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Are Flushable Wipes Flushable: Can You Flush Flushable Wipes

Toilets are the most important piece of sanitary hardware. They provide a hygienic and convenient way to dispose of our bodily waste. However, many overlook the importance of proper toilet waste disposal, leading to plumbing problems.

One common issue is when toilet drain pipes get clogged because toilet paper, wet wipes or feminine hygiene products are thrown into the toilet. That's why some people prefer using the so-called "flushable" wipes because they can simply flush it down the toilet and not worry about clogging issues.

But the main question remains, "Are flushable wipes really flushable?" 

What Are Flushable Wet Wipes?

Flushable wet wipes or flushable toilet wipes are a type of moist towelette designed for personal hygiene purposes. Unlike regular wet wipes, they are marketed as safe to flush down the toilet after use, hence the term "flushable." These wipes are typically made from materials like polyethylene and cotton microfibers.

Do Flushable Wipes Clog Toilets?

Despite the name, "flushable" wipes aren't as flushable as advertised. Regardless of their materials, flushed wipes don't readily disperse and can remain intact, causing issues in your plumbing and septic systems.

Ryerson University in Canada conducted a study to determine if products labeled as "flushable" can really be flushed. They gathered 101 single-use products, including 23 wipes that were marketed as flushable. They performed a series of tests designed to simulate the conditions in sewer systems and septic tanks. The objective was to answer the question, "Do flushable wipes break down?" This helps determine whether the products would disintegrate or break apart enough to pass safely through these systems.

Unfortunately, not one passed the tests. This finding shows the need for more rigorous standards and testing methods before manufacturers can market their products as flushable. This would help prevent potential plumbing and sewer system issues caused by items that do not degrade as expected.

What Are the Items Safe and Unsafe to Flush?

Generally, the only items safe to flush down the toilet are the three P's:

  • Pee

  • Poop

  • Paper (regular toilet paper)

On the other hand, the following products should not be flushed:

  • Flushable/disposable wipes

  • Disinfectant wipes

  • Baby wipes

  • Paper towels

  • Facial tissues

  • Napkins (both paper and cloth)

  • Toilet bowl scrub pads

  • Swiffers

  • Dental floss

  • Q-tips

  • Cotton balls and pads

  • Makeup sponges

  • Food items such as rice

Ways to Prevent the Plumbing System From Clogging

Clogged drain pipes are a common household problem that can be inconvenient and costly. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to prevent this issue from occurring.

These include:

  • Clean Drain Stoppers Regularly. Drain stoppers, particularly in bathrooms, can collect hair, soap scum and other debris that can slow down drainage. Regular cleaning ensures these elements don't accumulate and cause blockages.

  • Use Filters and Screens. Installing filters or screens over your drains can help catch larger debris that would otherwise clog pipes. This is particularly useful in kitchen sinks where food waste is common.

  • Avoid Flushing Food Scraps Down the Sink. Food scraps, especially those high in starch like rice or pasta, can expand in pipes and cause blockages. It's best to compost or trash these items.

  • Pour Boiling Water Down Drains Regularly. Boiling water can help break down soap scum and grease buildup in your pipes. Doing this once a week can help maintain clear pipes.

  • Use a Plunger or a Drain Snake for Stubborn Clogs. Mechanical methods like using a plunger or a drain snake can be effective for more stubborn clogs. These tools physically break up the clog and restore normal water flow.

  • Use Baking Soda and Vinegar or Enzyme-Based Cleaners Monthly. These natural solutions can help dissolve buildup in your pipes without the harsh chemicals in some commercial products. Pouring a half cup of baking soda followed by a half cup of vinegar and then covering the drain can help clear minor clogs.

  • Avoid Pouring Grease or Oil Down Your Drain. Grease and oil can solidify in your pipes, leading to serious blockages. Instead of pouring it down the drain, collect it in a jar or container and dispose of it in the trash.

  • Schedule Professional Drain Cleaning. If you're dealing with frequent clogs or slow drains, it may be time to call a professional. A professional drain cleaning service can remove built-up debris and waste from your pipes, preventing future clogs. 

Methods on How to Unclog Your Toilet

Clogged pipes are a common household problem that can cause inconvenience and frustration. This occurs when something gets stuck in the toilet drain, causing water to overflow or not flush properly.

Here are some ways to fix clogged toilets:

1. Plunger Method

The plunger method is the most widely used and effective way of fixing a clogged toilet. It works by creating suction, which dislodges the blockage in the drain. To use this method, follow these steps:

  • Ensure there's enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the rubber part of the plunger.

  • Place the plunger over the drain hole and push it down gently.

  • Pull up on the plunger to create suction, then push down again.

  • Continue this motion until you see that the water starts to drain.

2. Using a Toilet Auger

If a plunger doesn't work, you can unclog the toilet with a toilet auger. This tool has a long flexible cable that can reach deeper into the pipes to break up and remove the blockage.

You can use the toilet auger by following these steps:

  • Insert the cable end of the auger into the drain.

  • Turn the handle on top of the tool clockwise to extend the cable.

  • Once you feel the auger has reached the blockage, turn the handle counterclockwise to break up the clog.

  • Keep turning and pushing until you feel that the blockage is cleared.

3. Hot Water and Dish Soap

If you don't have a plunger or toilet auger, you can try using hot water and dish soap to clear the clog. This method works well for toilet paper or organic matter blockages.

Follow these steps:

  • Pour a few cups of hot water into the toilet bowl.

  • Let it sit for a few minutes to soften and break up the clog.

  • Add a few squirts of dish soap into the bowl.

  • Use a plunger to push down and pull up on the water to create suction.

  • If needed, repeat this process until the clog is cleared.

4. Baking Soda and Vinegar

The baking soda and vinegar method is a simple, non-toxic, and cost-effective way to unclog a toilet. This method utilizes the chemical reaction between baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) to create carbon dioxide gas. This fizzing action can help to break up the clog in the toilet.

Here's how to use this solution:

  • Evaluate the Clog. First, you need to evaluate how bad the clog is. If the water level is high, you might need to remove some of it.

  • Add Baking Soda. Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl.

  • Add Vinegar. Slowly pour an equal amount of vinegar into the bowl. It's important to pour slowly to avoid making a mess on your bathroom floor.

  • Wait. Let the mixture sit and fizz in the bowl for about 20 minutes. The fizzing action is the baking soda and vinegar react, which helps to break up the clog.

  • Add Hot Water. After waiting, add hot water to the bowl. This can help further break down the material causing the clog.

  • Flush. After adding the hot water, try flushing the toilet to see if the clog has been cleared.

  • Repeat as Needed. If the clog persists, repeat the process as needed. 

Remember, if the clog still doesn't clear after multiple attempts, it might be time to call a professional plumber to avoid causing further damage to your plumbing system.

The Plumber is Here: Your Experienced and Reliable Go-to Plumbers in West Michigan

Now that you know "flushable" wet wipes are not really flushable, you should immediately practice throwing your used wet wipes in trash bins. If you're currently experiencing a clogged plumbing system, consider hiring an expert plumbing agency. They're the go-to people when it comes to fixing your clogged toilets and other plumbing issues.

Luckily, The Plumber is Here is one reputable plumbing company that has been serving homeowners and business owners in the West Michigan area for 38 years. Our licensed plumbers are also insured and bonded to ensure you receive only the best quality services. We are available 24/7 for emergency plumbing services because we understand that plumbing problems can occur at any time of the day.

If you want to discuss more if you can flush flushable wipes, contact us today. We'll also offer free estimates and expert advice to help you take care of your plumbing system better.

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