Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable?

March 2, 2022 3:40 pm Published by Writing Staff


While it’s not exactly a conversation that you’d want to have at the dinner table, it’s something we all have in common: keeping clean in the bathroom. During the events of the past two years, people have gotten more adventurous with their choices, as they’ve spent more time at home than they’ve ever dreamed of. We’ve heard of many more people learning about the magic of bidets, but others still like to use traditional wet wipes—sometimes called flushable wipes.

The problem arises when people believe that these wipes can go into your pipes, regardless if you’re connected to municipal sewage systems or have a septic system of your own. Flushable wipes in particular are the scourge of many a plumbing system. Read on for the reasons why.

Misleading marketing

Wet wipes in North America are a $2-billion+ industry, and with good reason. They’re a versatile product that does everything from cleaning babies’ bottoms to scrubbing off makeup. The problem arises with flushable wipes, specifically. (You might also see wipes that bill themselves as septic-safe.)

It’s quite unsettling for homeowners to think about having to put used wipes into the garbage can, where they’ll rest until trash day. To that end, it’s not hard to see why marketing folks dreamed up the very idea of flushable wipes—who could disagree with the idea of a wipe specifically engineered to be flushed? The problem is that such a thing doesn’t exist. No wipe will fully break apart in your pipes, no matter what a manufacturer claims.

Backups snowball quickly

One deceptive thing about your plumbing is that you simply can never see about 99 percent of it. Many people make the assumption that if it flushes away or goes down the drain, then it’s gone. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s possible that your problems are just beginning and that you’re underestimating the dangers of flushable wipes.

People who pour cooking oils and grease down their drains have likely gummed up the works already from this solidifying waste. Flushable wipes can grab onto these preexisting pipe obstructions and create something that’s colloquially called fatbergs. These massive blockages in your pipes can cause serious problems and require hours of plumbing work.

Flush only paper down the pipes

The one unassailable rule if you’re hoping to avoid the dangers of flushable wipes is to never flush anything down your pipes besides toilet paper (and your own business, of course). Anything else—from feminine products to flushable wipes to cooking oils—can be a troublemaker, so avoid disposing of them in this manner and your pipes should be running clear for years to come.

Both sewage connections and septic systems can bear the brunt of uneducated users flushing down things like wipes and damaging their pipes. To that end, it’s important to learn about what you can and can’t flush, and it’s critical to have regular maintenance on your septic system to ensure that everything is working properly. Call the pros at Countryside Construction Inc. today to schedule your appointment.

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