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Fact of fiction: Bathroom Wipes are Safe to Flush?

March 25, 2019 Contractor2020

Pre-moistened wipes have become more and more popular – and not just for babies. Many adults now use wipes instead of toilet paper for more effective cleaning and a fresher feeling. When you look at the labels of these products, you’ll find claims such as “Flushable” and “Septic safe.” But in reality, is it OK to flush bathroom wipes down the toilet, or are you just asking for a plumbing issue?  

Do bathroom wipes break down like toilet paper?

Toilet paper is specifically made to disintegrate in water, which makes it easier to flow through plumbing without causing a blockage. Adult bathroom wipes do break down eventually, but not as quickly as toilet paper. According to an article in The Washington Post, the tests manufacturers use to claim that wipes are flushable do not simulate the conditions of real-life sewer systems.

So the short answer is likely: no, wipes do not break down the same as toilet paper.

Plumbing risks of using flushable wipes

Putting “flushable” wipes down your toilet will increase the chance of a clog somewhere in your plumbing system. Even if the wipe clears the trap of the toilet, it can still get lodged elsewhere. Depending on where the clog occurs, the repair can be very costly.

To make matters worse, wipes can get caught on other non-flushable items that commonly go down the drain, including paper towels, dental floss, sanitary pads, and dental floss. The combination of all these times is called “ragging,” and it’s causing major issues with clogged municipal sewage lines across the country. If you have a septic tank, you may have to have it pumped more frequently if you use flushable wipes.

What’s better – toilet paper or wipes?

Whether you use bathroom wipes in your home is certainly a personal decision. But it’s important to know the risks and be skeptical of the claims made on product packaging. In our opinion, the only safe thing to flush down your toilet is good, old-fashioned toilet paper.

Of course, wipes aren’t the only cause of toilet and sewer line backups. If you are dealing with a stubborn clog in your plumbing, give Reichelt Plumbing Inc. a call at (219) 322-4906. Our friendly, professional team can take care of the problem for you.

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