truth flushable wipes toilet

The Truth About “Flushable” Wipes and Your Toilet

In recent months, given the major health outbreak sweeping the globe, the topic of sanitary wipes has been front-of-mind for many people. There are many such wipes on the market, and one category includes “flushable” wipes meant for use in bathroom and related sanitation areas.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, our plumbing repair experts are here to inform you of one reality here: Many of the wipes that are labeled “flushable” on their packaging are actually not, and this misleading information can lead to significant blockages and issues that require drain cleaning solutions down the line. Here are some basic facts to be aware of within this realm, including the risks of such wipes and the approach you should be taking to flushing them down your toilet.

Breakdown Times

You may be wondering how companies can market these products as flushable or septic-safe when reality shows they are not, and the answer is found in breakdown times. Technically speaking, it’s true that these wipe types are meant to break down within the system, which ostensibly should mean there’s no clogging risk associated with them.

The problem, though, is that this breakdown for these wipes is nowhere near as rapid as toilet paper, which breaks down extremely quickly. This means that clogged pipes and blockages are much more common, even in the products that assure you they break down over time.

“Ragging” Issues

And because these products don’t break down as quickly as they need to, they’ll flow into your drain system and often become caught up with other items already present in the sewer line. Items like paper towels, cotton balls, dental floss, thicker toilet paper, sanitary pads and many others may also be flushed at times (this shouldn’t be done either), and these will combine with wet wipes.

This leads to an effect known as “ragging.” In many cases, ragging becomes so severe that a professional plumber with drain cleaning expertise is required to remedy the issue.

Proper Approach

While we hate to be the bearers of bad news, particularly in a way that may interrupt convenience elements in your bathroom, the simple reality is this: The only item outside bodily waste that can be safely flushed down the toilet is toilet paper. Any other items, whether we’re talking about these flushable wipes or some of those we listed above, should be disposed of through other methods if you want to avoid the much higher risk of drain clogs and resulting drain cleaning requirements you’ll be faced with.

For more on the truth about flushable wipes and the proper use methods you should stick to with them, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.