COVID-19 Toilet Paper Shortage Could Lead to Clogs

April 6, 2020

Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived in Boston and throughout the rest of the country, Americans have seen things they’ve never seen before in their lifetimes. Many people would say it’s like something from an apocalyptic movie – empty grocery store shelves, no people on the streets, no traffic, people wearing facemask and mass toilet paper shortages across the country.

If you didn’t stock up on toilet paper before COVID-19, you probably wish you had made a run to Costco and bought one of its megapacks of toilet paper, but how could you have known a nationwide toilet paper shortage was on the horizon? While doomsday preppers are saying, “We got this” in regard to the toilet paper shortage, most people aren’t that confident. Across the country, people have been running out of toilet paper only to find there’s none available at their local grocery and superstores like Walmart.

People Are Flushing These Instead!

When people run out of toilet paper, they naturally turn to flushable wipes, baby wipes, makeup remover wipes, tissue, and paper towels instead. But are these safe alternatives? Cities across the country are urging their customers to pay close attention to what they’re flushing down their toilets. They’re asking people not to flush anything except for toilet paper and yes, this includes flushable wipes – they say “flushable” but they can lead to stubborn clogs!

As people are flushing baby wipes and paper towels and other non-flushable items down their toilets, water reclamation facilities are telling people these materials do not break down the way toilet paper does, and as plumbers, we 100 percent agree.

“Supply shortages exacerbate stress but it is important to keep in mind that flushing anything other than toilet paper can create expensive and unsanitary problems for homeowners and businesses,” said the Pueblo Water Reclamation Facility in a press release.

The issue: Non-flushable items, such as tissues, paper towels, baby wipes, and flushable wipes (a misnomer) can cause toilet clogs and sewer problems that are costly for individuals, businesses, and municipalities. They can lead to toilet clogs, backups, pipe breakages, and equipment failures. If that’s not enough to scare you…they can force sewage to back up in your home and the repair costs fall back on you, the homeowner.

To avoid major plumbing disasters, do not flush paper towels, napkins, tissues, wet wipes, baby wipes, feminine wipes, wipes labeled as “flushable,” diapers, gauze, or Band-Aids.