There seems to be a bit of a controversy regarding the flushable abilities of all of these incredible wet wipes that are making our world a bajillion times easier and faster. The controversy is this. Are any of these wipes actually FLUSHABLE? Let’s start with the conclusion, and then we can back track a bit. Wipes do not belong in the toilet. No matter what the label of your wet wipe says, it should not be flushed.
Wet wipes have taken on a life of their own; there are ones for babies, for your face, for below the waist, for wiping your counters, computers, dashboard and pet paws. Basically there are wet wipes for everything. They are handy and easy to use. Some same flushable, some don’t. Why does it matter whether that dirty wipe hits that water in your toilet, and gets flushed down the drain?
London has come up for a nickname for these sewer-clogging monsters: “FatBergs”. Things that go down then toilet break up pretty quickly; toilet paper breaks down in around eight seconds. However, these supposed “flushable wipes”, do not break down. Even after thirty minutes of agitation, wet wipes do not disintegrate, which is not so great for sewers and septic systems around the world. They entangle and clog, becoming both a financial and time-consuming nightmare for waste treatment facilities. Homeowners report toilet clogs, increased utility rates, septic backups in bathrooms, showers, and basements. Flushed wipes have greatly increased damage to waste treatment facilities, breaking pumps and clogging sewer lines. Why is London calling them “Fatbergs”? The flushed wipes collect fats and other solids in sewage and create huge solid masses that then cause major issues. London has had to deal with many of these “fatbergs, one of which reached a jaw-dropping 15 tons! Grossed out? Check out the pics below.
Wet wipes, are made of similar materials as good ol’ toilet paper. But similar does not mean the same! TP is made from natural or recycled cellulose fibers. These break down in roughly eight seconds. Wet wipes are made from woven cellulosic fibers or synthetic fibers. Wovens are made highly bonded long, entangled fibers that make for a great wipe that holds strong no matter what mess you are cleaning up, but it also means they do not break down quickly.
We were taught at a young age not to put anything in the toilets, or we learned after flushing our parents watch, or depending on your age, their cell phone. Just because these wet wipes say they are flushable, or kind of look like toilet paper, they are not.
Blushing Good, Flushing Bad, please place in bin. Landfill approved. Toilet poo-pooed.
Finally – to add an exclamation point to our post…. here are a few recent sewer clog stories: