Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable?

The short answer is no. 

These types of wipes are advertised as “flushable”, but they really are NOT. 

What Happens When You Flush A Wipe?

First, let’s picture toilet paper and recognize that it’s thin, biodegradable, and disintegrates in pipes and sewage systems. Flushable wipes on the other hand are not so easy! They are typically made with synthetic materials like plastic and polyester that won’t break down in sewage systems. 

Since these “flushable” wipes do not dissolve, they pose a risk to your plumbing system.

Flushable Wipes Lead To Big Problems

A fatberg is the biggest concern with flushing wipes. This term may be unfamiliar to you. A fatberg is a very large mass of solid waste that develops within the sewage system. It most commonly consists of cooking fats, tampons, “flushable" wipes, and other sanitary items that are flushed down the toilet. 

When a fatberg develops within a septic system it ultimately leads to a very large and difficult clog. This becomes a very expensive fix and depending on the size of the fatberg, it can take days, if not weeks, for a team to clear out the blockage. 

Why are these wipes advertised as “flushable”?

Companies are able to label these types of wipes as "flushable" simply because you CAN flush them. As in, they safely go down the toilet without causing a problem, but this doesn't mean that they won't cause a bigger issue later on.

There are many things that can be flushed down the toilet but shouldn't be. This is one of those things.

There is no requirement for companies to prove the flush-ability of their product before they claim that it is safe to flush. There was a study done in Canada where they tested 101 wipes and not a single wipe passed the standard for flush-ability. 

There have been some attempts to create policies that would not allow companies to label products “flushable” without actually being able to prove that they are safe to flush. 

So Now What?

You may be wondering, "should I stop using flushable wipes altogether?"

No, not at all!

You most definitely can continue to use flushable wipes, but make sure to never flush them down the toilet. Instead, throw them in a garbage can after use.

If you’ve been using wipes and flushing them down the toilet, stop immediately. Make sure to monitor your plumbing system for issues. If you begin to experience a backed-up toilet and any other sewage-related problems, it is recommended to reach out to your local plumber to have your plumbing system inspected. 

In the event that there is a build-up and possibly a fatberg, it needs to be treated by a professional to avoid any further complications.

Donovan WaterWorks staff is educated and trained to properly assess and treat any plumbing related issues like a fatberg or clog.

It's important to contact your local plumber at the first sign of an issue.

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