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Do you remember when you first used a flushable wipe instead of traditional toilet paper? At first, you were unsure, but after a few more trips, you got used to them pretty quickly. Unfortunately, the same can’t always be said for your plumbing! You’ll have noticed that the packaging of these wipes says ‘flushable,’ but how safe are they really?
There are numerous circumstances where flushable wipes are indeed a great asset. Potty training young children is a prime example. The wipes provide a hassle-free clean that helps children to get used to completing basic hygiene tasks without help. They’re also great if you’re the outdoorsy, adventurous type since they can be used while camping, hiking, or any other activity that sometimes puts you far away from traditional toilet amenities.
Despite wet wipes often advertising they are ‘septic-safe,’ and ‘flushable,’ they do take a lot longer to decompose than regular toilet paper. If they’re used routinely, you could quickly find clogs building up in your Summerlin, NV home’s plumbing system, causing regular plumber callouts and repairs if left untouched. In apartment complexes, especially, the buildup of flushable wipes and other items in the main sewer line can lead to a full-on sewage overflow that can not only affect you but your neighbors too.
Disposing of flushable wipes down the toilet reduces the effectiveness of your plumbing system by reducing the flow rate of waste, causing unpleasant smells. It can also translate to regular, costly plumbing bills.
Which ‘flushable’ products are most likely to cause blockages?
In many cases, it’s rarely just the flushable wet wipe that causes the blockage. It, combined with several other items, can cause clogs in your sewer line. For example, flushable wipes may mix with thick toilet paper, sanitary pads, cleaning pads, cotton swabs, dental floss, hair, paper towels, and many other commonly-flushed items, to cause a severe blockage. This issue is well-known to your local plumber and referred to as ragging. Ragging occurs when wet wipes and other debris combine in the pipes to cause slow drainage and clogs. Luckily, a professional can help to sort this issue quickly.
What evidence is there that ‘flushable’ wipes aren’t flushable?
While flushable wipe manufacturers often provide test results to back up their statement that their wet wipes are safe for traditional plumbing systems, there have been numerous studies that indicate the flushing of these wipes can have adverse effects. These effects are detrimental not just to an individual home’s plumbing systems, but to the community as a whole. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission had to spend more than $1 million to install grinders, which would shred wipes and other debris heading into local treatment plants to avoid pump clogs. DC Water also reported that more than 500 hours per year was spent repairing clogged pipes and broken equipment, a 35% increase since flushable wipes and other items became more popular.
Closer to home, the Clark County Water Reclamation District has admitted to spending tens of thousands of dollars annually clearing clogs caused by items that shouldn’t be flushed, with a large portion of the clogs reportedly made up of flushable wipes.
“The wipes clog pipes and pumps at the reclamation district’s lift stations — a facility where wastewater is transported from lower to higher elevations. We have to go in and routinely pull all those out of our pumps, so that they don’t tear up our pumps and that our lift stations work effectively,” a spokeswoman for the Clark County Water Reclamation District has said. “Some of them do get through the lift station, and we have to pull them out of the first stage of our treatment process so that they don’t go in and clog our treatment plant pumps.”
If you suspect that you have inadvertently caused a clog in your home by disposing of flushable wipes down the toilet, a professional plumber can inspect your home’s pipes and remove any buildup for you. A plumber can also assist with clogging issues in the main sewer line, kitchen drains, and other problematic areas.
What other ‘flushable’ items may cause a plumber callout?
Now that we’ve turned your world upside down and told you that there is strong evidence to suggest that wet wipes labeled flushable can be quite detrimental to the effectiveness of your home’s plumbing, it’s time to consider some other products. These items can seem inherently flushable because, on the surface, they share some of the same characteristics as toilet paper and flushable wipes. Still, it can also be better to avoid flushing these items purposely:
- Facial tissues
- Baby wipes
- Disinfectant wipes
- Sanitary products such as tampons
- Condoms and other non-organic material
- Cotton balls and q-tips
However, the good news is there are several alternative uses for flushable wipes which won’t cause clogs that require a plumber’s attention. You may be able to clean scuff marks on your shoes, wipe pollen away from hair or clothing, clean muddy dog paws, remove makeup, and dust, all with flushable wipes. Once used, simply make sure they end up in the trash. They’re better in the trash than potentially causing clogs in your plumbing system!
While the after-effects of flushable wipes are something that you may not have thought about before, just like many other items that are flushed down toilets and drains in Summerlin, NV homes, they can harm your plumbing system. If you find yourself in need of a plumber who you can trust to handle any accidental clogs caused by flushable or non-flushable items, give a plumber at Craig’s Plumbing a call. Our team is knowledgeable, experienced, and highly trained to resolve clogs quickly and correctly. With a 100% satisfaction guarantee and unrivaled respect for yourself and your home, there’s no better choice than a plumber from Craig’s Plumbing. We provide quotes within an hour during regular business hours and are available 24/7 for emergency plumbing services.