On the surface, flushable wipes sound like a brilliant idea. They pick up where toilet paper leaves off and they leave everything fresh and clean. But do they really break down like they’re supposed to or are they leading to plumbing clogs across the nation?
When we get a call about flushable wipes, we know the job could take a while. Our plumbers have spent countless hours digging up flushable wipes from blocked pipes. Our crew can spend a lot of time using a cable to pull in a soggy clump of flushable wipes only to go back down several times to pull up more. Much like “flushable feminine products” that should not be flushed down the toilet, flushable wipes are in the same category – plumbers view them as common culprits behind toilet backups and clogs.
Wet Wipes Are Everywhere
These days, wet wipes are all over the place. We use them to change diapers, to wipe our children’s hands, to sanitize strollers and toys on the go, to clean our hands after we eat, and to clean ourselves after using the bathroom.
While some wipes on the market are labeled as “flushable,” others are labeled as “non-flushable.” Since people are in the habit of flushing both kinds, it’s hard to tell how many of the wipes pulled out by plumbers are the ones that are marketed as “flushable.”
In our plumbers’ view, wipes should NOT be flushed down the toilet, even if they say “flushable” on the label. Flushable wipes flush down without any issues, but once they reach a 45-degree elbow in the pipes that go to the street, they start to clump up. Then, over a period of months, they’re no longer being drawn down the street. The homeowner gets a backup and raw sewage starts to come up the toilet.
The problem has gotten so bad at wastewater treatment facilities that wastewater treatment officials around the nation have been urging citizens to stop flushing all types of wipes, including the flushable kind.
There are a number of wastewater experts who are asking people to memorize and follow the rule of “three Ps,” which is to only flush pee, poo, and paper (toilet). If you really love flushable wipes, which is understandable, our advice is to toss them in the trash after use.