Are “Flushable”Wipes Really That? How to Prevent Clogs in Your Home

Disposable wipes, or “wet wipes” have grown in popularity over the last few years. Parents have come to rely on these useful and convenient toilettes for everything from cleaning babies’ bottoms, to wiping hands. The continued popularity has even extended beyond children only, as
their convenience and usability has proven great for adults in other applications, such as makeup
removal and dusting around the house.

Coinciding with this popularity, however, increased warnings are coming from water companies
about the damage that flushing these wipes causes to sewer systems. In fact, even those wipes
specifically labeled as “flushable” are being challenged in recent cases.

Not So Flushable Wipes

Ultimately, the reason for the recent challenges lies in the fact that wipes take longer to
biodegrade than regular toilet paper and will get caught up with other loose items in the
meantime, either contributing to or causing clogs and other blockages. For wipes not labeled for
flushing, the problem is even worse. Flushed wipes tend to get stuck in the drain, and can
combine with grease, hair, toothpaste, and other wipes that are flushed to quickly form a larger
clog. These wipes tend to ball up and block piping systems.

It is possible for other drains in your home to become affected. In fact, you may notice, for
instance, that a shower is collecting water rather than draining it. Tubs, sinks, showers, and
toilets all share the same system, so if one is clogged, it could affect the drainage and flow of all
the others.

Prevention and Best Practices

If you are experiencing a clog, you may not know exactly what is causing the blockage.
However, if you use and flush wipes regularly, you can count on the likelihood of the wipes
clogging your drain eventually. Additionally, refrain from flushing the following items:

  • Sanitary pads
  • Feminine products
  • Dental floss
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cotton balls
  • Hair
  • Bandages
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Trash of any kind

Unfortunately, while the issue can, in some cases, be snaked out, it is more likely that extensive
septic work will need to be done. If you are experiencing clogging or slow drainage anywhere in
your home, seek professional assistance sooner rather than later, as you don’t want an issue to
persist and grow. The best way to prevent clogs for those that take advantage of the convenience
of wipes is to completely refrain from flushing them, no matter what the packaging says.

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