Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable?
It was only a few shy years ago, in 2020, that we experienced a prolonged shortage of toilet paper. It was only natural that people turned to wet wipes as an alternative, but are they as flushable as they claim?
Toilet paper is unique in the sense that it breaks down much quicker in water than other paper products. So, to prolong the life of your plumbing system, do not flush wet wipes down the toilet. Wet wipes are designed in a way to hold water for a prolonged period of time. Naturally, this makes them a terrible candidate for the toilet. These do not break down as quickly, if at all, and are a source of clogged toilets. These wipes can be unpredictable and can clog early or stop up a sewer system.
So What Exactly Is Not Flushable Then?
As humans, we have become accustomed to several luxuries which over time have become essentials. Modern plumbing and toilets are definitely at the top of the list. Perhaps not the most glamorous of luxuries, but luxuries nonetheless. Toilets are absolutely necessary no matter where we go, which is why it is so important to take care of them and be mindful of what we flush down them. Here are a few items that should NEVER be flushed down a toilet:
Items not to flush:
- Baby Wipes/Napkins/Paper Towels – these are designed to absorb liquids without breaking down, so the toilet is not the best option when it comes to disposing of them.
- Floss – not only is floss non-biodegradable, but when flushed, it has the ability to wrap around everything else that has gone down the toilet which can cause a major clog.
- Cotton Balls and Q-Tips – cotton does not break down and has the tendency to attract other materials to attach to it which can cause major blockages in a toilet.
- Feminine Hygiene Products – feminine products are made with the purpose of expanding when exposed to liquid so it’s never a good idea to flush them. These include tampons, pads, panty liners, and other cotton or sponge materials.
- Male Contraceptives – while they may be thin and appear to be harmless, they have the ability to expand and stick to surfaces and are an absolute nightmare for septic tanks.
- Cigarette Butts – cigarettes do not break down and contain tons of chemicals that can spread into the water supply. Always dispose of them in the trash.
- Cat Litter – kitty litter clumps when exposed to moisture, which is exactly why it should never be flushed.
- Band-Aids – not only are they sticky, but plastic is extremely harmful to water systems. Also, they can stick to other materials and cause clogs.
- Fat/Grease/Oil – even if you flush it as a liquid, it will eventually congeal into a wax-like substance destined to clog your pipes.
At Home Flush-able Test
If you are not convinced by the list above, then try this “flush ability test.”
3 Step “Flush Ability Test”
- Fill a bucket with water
- Place some toilet paper in the bucket
- Wait an Hour
Leave it there for about an hour. When you come back and check on it you should notice that the toilet paper has started to disintegrate.
Other items such as wipes, Kleenex, napkins, paper towels, and more in the list will most likely remain intact. If the items do not start to disintegrate like the toilet paper you are safe to say it should not be flushed down the toilet. You run the risk of a blockage in your pipes or even a clog in a pump station if your home has one. This could lead to sewage back in your home or place of business.
As a quick reminder: The drains that connect your home to the main sewer are often no wider than 4 inches.
My Toilet Is Backed Up! What should I do now?
No worries if you are facing this issue, because you can rely on Reliant Plumbing to help with your plumbing emergencies! We have seen these issues before and can provide a reliable repair for toilets with clogs. Maybe the issue is your sewer, and we have state-of-the-art plumbing equipment that can aid us in inspecting your sewer. A sewer camera inspection is a great way to get visuals on the exact issue and get right to the source of the problem.
You can always rely on Reliant Plumbing no matter what time of day or week. We are your 24/7 plumber and weekend plumber! Contact us today to see how we can help with your next plumbing project. We specialize in everything from toilet installs and repairs to tankless water heaters.
We know that clogs and blockages sometimes happen. If you encounter a clogged toilet or any clogged pipes in your home or business. You know who to call your San Antonio & Austin emergency plumber: Reliant Plumbing.