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Let’s Talk about Why Flushable Wipes are not Flushable

by Nevie Sessoms, Owner One Stop Plumbing

Flushable wipes are not flushable, no matter what they say in the advertisements! We know, that’s pretty devastating to hear. After all, wipes are great for changing babies on the go or cleaning up small messes. They are easy and convenient. But unfortunately, not even “flushable” wipes should go anywhere near the toilet.

“Why not?” you might be wondering.

They say they can be flushed down the toilet, right? Well, you can flush wipes, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually get through your pipes. Instead, they’ll likely get jammed wherever the pipe curves. After a while, you might notice that your toilet isn’t draining. And if you’re super unlucky, you could end up with toilet backflow. Even the convenience of a “flushable” wipe isn’t worth that. This applies even if the wipes claim to be septic safe — trust us, they’re not.

A red circle and slash with the word wipes over top a toilet showing that Flushable Wipes should not be flushed

Your Pipes and Sewer Line are not made for Flushable Wipes

Here’s the deal: Sewer systems are usually only equipped to handle toilet paper and human waste. Everything else — and that includes “flushable” wipes — is not biodegradable enough. Flushing wipes down the toilet can cause clogs, and even lead to “fatbergs,” or huge masses of solid waste. Whereas toilet paper is dry and designed to break down when wet, wipes are the opposite. They are sold wet and are even stronger than paper towels, so they don’t disperse when flushed. Wipes are often made of synthetic materials like polyester, plastic, or fibers made from wood pulp.

They can cause Damage

Consumer Reports found that some “flushable” wipes didn’t even fall apart after testers ran the wipes through a mixer. Meanwhile, others only degraded after soaking in water overnight. So if you do flush “flushable” wipes, you might see some serious damage to your toilet, pipes, and sewer line. These wipes can even cause damage to wastewater equipment. We know what you’re thinking — how can that be? Because they don’t break down, wipes can get caught on pump impellers and burn them out. That’s why it’s always a good idea to put wipes in the trash, instead of flushing them.

What can you do?

There are a couple of things you can do to help prevent your household from flushing wipes down the toilet. First, keep a garbage can in the bathroom, so you remember to throw wipes away. Second, remind your kids that wipes should always go in the trash. This way, everyone in your family will be on alert, and you’ll have a trash can handy in case you need it.

Hands holding a wipe that should not be flushed

It happened! Someone flushed the wipes!

But what if, despite all your best efforts, someone in your house still flushed wipes down the drain? In that scenario, any DIY solution that comes to mind is likely to do more harm than good. No amount of drain cleaner will unclog a mass of wipes. Plus, corrosive chemicals and cleaners can cause even more damage to your pipes. Instead, your best bet is to call a plumber.

Believe us when we say that Flushable Wipes are not Flushable

Here at One Stop Plumbing, we know how stressful an unexpected clog can be. We also understand how misleading “flushable” wipes can be, and we want to help you out. Our licensed plumbers can perform advanced pipe inspections using a Camera Snake. If we see a severe clog, we offer Hydro Jetting services to clear out your pipes. We use a pressure unit to pressurize water and direct it into your pipes. This technique can clear out even the most stubborn clogs. If you flushed any wipes, even by mistake, no need to worry — we’ll get them out of there.

Pipe and Sewer Line Maintenance

Regular maintenance and upkeep of your plumbing will help you avoid most problems. Besides throwing wipes in the trash, it’s also a good idea to watch what you put down your garbage disposal. You should also clear out any clogs before they become too serious. When things get stuck in any of your pipes, they can affect drainage throughout your home. Preventive maintenance can help you steer clear of future plumbing crises. But as we know, sometimes problems can still happen.

When they do, call us right away. (757) 321-8874 We’re a local business, and we are plumbing repair specialists.

One Stop Plumbing

We are fully licensed, bonded, and insured, and provide repair, maintenance, and replacement services. Our skilled technicians are polite and professional. With very competitive rates and a discount program, we also offer FREE estimates. We service the Hampton Roads Virginia cities of Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Newport News.

Drip, Drip, Drop … Call One Stop! (757) 321-8874

When a plumbing problem does happen because you’ve flushed a wipe, we are one phone call away. Since 2015, we’ve been serving Hampton Roads residents, businesses, and property managers. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded. Our owner Nevie Sessoms is a Master Plumber licensed by the Virginia Department of Professional Occupation and Regulation (DPOR) and a Master Gas Fitter.

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