Learn Why Flushable Wipes Are Anything But
Ever absent-mindedly toss a baby wipe or a hand-sanitizing wipe in the toilet? So-called flushable and disposable wipes have made staying fresh and clean surprisingly convenient. Despite how they're marketed, these wipes can still wreak untold havoc on your home's plumbing. The following goes into detail about why flushable wipes simply don't belong in your toilet.
The Terminology Is a Misnomer
Just because the packaging says "flushable" or "disposable" doesn't mean your wipes are toilet-ready. The vast majority of flushable wipes are only so in the sense that they're capable of passing through your drain pipes. While you might get away with flushing a couple of wipes down the drain occasionally, flushing them in any serious quantity on a regular basis raises your chances of clogging the pipes.
They Don't Degrade Easily
Unlike ordinary toilet paper, the majority of flushable wipes aren't designed with biodegradability in mind. Toilet paper tears easily and it disintegrates upon contact with any liquid. Toilet paper practically dissolves once it hits the bowl, making it trivially easy to flush down the drain without any risk of clogging.
In comparison, the non-woven fibers that make up flushable wipes are designed to maintain their strength despite the cloth's thinness. While this makes flushable wipes far more durable than toilet paper, it also means your wipes will have a hard time disintegrating in water.
As a result, it takes ages for wipes to successfully biodegrade. This poses a problem for septic systems since a large buildup of "flushable" wipes can stop waste from being processed properly and even cause it to back up into your home.
They Attract Other Wastes
As flushable wipes move along your drain and sewer pipes, they can also catch other passing wastes. Think of the flushable wipe as a giant dragnet that catches any piece of solid waste in its path. As grease and other solid materials get tangled up with flushable wipes, the resulting mass will eventually form a clog large enough to completely block your toilet drain.
They Require Tougher Tools
Chemical drain cleaners are a homeowner's go-to tool for tackling stubborn clogs. But a clog caused by flushable wipes usually requires a more direct approach towards clog-busting. Professional plumbers use commercial-grade drain snakes to tear through most clogs, including those caused by flushable wipes.
For particularly stubborn clogs that a drain snake can't punch through, plumbers often resort to hydro jetting, a process that involves using high-pressure water jets to rip apart clog-causing solids.
For more information about plumbing, contact a local residential plumbing service.