Flushing A Spider Down Your Toilet: Here’s What Really Happens

White toilet bowl at the bathroom. Hygienic, clean, modern concept

Spiders can be a nuisance, and if you find one in your house, your first instinct is probably to get rid of it. One of the easiest ways is flushing it down the toilet, but what happens when you flush a spider down the toilet?

When you flush a spider down the toilet, it will probably not survive or get stuck in your pipes. However, house spiders are, for the most part, harmless. It may give you extra peace of mind to flush them down your toilet, but it’s completely unnecessary if the spider isn’t alive.

This article has all the information you need to know about flushing spiders and what happens when you flush them down the toilet. Lets get to it!

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Spiders: Some Basic Information

First, let’s learn a bit about spiders. Spiders are eight-legged animals known for skilled web-weaving. They use their webs to capture small insects, which they will then eat.

Some spiders are venomous, meaning their bite can be dangerous to humans and other animals. The potency of this venom differs between different species and even from spider to spider. Some of the smallest spiders can be the most venomous.

If you find a spider in your home, it is probably not a venomous spider. However, a venomous spider could find its way into your home, so it is important to know what they look like. That will help you distinguish them from non-venomous spiders.

You will find more venomous spiders in the Southwest since venomous spiders prefer a desert climate. The spiders to beware of are black widows, brown recluses, and tarantulas.

Most spiders you’ll find in your house are not venomous. These most common types of house spiders include daddy long legs, the common American house spider, and cellar spiders. These spiders are not dangerous, but they can become a nuisance.

Can Spiders Survive Down The Drain?

If you find a spider in your home, you’re probably wanting to get rid of it unless it’s your pet. One of the most obvious options is flushing it down the toilet or the drain, but some rumors are going around about whether spiders will survive a trip through your plumbing system.

Although there could be some exceptions, the spider will probably not survive. When you flush the spider down the drain, it gets trapped underwater and drowns.

The type of spider will tell you how long this process will take. They can survive for a long time without breathing. Spiders could last for at least an hour before they drown.

Not all spiders are the same. Some will survive a trip down the drain for longer than others, and in some rare cases, the spider might be lucky enough to find a spot to cling to without being flushed away.

This is the exception rather than the rule. Since you are probably going to use your toilet rather frequently, the spider would have to survive multiple flushes.

Depending on the strength of your plumbing system, it could take a few flushes for the spider to go all the way down. It could come back up to float in the water, but do not let it alarm you. The chances of it crawling back out are extremely low.

Since there are many species of spiders, their ability to survive varies. Let’s look at the different types of spiders and how they can, or cannot, survive underwater.

However, there are so many spiders in the world that it would be impossible to describe how every spider would react to being flushed down the drain. If you want to know more about spiders and how they react to water, talk with an expert on spiders.

Swimming Spiders And Non-Swimming Spiders Can’t Survive Being Flushed

Daddy long leg spider -pholcus phalangioides

In the wild, you’ve probably seen some spiders swimming in the water. It might seem surprising when you consider everything they have to deal with in the wild that a spider would have trouble being washed down the drain, but not all spiders know how to swim.

Spiders can be divided into swimming and non-swimming spiders. Many swimming spiders are semi-aquatic or live most of their life underwater. 

One species of spider, the diving bell spider spends its life almost exclusively underwater. This amazing species creates its own air bubble so it can breathe while otherwise surrounded by water.

Diving bell spiders get their name from their diving bell webs. These underwater webs are used to trap prey just like normal webs, except that they have a bell shape.

Thankfully, you shouldn’t have to worry about these spiders building a web in your bathtub. You will only find a diving bell spider where it would have plenty of resources to survive. Therefore, they live in rivers and lakes, where there are insects for them to pray on.

Unless you have a little insect aquarium and some plants in your bathtub, a diving bell spider will not be spinning a web inside your bathtub.

Other species of spiders live both in and outside of water. These spiders are excellent swimmers, but they could not swim against the currents of a toilet flush. Even if they could, they would not last very long because of the volume of water.

Semi-aquatic spiders can swim, but most of them can’t breathe underwater. Some spiders can make an air bubble underwater, but this would be almost impossible when they are fighting against a toilet flush. Since a spider could not get oxygen once you flush it down a drain, it could not breathe even if it was a swimming spider.

Most spiders, especially the kind you will find in your house, are not aquatic. In other words, they are non-swimming spiders. They are not equipped to get wet, and they will not survive underwater for very long.

Non-Swimming Spiders Can’t Survive Being Flushed Down The Toilet

Swimming spiders are adapted to water and don’t have any problems getting out of water provided the water is shallow enough. This is because they have a different body structure than non-swimming spiders. Swimming spiders can actually walk on water, meaning they do not even need to swim sometimes. 

Non-swimming spiders are not as talented. As soon as they touch just the surface of the water, their legs will clump together. This means they won’t be able to move around.

Unless there is something that the spider can use to get itself out of the water, like a stick or a leaf, the chance of non-swimming spiders surviving once they get wet is very slim.

Most of the spiders you will find in your home are non-swimming spiders, including the daddy-longlegs. Daddy-longlegs live all over the world. 

Though daddy-longlegs are harmless, they can become a bit of a nuisance. They aren’t very pretty to look at, and they can be a bit difficult to catch. However, they, like most spiders, are non-swimmers and have little chance of surviving a trip down the drain.

