Just How ‘Flushable’ Are Flushable Wipes? Things your plumber wants you to know.
Everyone remembers where they were when they first tried a flushable wipe instead of toilet paper. Maybe it was at a friend’s place. Maybe you were curious and bought a packet yourself. Either way, you got hooked and vowed never to use that boring toilet paper again. But are those wipes as ‘flushable’ as they claim? Take it from us, flushable wipes are bad news. Read this article on a massive one-tonne wet wipe blockage in Newcastle!
All is Not What it Seems….
If it looks right, feels right and flushes right, it must be just like toilet paper, right? Not necessarily. Most flushable wipes are made from ‘air-laid paper’ – a very tough material coated with cleaning chemicals. Unlike regular old toilet paper, it doesn’t break down easily in water. This leaves the wipes to build up in your pipes and sewers. The wipes can then become tangled with other non-flushable things (like cotton buds, sanity products, hair and dental floss) making a downright icky solid mass, or ‘fatberg’. Unfortunately for your poor plumber, often the best way to remove this horrible mess is by hand. So spare yourself the guilt, and pop that wipe in the bin.
More Bad News
Not only could you wind up with a huge plumbers bill, but you could also ruin your wastewater equipment. Flushable wipes can get caught on the impellers inside pumps, causing them to jam and burn out. Clogged wipes also create what is called ‘cavitation’– a process where air bubbles slowly erode away at the pipes. This, in turn, can break your valve seals. Once the seals are broken, you run the risk of flooding your home in your own waste. All this for the convenience of a fresh tooshie? No thank you.
Does it Pass the Test?
The label may claim to be ‘flushable’, but how can we be certain? Australian lawmakers are fighting to change how these wipes are advertised, but the fact is that there are currently no regulations on how companies can market them. Just because it’s written on the packet doesn’t mean that it has been tested, or that it’s even true. So it’s important to take these claims from your ‘flushable’ wipes with a pinch of salt – when in doubt, don’t flush.
The Three P’s
So when considering buying your next packet of ‘flushable’ wipes, think of The Three P’s – Pee, Poo and (toilet) Paper – the only things that should be flushed down your loo. Not only will you keep your pipes fatberg free, but your plumber will also be eternally grateful.
Make your own homemade wet wipe solution to squeeze onto toilet paper. Instructions here.