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Are Wipes Flushable? Fact or Fiction?

Are Wipes Flushable? Fact or Fiction?

Adult wipes have become increasingly common in bathrooms around the world as an alternative to toilet paper. The problem is that people are flushing these wipes, and that’s a very bad habit, both at home and in any other bathroom. Here’s why flushing those wipes can be dangerous for your plumbing system — and may cause a lot of extra expenses too.

Clogs Can Get Bad

These wipes aren’t designed like toilet paper and cannot easily break apart in water (even some toilet paper struggles with this). They are just too durable, which can cause major problems when they are flushed and don’t disintegrate soon enough. Many of the most famous sewer clogs of recent years have been traced back to wipes that just won’t go away. The same thing can happen in your home on a smaller scale, causing troublesome toilet backups.

Sewage and Septic Systems Suffer

Those wipes that won’t easily disintegrate eventually enter the sewage system or (depending on your setup) your septic tank. These systems are designed specifically to break down waste over a period of time. Items that won’t decompose fast enough can disrupt this process and eventually cause long-term problems.

Those wipes that won't easily disintegrate eventually enter the sewage system or (depending on your setup) your septic tank. These systems are designed specifically to break down waste over a period of time. Items that won't decompose fast enough can disrupt this process and eventually cause long-term problems.

“Flushable” Wipes Really Aren’t Flushable

Some wipes are marketed as flushable, with assurances that they will decompose quickly. The problem is that there aren’t many guarantees that this is true (although some cities are working on regulations to help solve this problem). Many brands are guilty of letting people assume the wipes can be flushed when really they should be thrown away instead. Other brands may claim they are flushable, but the results appear to prove otherwise. It is best to assume that all wipes have trouble disintegrating in water and it is safer just to throw them in the trash.

Wipes Can Even Cause Flash Floods

What happens when a lot of wipes are flushed into a sewage system in a city? The system backs up, which means there are fewer places for the rain to go. A severe storm can quickly back up the system and lead to flooding. This causes not only lots of property damage to homes and businesses alike but also takes a lot of city funds to fix. Yes, even these widespread problems can be caused by flushing wipes! On a more minor scale, similar issues can plague apartment buildings, so it’s important to be careful even if you don’t own your home.

Note: Wipes aren’t the only thing you shouldn’t flush down your toilet. As a general rule, if it isn’t waste or toilet paper, don’t flush it! That includes common items that people may think are okay to put in the toilet, like diapers, paper towels, cat litter, condoms, tampons and anything else. Put it in the trash and save your plumbing from a disaster.

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