s favourite saying!).

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And then:

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If you run into any issues, give us a call on 0421 283 223.

Good luck!



Please note: Mr. O’Grady Plumbing always takes due care and wears proper safety gear when working on every and all site. You should always wear safety shoes when attempting any kind of trade work.