So-called flushable wipes have suddenly become a very popular product. At first, wipes were associated with baby care and household cleaning and disposed of in the trash. Now wipes have emerged as an alternative to toilet paper. Every wipe company now claims that its product is “flushable.”
But what exactly does that mean?
Are flushable wipes really safe to flush?
Businesses can’t just outright lie and make false claims about their products. This would get them in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. The way they get around this is by using slippery language, like “flushable.”
The bottom line is that just because you can flush something doesn’t mean you should. Hopefully, you don’t go around flushing anything that will go down the toilet and into the pipes. From household cleaners to cotton balls to kitty litter to coins to dental floss to paper towels, there are plenty of things that can be flushed—but, as you might expect, these can cause damage to your pipes as well as clogs and other hazards.
Toilet paper is biodegradable and breaks down easily. Disposable wipes, on the other hand, are made of materials like polyester, cotton and bulkier wood pulp. These materials are used so that the wipes stay more intact when wet; however, these fibers are rarely biodegradable. This causes major issues for municipal sewer systems, which have been well documented. When combined with other items that have been flushed but don’t break down (like those listed above), wipes can cause serious issues for sanitation systems.
Are flushable wipes safe for septic systems?
Septic systems are designed only to break down toilet paper and human waste. This is done via a delicate balance of microbes. If you flush anything else, it’s going to cause problems. The consistent use of wipes will quickly lead to septic issues because the tank won’t be able to break down the fibers. Just because they’re marked as septic safe doesn’t make it so. By using flushable wipes, you put the septic system’s function at risk and will likely require expensive repairs.
Should I stop using flushable wipes?
In general, toilet paper is the best way to go. Sure, wipes are more comfortable and better at getting the job done, but you’re introducing an item that isn’t meant to go down the toilet. Environmental and regulatory agencies have found numerous cases of wipes being the culprit in sewer failures. In fact, many of these “flushable” wipe companies are now facing litigation over this issue.
It is possible that flushable wipes wouldn’t be a problem for municipal sewer systems if introduced in ideal conditions—but conditions are rarely ideal, and many items get flushed that shouldn’t, hence the problem.
When you need help with your septic system, contact the experts at Alvarado Pumping Septic Service. We offer installation, maintenance and repair services to residential and commercial customers. You can rest assured that we’ll get the job done right the first time, every time. We’re proud to be a family-owned and -operated company that delivers results for all our customers. Give us a call right now to find out more.