Are Flushable Wipes Really Safe to Flush?

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When it comes to flushing things down the toilet, the list is pretty simple. There are only three items that should go down the drain. The first two we shouldn’t have to mention, and the third is toilet paper. Flushable wipes, as it turns out, aren’t really that flushable.

If you want to learn more about the flushable wipe problem, read on!

It’s an easy mistake to make, but flushing wipes down your toilet can cause some severe clogging issues. If you need emergency plumbing services or are looking for an affordable Waxahachie plumber in Waxahachie, TX, the team at Dial One is here to help. Give us a call at 469-240-5618 today.

The Reality: Flushable Wipes Wreak Havoc on Your Plumbing System

Just because you can flush something down the toilet doesn’t mean you should. Sure, a few mistakes may not affect your plumbing, but years of misuse certainly can. This is why the flushable wipe problem is such an issue for municipal sewage systems and households alike.

What happens when you flush a supposed toilet-safe wipe down your drain is that it never truly disintegrates. Combined with oils and fats that often get incorrectly poured down drains and you have yourself a “fatberg,” and yes, that is an industry term.

The fibrous wipes clog together using the cooled fat as a binder. These things can get huge, and dealing with them costs municipalities millions each year. For households, this can mean costly plumbing repairs and possible damage to pipes.

As you walk down your grocery store’s crowded aisles, you’ll certainly find numerous products labeled as “toilet-safe” or “flushable.” For most products, this label is far from the truth. In fact, toilet wipe manufacturers have faced legal action for these false claims.

Proctor and Gamble, responsible for those lovable Charmin bears, settled a lawsuit in 2018 over their false advertising. The company ended up doling out millions of dollars in attorney fees and payments to plaintiffs over the use of terms like “septic-safe” and “flushable.”

So, what does flushable even mean?

What Does Flushable Really Mean?

With all these problems with flushable wipes, you might think that the term has no industry standard. While companies are free to advertise their products as flushable, industry groups are trying to bring consistency to store shelves.

One such organization is the International Water Service Flushability Group (IWSFG). 

To fit into the IWSFG flushable category, a product needs to meet specific criteria. They are:

  • Environmental protection
  • Toilet and drain line clearance
  • Disintegration
  • Settling

Additionally, the IWSFG has created tests that can determine if a product will meet these above criteria. Whether or not this standard will make it to flushable wipe manufacturing sites is still uncertain. 

Are There Any Products That are Safe to Flush?

At this point, you might be thinking that flushable wipes are a myth. For the most part, that’s true. The products that companies put on the shelf and label as “flushable” can cause plumbing issues that can cost an arm and a leg to fix.

If you are still hunting for the illusive toilet-safe wipe, there is some hope. The University of Toledo is developing a wet wipe that will turn into paper once flushed. They’ve got some impressive funding, too.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

granted thousands of dollars to the Ohio school to produce their wipes. Until they hit store shelves, though, you should stick to the three P’s when it comes to what goes down your commode.

They are:

  • Poo
  • Pee
  • Paper

Flushing anything else could cause untold damage to your plumbing system. When a flushable wipe clog happens, you’ll be scrambling to find a local plumber in Waxahachie, TX.

What Happens When You Flush Wipes

In a perfect world, those flushable wipes would quickly disintegrate before causing any problems. The reality is that when you flush wipes down the drain, they can easily clog up your pipes.

Because they don’t break down, those wipes can get stuck in pipes. Since the pipes that are a part of your plumbing system are not straight, it means that any bend is a possible clog. The turns in your pipes cause water to flow toward the outside of the bend. If you have ever looked at the flow of a river bend, it’s the same concept.

The inner portion of the bend can quickly become clogged with flushable wipes. Over time, these clogs can get bigger and bigger without your knowledge. By the time the clog is large enough to stop the flow completely, repairs can be costly.

Remember, your toilet is not a garbage can. You need to be careful what goes down the drain.

Dealing with a Flushable Wipe Clog

When flushable wipes clog your toilet, it can be a pain to fix. Even in the best of scenarios, you’ll need to reach out to a plumbing professional.

You might be able to use a plunger to dislodge a clog close to the toilet, but often flushable wipes will cause issues deep in your plumbing system. A plumber will most likely try and use a closet auger to dislodge the wipes. If this doesn’t work, you will have to turn to more extreme measures.

This could come in the form of completely replacing your pipes. Once it gets to this point, you will be looking at thousands of dollars for repairs. 

Affordable Plumber in Waxahachie, TX

Are you looking for a local Waxahachie plumber in Waxahachie, TX? Dial One has been providing professional and affordable services to the Waxahachie area for almost half a century.

If flushable wipes are causing your toilet to stop up, our team is here to unclog that stubborn drain. Reach out online today to schedule an appointment.


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