Can You Flush Fingernails? (And Can They Clog the Toilet?)

toilet-flush-water

Maintaining proper hygiene is no longer a faraway concept. We now hear of it from time to time. It has come to be a part of living a healthy lifestyle. Hygiene does not just cover the bathing and washing of clothes. It encompasses taking care of different parts of the body. As such, your fingernails are no exception.

Typically, you will need to cut your fingernails. This to ensure that dirt does not accumulate there. However, the important question is, what do you do when you cut it off. How do you dispose of these fingernails?

We understand that it can be quite confusing for everyone. Regardless, as someone looking to maintain proper disposal practices, you need to know to get this done. Well, that is why we are here. In this article, we will answer the question, can you flush fingernails.

However, we will not stop there. We would further put your mind at ease by answering other related questions, including whether they are biodegradable. So, are you ready to learn about the best practices regarding the disposal of fingernails?

Let us go!

Can Fingernails Go Down the Drain?

You will regularly find yourself cutting your nails while in the bathroom and toilet. In turn, one thing that you find easy is to deposit it in the toilet and flush it. However, have you asked yourself if you are doing the right thing?

So, without further ado, let us get into answering the focal question. The answer is a simple No. you cannot flush fingernails; neither do they can go down the drain. So, if you have been doing this, you have been doing something wrong.

We are sure you are somewhat perplexed; after all, fingernails are very tiny, and flushing them is harmless. While we understand where you are coming from, let us explain why you cannot flush fingernails.

There is one general rule as regards the disposing of items by flushing them. It is simple; if it is not human waste or toilet paper, you should not flush them down the toilet. This general rule has no exception.

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The same way you are not to flush fingernails is the same way you are not supposed to flush other household items such as dental floss, condoms, hair, tissues, sanitary towels, diapers, baby wipes, etc. The list is a lot, but the notion is the same. Avoid flushing down just anything down the toilet. This extends to your fingernails.

Asides from the general rule, one other important reason you should know that precludes you from flushing down fingernails is its composition. Fingernails are made up of what is known as keratin and biotin. These compositions are rigid that even microorganisms are unable to break them down and act on them. This is mostly why your nails do not rot or become moldy.

These nails fail to rot, and they accumulate quickly. So, you see, it is better to just throw them away rather than make them gather and stir up trouble for your sewage system.

So, once again, the short answer is no; your fingernails cannot go down the drain. Their inability to rot quickly causes them to accumulate. You cannot imagine the wide range of plumbing problems that this can cause.

So, instead of stirring up trouble for yourself by flushing fingernails, just throw them away. Believe us that is your best bet.

Are Fingernails Suitable For Plants?

So now you are wondering if it is okay to use fingernails for plants. Or you are thinking, what correlation does the fingernail have with plants? We got you right there!

One thing you must keep in mind is that this might come as shocking. After all, if I cannot flush them because they do not break down easily, how will they benefit your plant.

Well, the truth is fingernails are suitable for plants. Now, let us explain how.

As explained earlier, fingernails contain nutrients, namely keratin and biotin. Keratin is a naturally occurring protein as it contains small amounts of calcium and phosphorus. In case you did not know, they are wealthy soil nutrients and have significant benefits to plants.

Without any doubt, keratin and biotin are not significant sources of phosphorus. However, to a reasonable extent, they contain these nutrients that are extremely rich in soil nutrients and will, in turn, be beneficial to the plants.

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So, while your fingernails are inappropriate to be flushed, you can rest assured that they are of some environmental benefits to plants. They provide valuable nutrients to your plant.

Are Fingernails Biodegradable?

When you say biodegradable, it means an item can break down naturally. And, in turn, result in a nonexistent thing after some time. Fingernails are made up of keratin and biotin, which are types of protein. So, they are biodegradable.

However, you should note that the keratin being the tougher of the proteins, takes longer to biodegrade.

So, in short, fingernails can biodegrade but the biodegrading process is primarily determined by several factors, which include but are not limited to the environment and the presence of relevant microorganisms.

Put briefly, your fingernails can undergo the biodegrading process due to its composition. However, it is not the fastest when it comes to duration.

How Long Does It Take for Nail Clippings to Decompose?

Typically, with the exposure of fingernails to heat and moisture, it should take about 5 to 40 years to decompose. However, if the nails are kept in a cool and dry place, it can last for as long as a thousand years.

Summarily, under the right conditions like the environment and microorganisms’ presence, it takes fingernails about 5 to 40 years to decompose. So, you might want to keep in mind that your fingernail takes considerable time to decompose.

Can Fingernails Clog the Toilet?

One recurring question that you might have on your mind is whether your fingernails can clog the toilet. Well, it is understandable as you want to be armed with all the necessary information to prevent mishaps.

The answer is Yes and No. Fingernails can and cannot clog the toilet. This might seem confusing at first. However, if you have been following our line of thought, this should be a no-brainer for you. Let us explain.

We informed you previously that fingernails are biodegradable. They simply can break down into a nonexistent item. If placed under the right condition, they can disintegrate into nothing. As such, when they decompose, they can no longer clog the toilet. It, however, does not stop there.

Water is not exactly the best condition for an item to undergo the biodegradation process. As such, the longer the nails take to biodegrade, the higher the chances of those nails clogging the toilet.

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Summarily, Fingernails, due to their size, have a slim chance of clogging your toilet. However, that still does not invalidate the fact that they can block the bathroom if you keep flushing the nails. You just need to remember that they take a long time to biodegrade.

Quick Ways to Dispose of Fingernails

Now that you are aware that flushing your fingernails in the toilet is not an appropriate way of disposing of your fingernails. You are probably curious and wondering what the appropriate ways to dispose of your fingernails are. Relax, we would answer this question in a minute.

Various ways exist through which you can effectively dispose of your fingernails. And here are some ways we think you can dispose of your fingernails.

1. Toss It in A Trash Can

This is easily the most reasonable way to dispose of your fingernails. Simply throw them in a trash can when you dispose of all other household items and cover appropriately with a lid.

However, you might want to seal them off before getting them into a trash can. All you need to do is seal them in a plastic bag. You can then head over to your trash can afterward.

2. Burn Them

This is an excellent way of disposing of your fingernails. This can go in two ways. You can either burn them yourself in your backyard or allow the waste management agency to transport them to a dumpsite to be burnt appropriately alongside other waste products.

However, before you resort to burning the fingernails in your backyard, make sure that you are not breaking any laws prohibiting the burning of refuse.

Conclusion

Maintaining clean fingernails will always be a big part of healthy living and a hygienic lifestyle. And as long fingernails are still relevant, you should take it upon yourself to be duly informed on the appropriate ways to dispose of them. Now, you might think it is insignificant. However, we can bet you will not feel this way when you need to pay to unblock your pipes. So, you need to pay attention to this.

We have addressed the questions for your benefit. So, read on, stay informed, and maintain the best disposal practices. It is the least you can do for yourself.

References: 

https://everythingwhat.com/are-fingernails-biodegradable

https://www.quora.com/How-long-will-it-take-for-a-human-fingernail-clipping-to-decompose

https://www.nailsmag.com/604172/how-to-properly-dispose-of-common-nail-products

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things in her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.