Due to recent societal events, themes like sanitation and cleanliness are atop the minds of many, including within plumbing and other home areas. In particular, as some have experienced toilet paper shortages, an area that’s received significant public attention is whether “flushable” sanitary wipes can be used as a replacement.
The plumbers with At Your Service Plumbing, experts in drain cleaning and several related areas (among many others), are here to set the record straight for you: “Flushable” wipes often aren’t what they claim to be, and can create significant clogging and blockage risks in your various plumbing drains. Here’s a primer on why this is the case and the care you should take when using these items for any reason.
Technically speaking, the manufacturers of many of these “flushable” wipe products are not lying when they say these materials are meant to break down within your drain after being flushed. They’re leaving important information out, however: The time it will take for this to happen.
When normal toilet paper is flushed down a toilet drain, for instance, it breaks down very quickly. This means it doesn’t present any kind of clogging risk, rather simply flowing down the drain with the rest of the water and waste. These wipes, however, don’t break down nearly as fast – they will often still be in full form several minutes after being flushed, if not longer. As you may have guessed, this significantly increases clog risks.
And because these wipes are still solid well after being flushed, the chances for what’s known as “ragging” go way up. Ragging involves these and other items caught in the sewer line creating a blockage, one that will often grow to the point where it backs up the entire sewer line and many drains within the home – not even just your toilet drains in some cases.
So while the makers of these wipes technically have not lied to you, they have led you wrong. Even if you use their products as-directed, your risk of drain and sewer clogs is far higher.
How to Proceed
Simply put, the recommendation of our plumbers and many others is to never use these “flushable” wipes in your toilet drain for any reason. If they must be used for some sanitary purpose in or around the bathroom, instead find a different way of disposing of them in a normal trash bin. When it comes to the toilet itself, only flush approved toilet paper or human waste – all other items, from these wipes to paper towels, feminine hygiene items and numerous others, should be disposed of in other ways. For more on avoiding flushable wipes, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff without At Your Service Plumbing today.