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Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable?


With so many different types of wipes available in stores and online, it can be tough to know which ones are safe to flush. Some are marketed as “flushable,” “biodegradable,” or “septic safe.” Others are specifically labeled as non-flushable. So, which can you flush?

As experienced plumbers, our advice is this: don’t flush anything other than toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. Even so-called flushable or biodegradable wipes can cause serious blockages. The best way to avoid clogs and expensive plumbing problems is to dispose of wipes in the trash.

Fatbergs & Flushable Wipes

Some of the most disgusting things found in sewers across the planet are “fatbergs.” These immense masses of solid waste in sewage systems are made primarily of congealed fat and personal hygiene products, like wet wipes. One fatberg found in the sewers of London weighed in at a whopping 15 tons and was about the size of a bus! They’ve been found across the United States as well, including a fatberg that was removed from the Metro Detroit sewer that was 100 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 6 feet tall. Metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles are at a high risk of fatbergs caused by fat, grease, wipes, and other products being dumped down sinks and flushed down toilets.

Wipe manufacturers say the fault lies with those who flush non-flushable products like makeup-removing wipes, baby wipes, and disinfecting wipes down the toilet. However, our experience as plumbers leads us to believe that no wipe should be flushed. In fact, the safest bet is to only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. All wipes and even feminine products like tampons should also be disposed of in the trash.

How Flushable Wipes Might Affect Your Home Plumbing System

Flushing wipes can cause problems on a lesser scale as well. Although a wipe may flush easily down your toilet, it might run into problems if it meets a 45-degree angle down the line or encounters a small clog. Wipes can also become entangled in wastewater equipment.

If you regularly flush wipes down the toilet, it’s important to watch for signs of a potential problem:

  • A gurgling sound when you flush the toilet
  • Low water pressure throughout your house
  • Slow-running drains
  • Foul odors coming from your drains
  • Sewage or water coming up from the drains

If you notice something out of the ordinary, calling in a professional Durham plumber will most likely be your safest choice. Some minor clogs can be resolved with a plunger or drain cleaner, but overuse of drain cleaners can cause other problems like pipe corrosion, and a plunger may only be a temporary fix. A trained plumber can identify the root of the issue and handle it before it becomes more serious.

Contact Our Durham Plumbers Today!

There is no regulatory authority that can certify a wipe as “flushable.” This means that some companies may market wipes as flushable when they can cause serious clogs in your home and in public sewer systems. If you’re dealing with any type of clog or sewer problem, your best option is to call in a professional. At JD Service Now, we have over 100 years of combined experience and are committed to helping customers throughout Durham and the surrounding communities with all of their plumbing, sewer, heating, and air conditioning needs.

Call 919-383-7000 today for help from our experienced plumbers! We can handle anything from leak detection to fixing a clog, all the way to repiping your home.

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