Person pulling a wipe from the packaging.

How Flushable Wipes Damage Your Plumbing

As toilet paper shortages have impacted stores across the nation, many people have opted for a toilet paper alternative: flushable wipes. Before making the switch, it's important to understand why these so-called ‘flushable’ wipes are not safe for the plumbing in your home and what to do if you have used these products.

What Items are ‘Flushable’?

A common misconception is that any item that is physically able to fit down the toilet is flushable. Dental floss, feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, and paper towels are known to cause serious blockages because they do not dissolve in water.

The premise that ‘flushable’ wipes dissolve fails to consider the fact that modern plumbing systems do not utilize a constant flow of water. Anything that is not washed away with the initial flush of the toilet will remain in the pipes, and it is here that the ‘flushable’ wipes can dry out and cause an obstruction.

The Myth of ‘Septic-Safe’ or ‘Sewer-System Approved’

The majority of wastewater tests and standards that a wipe must pass are time-elapsed processes designed to determine how long it takes it to dissolve in standing water. Companies use these test results to show how their product reacts in standing water (such as that in a septic or sewer system). A ‘flushable’ will eventually dissolve, but not fast enough for use in residential plumbing applications.

What If I Have Used Flushable Wipes Already?

Blockages and obstructions may have already occurred and will only get worse without treatment. Contact the licensed and insured professionals at EJ Plumbing immediately to schedule a plumbing inspection. Our highly skilled technicians use cameras to pinpoint the problem spots in your plumbing system. We can then implement improvements, such as sewer cleanouts that make future service easier. Proper maintenance will help prevent a minor issue from turning into a major situation! To schedule an appointment, call (650) 513-8852.