Are Flushable Wipes Safe to Flush?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Are Flushable Wipes Really Safe to Flush?

Flushable Wipes Not Breaking Down in Water
Flushable Wipes Not Breaking Down in Water

In today’s day and age of current shortage of toilet paper, many people are turning to an alternative hygiene method: flushable wipes. Flushable wipes are just like regular disposable baby wipes, except they claim to be septic system safe and are safe to flush as opposed to regular wipes. But are flushable wipes safe for your septic system long term? And is their claim of being flushable valid?

Should You Flush Flushable Wipes?

Most flushable wipes can technically be physically flushed – however, while they might make it through the curved part of your toilet, they are more likely to get stuck in the drainpipe due to their design or build up over time and cause a clogged drain.

One of the biggest design flaws of flushable wipes is that while they do flush and go down the drain, they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper. When toilet paper is wet, it falls apart quickly. This is because 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 most paper towels do.

By design, 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 adding cost to your home’s upkeep. They can also create a backup in the sewage system, causing flooding within your home sometimes. They can even cause burn up your sewage pump.

So 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 treatment plants. This can cause catastrophic damage to a city’s sewer system, causing blockages and backups that could affect several households or water shortages in regional areas.

Flushable Wipes Causing Clogs in Sewer Lines
Flushable Wipes Causing Clogs in Sewer Lines

Researched Findings on Flushable Wipes

In Canada, researchers conducted a study in which they tested 23 different types of flushable wipes. They built a working home septic system for testing and then flushed each of the wipes of varying types. None of the wipes disintegrated enough to completely pass through the system without risking clogging or damage being caused.

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.

Can You Risk Flushing Disposable Wipes?

Wipes marketed as flushable are okay to use if you are in a pinch and don’t have anything else or need to do a quick cleanup. However, they should not be flushed down the toilet if you are concerned with potential clogs. 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 as far as being “truly flushable”. But if you do have to use flushable wipes, dispose of them in the garbage can instead of flushing them.

South End Plumbing specializes in Toilet Repair, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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