Listen, we get it: when you have newly potty-trained kiddos (or just kiddos in general, let's be honest), wet wipes can become your best friend. Learning to wipe properly takes time! And those wet wipes are just so convenient. We all know by now that regular baby and wet wipes should go in the trash and not the toilet. But there are also several flushable wet wipes on the market, and a lot of parents use them in the bathroom. As convenient as they are, though, they can cause some pretty big problems in your pipes. Turns out, even if those flushable wet wipes are technically flushable, they don't disintegrate the same way toilet paper does. And that can add up to costly repairs down the road. If you've been flushing those flushable wet wipes down the toilet, you're going to want to read this.
Then we sent divers 80-90 feet deep into the wet well/raw sewage to search in complete darkness with their hands to find and identify the obstruction. As we expected, they came up with these large masses of wipes in their first two loads, with more to come. pic.twitter.com/XcmZXf9ECF— Charleston Water (@ChasWaterSystem) October 15, 2018
The problem according to Rex Kinney, master plumber with Jersey Plumbing Service in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, is that although the wipes flush easily (meaning they'll go down without an issue), they can start to cause problems as they travel through the plumbing pipes and septic system.
Once they hit the 45-degree angle in the pipe leading out to the street, they catch and start to congregate. So each flushable blend that heads down that pipe gets caught in that area, and pretty soon you've got a complete blockage and an emergency plumbing situation on your hands.
Just because you CAN flush it doesn’t mean you SHOULD flush it. Here is toilet paper and a wipe from over a year ago. The wipe is still whole after a year! Even wipes labeled as “flushable” can lead to toilet and pipe blockages. Read more 👉https://t.co/CLd0TMVPXq #WipesClogPipes pic.twitter.com/s08tYlUsbZ— Sanitation Districts of LA County (@SanDistricts) April 11, 2019
Flushable wipes can even cause problems with wastewater equipment. Kinney says they can grab the impellers inside of the pump, causing the pump to burn out. They've become such a problem that wastewater treatment officials around the country have asked the public not to flush them down toilets anymore. However, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, or INDA, is hitting back. They say that flushable wipes that pass a 7-part test on flushability are not the problem, and don't pose a risk to sewer and septic systems.
Either way, it's probably a good idea to stop flushing those flushable wipes. We know they make it easier when you have kiddos, but drop it in the waste basket rather than the toilet, just to be on the safe side.