Why Flushing Regular Wipes Will Clog Your Drains

Why Flushing Regular Wipes Will Clog Your Drains

Wet wipes have become very popular in the past decade. Flushable wipes for use in the bathroom are a novelty that a lot of people are trying. However, flushable wipes may not disintegrate fast enough to pass through a home’s pipes as easily as they should. Toilet paper is meant to dissolve within 24 hours. Flushable wipes can take months to dissolve.

In that amount of time, they can become caught up on imperfections in the sewer pipes, like tree roots that have made their way into older pipes.

Tampa, FL DIY-wet-wipes-1Another side effect of flushable wipes being on the market is the sudden influx of people flushing other kinds of wipes down the toilet. They believe they are similar enough to flushable wipes and may be flushable too. This is not true, however.Wipes that are not labeled flushable are not created to dissolve in water at all. They are simply meant to be used and discarded in the garbage. These too can build up in toilet drains and sewer systems to cause problems.

Some Wipes Should Never Be Flushed

Flushable wipes are only a small portion of the wet wipes available on the market.

Most pre-moistened towelettes are not intended to be thrown away via the toilet.

Regular wipes are pieces of thin disposable fabric moistened with a cleaning solution. They are not as biodegradable as toilet paper and flushable wipes. These wipes can come in many forms. There are wipes with disinfectant added to them that are meant to clean tabletops and counters. These are far too sturdy to be flushed. They will not dissolve.

Baby wipes are thin pieces of cloth with gentle cleansers added to them. These are meant to be discarded in a diaper pail or garbage can along with the baby’s diaper. They will also not dissolve easily and will clog a drain.

Smaller wipes that are made for hand or face cleansing may seem harmless, but they also are not meant to be sent down the drain. Even smaller wipes may become snagged inside a pipe and cause a buildup leading to professional drain cleaning or toilet repair.

Be Careful with Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes are designed to disintegrate eventually, but they can’t really break down fast enough to avoid causing problems with a home’s plumbing. It can take weeks or months for them to dissolve. That leaves plenty of time for them to wreak havoc on drain pipes and municipal sewer equipment.

Currently there are no legal regulations on the books that say what make wet wipes flushable and which products are allowed to use the label. Anything can be labeled flushable, but that doesn’t mean it really is. Some city officials in various parts of the country have filed lawsuits against companies that produce flushable wipes for causing damage to city sewage systems.

Until there are legal regulations in place, there is no way of knowing if that wet wipe labeled flushable is actually safe for plumbing or sewer equipment.

Avoid Flushing Tissue or Paper Towels

There are so many types of wet wipes available in stores that people have gotten used to the convenience. Some people have started making their own inexpensive wet wipes at home. These are sometimes made with paper towels or facial tissue.

Even though it may seem okay to flush these because they are made of paper, it will probably cause a problem with a home’s drains. Paper towels are made to be strong enough to not break down when soaking wet. They have to hold up to cleaning solutions and water. They should not be flushed down a toilet.

Even facial tissues should not be flushed. They may seem delicate and similar to the texture of toilet paper, but they are designed differently. Since they are intended to be discarded in a garbage can, they are stronger and will not dissolve fast enough in water to avoid clogging a pipe or drain.

Tampa, FL DIY-wet-wipes-2City Sewer Systems Have Problems with Wipes

Big city sewage processing plants have been in the news because of problems caused by wet wipes being flushed.

In London in 2013, a 15-ton clog of fat and wet wipes was lodged in the sewer. It was the size of a bus and took weeks to remove. In 2015, New York City had spent more than $18 million in the previous five years repairing damage to the sewer processing system caused by flushed wet wipes. Their filtering screens were collecting more than double the debris that they had been collecting in 2008. The increase in filtered material was due to the flushed wipes.

Other cities have reported similar problems. These problems are causing both damage to sewer systems and a need for newer equipment to deal with the increase in clogs.

Prevent Clogs and Plumbing Damage

Plumbers are a phone call away if a home is in need of drain cleaning or toilet repair because of wet-wipe clogs. Still, it would be better to avoid clogging the pipes in the first place. Remember never to flush anything that isn’t made to go in the toilet. Paper towels, facial tissues and regular wipes should never be discarded this way.

Flushable wipes are still too new to be regulated properly. Until they are deemed to be truly flushable according to legal guidelines, it is best to avoid sending them down the toilet drain. Toilet paper is the only type of paper that should be flushed.

If you need quality plumbing service in Tampa, FL, the experienced professionals at Tampa Bay Plumbing can help. Call them at (727) 223-6400.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *