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Plumbing Tips – The Truth About “Flushable” Wipes

Today, wet wipes, sanitary wipes and other toilet paper alternatives are everywhere. Manufacturers promise a more sanitized and cleaner product while claiming they’re safe for our drains and sewer systems. The question is: are wipes really safe to flush down the toilet?

Well, the answer is a resounding “no!”

Flushable wipes do indeed flush down the toilet, but these so-called flushable wipes are frequently clogging our plumbing drain piping at home and wreaking havoc on the sewer systems we rely on. These “flushable” wipes are, in fact, not very flushable at all.

Toilet paper is designed to disintegrate quickly and evenly in our drains and sewer systems, but flushable wipes are not. Flushable wipes are made with stronger materials like synthetic plastics and polymers that keep their shape and don’t break down nearly as quickly or as easily.

While flushable wipes do initially flush down the drain without a problem, they easily get caught while traveling around a sharper drain corner within the plumbing system. That’s when they start congregating and causing problems. These wipes build up over time until the pipe or sewer is completely clogged.

Wipes Contribute To “Fatbergs”

Flushing wipes down the toilet is only part of the problem. When these wipes, along with paper towel, dental floss, cotton swabs, and sanitary products combine with cooking fat in our drains and sewers, they combine into a gross and dangerous blockage called a “fatberg”.

There’s no shortage of video footage online of plumbers and city cleaners removing massive blockages from drains and sewers, with some being the size of a bus and weighing over 40 tonnes!

Sometimes these blockages stop in your drains and require you to call a drain cleaning expert to remove them. If they get past your drainage system, they can build up in the main sewer system and cause damage to an entire sanitization system.

Why Are They Labeled “Flushable”?

The issue with these wipes is that there is no legal definition for what’s considered flushable, leading many manufacturers to use the term without consequence, as they aren’t required to prove their flushability. Any product being labeled as “flushable” simply means the product is not specifically restricted from being flushed.

Another issue is that other products such as baby wipes or facial wipes often get flushed down the toilet, as they look very similar to other flushable wipes. Even if products have warnings against flushing, these messages often go unnoticed.

Solutions To Keep Pipes Clear

A simple solution to keeping your pipes clear is this: only flush toilet paper down the toilet. Avoid putting any type of wipe down the drain to prevent clogging your drain and damaging the local sewer system. If you must use disposable wipes, make sure you throw them in the trash after use.

Got A Clog?

Have you flushed a wipe down the toilet and need help? If you need your drain unclogged for any reason at all, call the experts at Lynn’s HVAC & Plumbing. We’re always here to help no matter how big or small your clog is! We offer 24/7 emergency plumbing service so you can have peace of mind to know you’ll get the service when you need it. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.