Unravel the truth behind ‘flushable’ wipes in this comprehensive guide as we debunk common misconceptions, highlight proper disposal methods, and explore eco-friendly alternatives.
In recent years, ‘flushable’ wipes have entered the market, promising convenience and cleanliness with the ease of being disposable in your toilet. They’re used for everything from personal hygiene to quick household cleaning, offering an attractive alternative to traditional toilet paper or standard wet wipes.
However, there are several misconceptions surrounding these so-called flushable wipes. Many consumers believe that because these wipes are labelled ‘flushable’, they disintegrate just like toilet paper when flushed. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
Understanding Flushable Wipes
Flushable wipes are a specific category of wet wipes that manufacturers design with the intent to be safely flushed down the toilet. They are made from materials that are supposed to be more biodegradable than regular wipes and break down faster in water.
Unlike regular wet wipes, paper towels, or facial tissues, flushable wipes are marketed as safe to dispose of in the toilet. Regular wet wipes and other such items are typically made from plastic fibres that can take hundreds of years to decompose. In contrast, flushable wipes are purported to be made of biodegradable fibres designed to disintegrate quickly in water.
The intention behind the design of flushable wipes is to provide an alternative to toilet paper that offers the cleaning power and convenience of a wet wipe, without contributing to the problems caused by non-flushable items in the sewage system. They are intended for personal hygiene, make-up removal, quick clean-ups, and even baby care.
The Truth about Flushable Wipes
Even though they’re labelled as flushable, these wipes should not be flushed. Their name is misleading; the truth is that they do not break down as quickly or as completely as manufacturers often claim. They remain intact long enough to cause blockages in household plumbing, municipal sewer systems, and septic tanks.
Flushable wipes can cause significant problems because they don’t disintegrate the same way toilet paper does. They can bunch together and cause blockages in pipes, leading to sewer backups and overflows. In addition, they can also accumulate in wastewater treatment plants, causing significant operational challenges and potential environmental harm.
When flushable wipes lead to blockages in pipes or sewer systems, the cost of repairs can be quite high. This is an unnecessary expense that can be easily avoided by disposing of wipes correctly.Proper Disposal of
Flushable Wipes and Other Similar Products
It’s vital to understand that all types of wet wipes belong in the bin. Even if they’re labelled as flushable, the risk they pose to plumbing and sewer systems is too significant to ignore.
Similar to flushable wipes, items such as cotton pads, paper towels, facial tissues, and sanitary products also contribute to blockages. Despite seeming harmless, they don’t break down quickly enough in water to be safely flushed. The toilet is not a bin, and it’s important to remember that these items should be disposed of in the waste bin.
As a rule of thumb, the only things that should be flushed down the toilet are the three Ps: pee, poo, and (toilet) paper. Anything else, including flushable wipes, should be disposed of in a rubbish bin. Proper disposal helps protect your home’s plumbing, your local sewage system, and the environment.
Environmentally Friendly Alternatives to Flushable Wipes
Instead of relying on disposable products like flushable wipes, consider transitioning to reusable cotton cloths. These cloths offer the same convenience for cleaning and can be simply washed and reused. They’re more sustainable and create significantly less waste.
Reusable cotton cloths not only reduce the environmental burden of waste but can also be more cost-effective in the long run. With proper care, they can last for years, helping you save money that would otherwise be spent on disposable products.
Real-Life Case Study: When Flushable Wipes Flooded a House
One incident that we attended stands out as a stark example of the hazards posed by flushable wipes. A call for a blocked drain turned out to be much more than a simple clog. Flushable wipes had caused a severe blockage and the subsequent flooding of an entire house.
The wipes had congregated in the pipes, creating an obstruction so significant that the house’s drainage system had become completely blocked. The situation was far from a standard blockage; the wipe-induced obstruction had resulted in a disastrous back-up of wastewater.
In this instance, the blockage was so severe that it even affected the overflow relief gully – a safety feature designed to prevent precisely such a disaster. Normally, the overflow relief gully ensures that if a blockage occurs, the sewage overflows outside the house rather than backing up into it. However, the mass of flushable wipes had blocked this safety device, leading to a distressing flood of sewage inside the house.
The resulting damage was extensive, and the clean-up and repair process was time-consuming and costly. Not only did the plumbing need professional intervention, but the household also required substantial cleaning and restoration due to the flood. This incident was a powerful reminder of the deceptive risks posed by flushable wipes.
Watch this real-life footage to witness the aftermath of flushing ‘flushable’ wipes. This is the harsh reality that many homeowners face – a blocked overflow relief gully, a flood of wastewater, and the culprit: wet wipes tangled in our high-pressure sewer jetting hose. This serves as a stark reminder of the vital importance of disposing of these wipes properly, and the potential consequences of not doing so.
Parting Thoughts: A Call to Conscious Disposal and Sustainable Choices
Flushable wipes, despite their name, are not safe to flush down the toilet. They cause significant plumbing issues and environmental harm. It’s best to dispose of all wipes in the bin, and better still to opt for more sustainable alternatives such as reusable cotton cloths.
If you currently use flushable wipes, it’s advisable to rethink their disposal. Remember, the three Ps: pee, poo, and (toilet) paper are the only things that should be flushed. Everything else should go in the bin.
Switching to environmentally friendly alternatives like reusable cotton cloths can help reduce waste, protect our plumbing and sewage systems, and save money in the long run.
Your Next Step: Spread the Word
If you found this information helpful, please share this post with friends, family, and social networks. The more people understand about the issues with flushable wipes, the better we can all work together to protect our plumbing, sewer systems, and environment.
Our experienced plumbers are experts at clearing blocked drains using our specalist drain cleaning equipment, once the drain is cleared with a Sewer Jetting machine, we will conduct a CCTV Drain Camera Inspection so that we can be sure that the issue has been resolved.
If you’re experiencing any plumbing issues due to flushable wipes, or you simply require more advice on how to maintain a problem-free plumbing system, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re always ready to help. You can reach us directly at 08) 9315 5545 or drop us an email at [email protected].. Let’s work together to keep our plumbing systems flowing smoothly and our environment clean. Your next step to hassle-free plumbing is just a phone call away!