You’ve seen them before—containers labeled as “flushable wipes.” Ideally, these items are engineered to break down much like toilet paper, allowing people the convenience of using them and simply flushing them afterwards. But are flushable wipes really flushable? This is a question that deserves a bit of a closer look. At Best Home Services, we tend to recommend people do not flush wipes if they are worried about plumbing problems. Let’s take a closer look at the products, the claims, and the concerns that have been raised about using these items in the home.
White kinds of wipes are available?
There are many different varieties of wipes available on the market today—from makeup removal wipes, to baby wipes, to hand wipes, and they are all made up of different types of material. Many, if not most of these products, are not designed to go into your sewer system. Wipes that don’t break down quickly can cause serious issues, such as jamming up pipes and causing clogs. They can also cause problems throughout the septic system.
What does “flushable” mean?
In the context of wipes, flushable means the product is considered safe for going down the toilet or is safe for septic use. The package should be labeled as such. The main problem is it’s hard to tell what happens in real life conditions once the wipe itself has been flushed. Can flushable wipes clog pipes? Tests from the manufacturers have shown these wipes break down quickly and the best flushable wipes are biodegradable. Critics claim the tests are done in “ideal” conditions, and these wipes don’t break down as fast as the companies say they do.
So who is right? The fact is, it’s impossible to tell in most situations. That said, if you have a septic tank, or are concerned about clogged pipes, it is probably best just to not put these wipes into your system—even if they state they are safe for flushing on the package. Prevention may be the wisest move when it comes to keeping your pipes clean and debris-free.
Signs of a pipe backup or clog
If you are concerned you may have a backup or clog in your plumbing system, there are a few signs to look out for that can help you know when to get professional help. These include:
- Slow drainage—If you’re running water in the sink or tub and it’s taking a long time to go down, this can mean you have a problem with the system. The same is true for toilets that flush poorly.
- Noise—Gurgling and other noises can signify your vent isn’t getting enough air; this can be due to a blockage in the system.
- Smell—If you smell that characteristic rotten egg smell, it’s likely to be sewer gas, which signifies a problem with your plumbing.
Feel free to reach out to our team if you have any additional questions about using flushable wipes.