Does your family often use flushable wipes? Are you worried they may be damaging your plumbing? These wipes are often a convenient and comfortable alternative to facial tissues and toilet paper. However, they're likely not as safe for your plumbing as you think. While the packaging may say flushable, most brands available aren't suitable for sewer lines and septic systems. Flushing these wipes once in a while may not immediately back up your plumbing. However, these wipes can cause massive damage to your pipes and septic system over time. You may end up paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars in professional repairs. Here's why you should avoid disposing of flushable wipes in your toilet.
Facts About Flushable Wipes
Flushable wipes have recently become very popular because they're comfortable and feel more hygienic than toilet paper. They provide more cleansing power and essentially replace the functions of a bidet. However, even with all their benefits, these wipes present unique dangers to your plumbing. Flushable wipes are often made of cellulose and then reinforced with sturdy fibers like polyester to make them stronger. These wipes hold up better than traditional toilet paper brands. They won't easily shred or fall to pieces when you're trying to use them. Flushable wipes are also often pleasantly scented, and they may be infused with aloe or other soothing agents. When flushable wipes were first released, they were touted as a modern advancement over toilet paper. While these wipes may have many comfort benefits, they're not at all safe for your home's plumbing. They may be as easily flushed as toilet paper, but they can wreak havoc on your pipes and septic tank.
Breaking Down Slowly
Toilets are not meant to handle anything but human waste and toilet paper. Toilet paper often breaks down within a day or so, posing no risk to your plumbing. Flushable wipes are made of much sturdier synthetic materials that don't dissolve quickly. It takes a significantly longer time for these wipes to break down, which can put your home's plumbing at risk. Consistently flushing these wipes can cause clogs that worsen over time. When you call in a professional to deal with a plumbing emergency, there's a high chance they'll find a large portion of wipes still in their original condition.
Damage to the Sewer System
If the flushable wipes make it out of your home without causing any significant issues, they can still disrupt your septic tank. As they move into the tank, they'll affect how waste is being removed from your home. You may even be at risk of wastewater backing up into your drains and sinks. The more pressure in your septic system, the more likely you'll have to deal with a plumbing emergency. Your tank can become clogged, fill up, and spill out into your yard. You may end up spending thousands just to repair your plumbing and clean up your property. There's also the possibility that you'll negatively impact your neighbors' yards or their safety. Flushable wipes can even cause issues at your local sewage treatment plant. Protect your home and your plumbing by never flushing these wipes down your toilet.
The Fatberg Effect
You likely already know never to rinse grease or other fatty liquids down your sink. This same reasoning applies to why you shouldn't flush synthetic wipes. Grease, sanitary products, wipes, and more can accumulate and harden into solid waste in your pipes. These clumps will increase in size over time, putting additional weight and stress on your plumbing system. Clogs or fatbergs can build in size until they are several feet long and have started disrupting more than just your toilets. Minimize your risk of a plumbing emergency by finding other ways to dispose of your flushable wipes.
Higher Risk for Older Homes
Older plumbing systems are often more susceptible to damage and clogs. The pipes may have become brittle, corroded, and weak, with some even developing minor holes and cracks. Flushable wipes can easily get snagged on other items stuck in the pipes, leading to larger issues that cost more to fix. One small clog in your older home's pipes may lead to system-wide issues and damage. To maintain an optimal plumbing system, you should avoid using flushable wipes and thoroughly research any products you flush down the toilet. Toilet paper is often the only safe option for both your plumbing and septic system.
The best way to safely get rid of your disposable wipes is to throw them in the trash. Your family may need wipes for a variety of reasons, and many eco-friendly options can be composted or responsibly thrown away. Having a small trash can in your bathroom will encourage family members to dispose of used wipes by throwing them away in the right place. If you're worried about the sight or smell, invest in a sealed container. Many trash cans with lids can be operated with your foot, minimizing the spread of germs. Biodegradable wipes are another popular option for gardeners and those with composting bins. It's important to note that while biodegradable wipes may also be advertised as flushable, they're likely not safe for your plumbing system either.
Has your household been regularly flushing wipes down your toilet over the past few months or years? Flushable wipes cause significant damage over time, which can make it easy to ignore potential warning signs. Monitor your plumbing system for clogs and any odd noises. A toilet clogged with wipes may make an odd gurgling sound every time it flushes. The clog will likely also be resistant to plunging and chemicals. Depending on how long you've been using synthetic wipes, you may notice your sinks taking longer to drain. You'll also have to deal with odd smells and an increased risk of pests like drain flies. Relying on a local plumbing company for regular maintenance and repairs will minimize the damage done to your plumbing system. They'll be able to provide expert advice on healthy plumbing habits and help to clear away any clogs or fatbergs before they cause massive damage.
Your Local Plumbing Company
Trust the professionals at Beach Plumbing to handle all your plumbing needs and concerns with ease. We've expertly served families in Cypress, CA and the surrounding areas for more than 30 years. Our professional team of licensed and insured plumbers never compromises on quality. We know how important your plumbing is to your family's convenience and comfort. That's why our expert team works incredibly hard to ensure every plumbing issue is permanently fixed the first time you call us. We always provide the best service in town. We believe in treating all of our customers like family by guaranteeing fair prices and the highest quality of work. Count on our team today to clean your drains, inspect your water heater, or check for leaks. We can also repair and replace your sewer lines, install a new gas line, or provide water filtration options. Beach Plumbing is ready to professionally handle any plumbing issue in Cypress. Call us today to schedule your appointment or ask about our specials.