You might have heard or used an item called “Flushable Wipes”, these are displayed as toilet wipes that can replace toilet paper. But have you ever thought about how “flushable” these wipes are? They might be a better cleanup tool than toilet paper, but they don’t exactly work like they are advertised. A recent study shows that toilet wipes are the major culprits for around half of sewer blockages. This phenomenon is recently on the rise due to COVID-19, so are toilet wipes flushable? Let us find out.
What Are Toilet Wipes Made Out Of?
Most toilet wipes contain rayon fibres, cotton, plastic resins like polypropylene, polyester, and polyethylene. Popular brands manufacture these products labeled ‘flushable’ and ‘biodegradable’. However, these are far from the truth, the products are advertised as wipes that will disintegrate in the sewer system. In reality, these toilet wipes will take 500 years to decompose which is extremely damaging to the environment.
Why Shouldn’t You Flush Down Toilet Wipes?
Even though toilet wipes are marketed as “flushable” and “septic-safe”, it has detrimental effects on the sewer system and your sewer lines. Since toilet wipes contain small amounts of plastic resin, they break down at a much slower rate than wet paper. The sewer lines weren’t built to sustain large amounts of wet wipes, they can only move wet paper since they break down much easier. When you continuously flush toilet wipes, it will eventually create massive clogs in your pipes and can even lead to damaged pipelines. This will take a huge toll on your plumbing bills since these repairs can be costly.
Which Wipes Are the Major Contributors to Blockages?
A recent study shows that baby wipes are the biggest contributor, even though they aren’t marketed as flushable. Baby wipes accounted for 78% of the sewer mass weight, while regular wipes, feminine hygiene products, and cosmetic wipes made up around 20%. After flushing these so-called “flushable” wipes, they may become trapped with other items currently in the drain. Thick toilet paper, paper towels, cotton swabs, dental floss, and feminine hygiene products are common items that can cause major blockages. Combining these items with toilet wipes can cause messy clogging. If this happens to you, take out your phone and start looking for a plumber.
What Are the Environmental Impacts?
A study has shown that marine organisms often mistake toilet wipes for food, causing microplastics to return to our food chain, which may have unknown consequences for our bodies. It is estimated that there are about 300,000 sewer blockages every year, and wet wipes are considered the main contributor. The cleanup process costs our country nearly $100 million a year, which could have been better used to reduce bills or improve public services.
What Items Can You Safely Flush?
The test results provided by the manufacturer show that disposable wipes can be safely flushed; however, after compiling evidence against this claim it can be concluded, that flushable wipes aren’t really “flushable”. Although wipes may seem like the greatest invention since sliced bread, you should choose not to use them. Toilet paper should be the item that is flushed down the toilet.
What If Your Toilet’s Clogged?
Did you accidentally commit the sin of flushing toilet wipes down the drain? Do not feel guilty, we have all done it. If your house is getting massive clogs frequently, it is time to call a professional for help because the culprit might be the toilet wipes. CJ Drain & Plumbing can help you quickly clear any clogs in an efficient and timely manner. Call CJ Drain & Plumbing now to fix that stubborn clog caused by toilet wipes.