Are Flushable Wipes Bad For Your Plumbing?
With the current shortage of toilet paper, many people are turning to an alternative hygiene method: flushable wipes. Flushable wipes are just like regular disposable wipes, except they claim to be septic system “safe” or “friendly” and are safe to flush as opposed to regular wipes. But are flushable wipes safe for your septic system? And are they actually flushable?
Are flushable wipes really flushable?
Flushable wipes can technically be physically flushed – however, while they might make it through the curved part of your toilet, they are likely to get stuck in the drainpipe or build up over time and cause a clogged drain.
The problem with flushable wipes is that while they do flush and go down the drain, they don’t disintegrate. When toilet paper is wet, it falls apart quickly. This is because the toilet paper is made to dissolve so that it doesn’t clog the drain. Flushable wipes do not fall apart when they are wet. In fact, they hold together better than paper towels.
Therefore, they don’t disintegrate, and if there isn’t enough water to push them through, they’ll clog the sewer line. They can also cause the septic tanks to need to be pumped more often and can block pipes. They can also create a backup in the sewage system, causing flooding within the home. They can even burn up your sewage pump.
And even if the wipes do make it through your sewer pipes, they then end up at sewage treatment plants and can eventually cause massive clogs in the pumps at the plants. This, in turn, can end, causing catastrophic damage to a city’s entire sewer system, causing blockages and backups that could affect several households or water shortages in a whole area.
The bigger picture
Researchers in Canada conducted a study in which they tested 23 different types of flushable wipes. They built a working model of a home septic system, and then flushed each of the wipes. None of the wipes disintegrated enough to completely pass through the system without risking clogging or damaging it.
Furthermore, utility workers around the world retrieve tons of clogged waste from sewer systems annually. And a big part of this waste is flushable wipes that didn’t disintegrate as they should have. So, while flushable wipes seem like a great idea, in the long run, they can end up causing millions of dollars in damages to septic systems, both home and publicly.
Should you or should you not use flushable wipes?
Flushable wipes are okay to use if you are in a pinch and don’t have anything else or need to do a quick clean up. However, they should not be flushed down the toilet. The only thing that should be flushed is human waste and toilet paper. While the convenience of flushable wipes is appealing, they’re not precisely all they claim to be. But if you do have to use flushable wipes, dispose of them in the garbage can instead of flushing them.
If you ever find yourself with blocked pipes due to flushing wipes contact the pros at D&N Plumbing and Gas for help!