Can Spiders Come Up Through The Toilet?

Phoolcus hanging from the roof in the room corner photomacrograph

No, spiders cannot come up through your toilet or the drain. There are blocks within plumbing systems to keep insects and other pests from getting through the pipes.

This might seem surprising since bathtubs and sinks are where you’ll often find spiders. This is because spiders, like humans, need water to survive, and drains are an easy place to find water. Spiders also like dark areas, and the inside of a drain is rather dark.

Since spiders do not come up from your drain, you might wonder where they do come from. Unless they have a nest inside your house, they are coming from the outside.

The easiest way for spiders to get in is through open doors or cracked windows, but spiders are skilled at crawling through cracks or vents. If they’re small enough, crawling under a door is no problem for a spider.

If you have any plants by your windows or do not keep your home clean, this could attract spiders. Keeping these areas clean is key to warding off spiders.

Where Do Spiders Go When Flushed Down The Toilet?

The spider will go to the same place everything that goes down the drain goes. After being flushed through your pipes, the spider will end up in the sewer system. 

Not all drains lead to the ocean. Flushing spiders or any other animals down the drain will not free them, so if you’re trying to release the spider into the wild, carrying outside is a better option.

If you are worried about the hygienic aspect of flushing a spider down the drain, there’s no need. Sewage systems are designed to deal with insects. It also will not clog your drain.

Though, if you don’t have the most advanced plumbing system, talk with a plumber or expert on pest control. They might have some other ideas of ways to get rid of spiders. But to get you started, here are some ideas about how to get rid of them.

How Do I Get Rid Of Spiders?

Unless the spiders you’re finding are poisonous, there’s not necessarily a need to eliminate them. You can set spiders free outside. Just make sure you take it far enough away from the house unless you want to see it again.

If spiders are infesting a particular area, it could be necessary to find another solution. If you don’t want to get your shoes dirty by stepping on them, or if you are afraid of getting bit, there are some spider sprays you can use to eliminate them.

This Natural Armor Spider Killer & Repellent Spray eliminates spiders on contact. It will also repel spiders and ward them away from your house. The ingredients are all-natural and the spray has a peppermint scent, so you don’t have to worry about any toxins damaging your house. 

If you consistently have problems with spiders, or if you strongly dislike them, consult an expert. While there is plenty that you can do on your own to keep spiders out, no methods are 100% effective.

How Do I Keep Spiders Out Of My House?

little black spider

Though no method is going to keep spiders away forever, there are some things you can do to keep spiders out of your house.

The first step is keeping your house extremely clean. This is a good idea to begin with, because it will make your house a much nicer place to live.

Keeping your house clean will also ward off other undesirable pests. However, having a few spiders around might keep other insects under control.

If you want to take some extra measures in keeping your house spider-free, try a spider repellent. Mighty Mint Spider Repellent is made of all-natural ingredients and contains peppermint oil and is a wonderful option. Not only will you be keeping spiders out of your house, but the peppermint will smell nice, too!

If spraying your house doesn’t sound appealing, you can also buy some Stay Away Spiders Deterrent Pest Control Scent Pouches that will repel spiders and other insects. Like the spray, it will keep spiders out of your house before you even see them.

Spiders love dark areas and corners, so if you concentrate your cleaning efforts and spray heavily in these areas, your efforts are more likely to be effective. Spiders also hang out in dusty areas where they can spin their cobwebs, so make sure you keep everything well-dusted and get rid of any cobwebs.

A classic trick to warding off spiders is to make sure there are no cracks in your walls or other places where spiders can get in. Although spiders won’t be coming up through your drains, spiders are extremely skilled at squeezing through small spaces. Keeping your doors and windows shut at night will also help. 

In Conclusion

Spiders aren’t something you want in your house unless you want one as a pet. Provided they aren’t venomous, they aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they aren’t exactly pleasant to have around either.

When you flush a spider down the toilet, it’s most likely not going to survive. If you don’t want to flush the spider down the drain, the best option is to take it outside and set it free.

However, there are plenty of natural, environmentally friendly ways to prevent spiders from coming into your home. This means you won’t need to worry about eliminating them and will feel safer when you go to sleep at night. 

If your issues with spiders are more serious, or you are not sure about the best way to ward them off from your home, consult with an expert about pest control. They can give you more tailored advice to your individual needs. Also, no method is entirely effective, so it is best to use multiple.

That is about all there is to know about spiders and flushing them down the toilet. Hopefully, your house will stay spider-free and you have learned a bit more about spiders than you knew before!

References

Bowlin, Melissa S. and Dorothy F. McLeer, and Anne M. Danielson-Francois. “Spiders in Motion: Demonstrating Adaptation, Structure-function relationships, and trade-offs in invertebrates.”

Advances in Physiology Education, 38:1, 2014, pp. 71-79.

Montgomery, Thomas H. “Studies on the Habits of Spiders, Particularly Those of the Mating Period.” Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, vol. 55, Academy of Natural Sciences, 1903, pp. 59–149, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4062875.

Pearce, J., Venier, L., Eccles, G. et al. Influence of habitat and microhabitat on epigeal spider (Araneae) assemblages in four stand types. Biodiversity and Conservation 13, 1305–1334 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:BIOC.0000019403.26948.55

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