Can You Flush Wipes Down the Toilet? (And How to Dispose of Them)

men-throwing-paper-towel-toilet

The use of wipes has grown increasingly in recent times. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, its alternatives become scarce, giving more momentum to its use. However, various questions exist concerning its usage.

One important question that exists is the possibility of flushing it down your toilet. While before it was clear that you shouldn’t flush your wipes down the toilet, it has become more confusing. This is thanks to the emergence of what producers now tag flushable wipes.

However, the question remains, can you flush wipes down your toilet? We understand the importance of this question, more so the negative effect of getting this wrong. 

As such, in this article, we’ll address this important question. Even more, we’ll address other important issues, including the right way to dispose of wipes. So, if you’re ready, let’s get right to it.

Are Toilet Wipes Flushable?

Today, there are various wipes products out there. However, one question remains at the top of your mind – are toilet wipes flushable? 

We’ve got to say, no matter what stays on the packaging, don’t believe it. The fact is that regardless of the product, you can’t flush toilet wipes. Believe us; you don’t want to try it. You’ll be on a route to a lot of issues, including spending money on repairs. (Don’t worry, we’ll tell you all about it.)

You might be wondering why is flushing bad news. Well, it’s actually quite simple. The fact is that wipes don’t disintegrate. Neither do they degrade when you flush them.

Typically, when you flush things down the toilet, they eventually break down. This is thanks to their nature and the effect of water on these substances. For instance, when you flush toilet papers, they dissolve in the water. And within a few hours at that.

However, with wipes, this isn’t the case. When you flush toilet wipes, they don’t dissolve. Rather, they stay there and retain their structural integrity. In turn, they can remain there for weeks and even months without disintegration.

Now, when you keep flushing down these wipes, what do you think occurs? It’s simple; these wipes accumulate. And when this continues for months, it only means one thing. They clog up your drain and cause loads of problems for you.

So, it’s clear; you don’t need to consider flushing your wipes down your toilet. It’s simply bad news, and you want to do everything to avoid this. Your best bet would be to dispose of it properly. (Again, we’ll show you how to do that later.)

READ  Can You Flush Newspaper Down the Toilet? (And What Not To Flush)

What Happens If You Flush Wipes Down the Toilet?

So far, you know that you shouldn’t flush your wipes down your toilet. However, this is only convincing when you know what happens if you do. We bet you won’t want to risk flushing your wipes down the toilet anymore after this. 

So, here’s what happens.

You’ll remember that we mentioned that your wipes don’t break down. Well, that’s only the beginning of the process. When you continually flush down wipes, your experience a stage by stage degeneration of your toilet pipes. Eventually, this leads to plumbing problems for you. 

We know that this can sound quite abstract; we’ll break down for you. 

1. It Results in Fatbergs 

One thing that occurs following constant flushing of wipes is the creation of fatbergs. We bet you’re wondering what this is all about. Well, we’ve got you covered.

Fatbergs occurs where the wipes you flush combine with other items to create something like an iceberg. In most cases, the wipes will combine with grease, fat, and various dirt through the pipes. This fatberg then keeps increasing over time. 

The result is that it keeps eating the available space in your pipes. It can get as long as 10 feet. Even worse, it can weigh over 100 pounds. Now, when it gets to this size, it fully clogs your toilet, making it impossible for other waste to pass through.

2. It Creates a Wall of Wipes 

Another thing that occurs with flushing down wipes is the emergence of a wall of wipes. We’ve got to remind you that you don’t want this. However, what does this involves?

When you flush down wipes, it gets tangled with various materials in your pipes. Now, this issue becomes even more daunting if you have an old sewage system with old pipes. In such a case, it’s more likely that your sewage pipes are brittle and corroded.

With this, it becomes easier for the wipes to accumulate more dirt. And since they do not dissolve, they don’t go anywhere. In time, with more wipes, the wipes begin to form a wall. This wall then clogs the pipe as waste finds its harder than ever to pass.

Now, in case you didn’t know, this is bad news. With clogs, it means you won’t be able to use your toilet anymore. Each time you flush, the fatberg and the wall of pipes will push the waste back up. Even worse, it can result in the flooding of your toilet. 

You can’t even hide it. This is because, in most cases, it will affect your neighbors. They’ll also find it hard to flush and have issues with flooding. Then, the last resort will be to repair the plumbing of your home.

READ  Can You Flush Alcohol Down the Toilet? (And What to do with Unused Alcohol)

In case you didn’t know, this can cost thousands of dollars. We bet you don’t want that. Well, that’s more reason why you don’t want to joke about flushing wipes down your toilet. It’s all bad news from there.

3. It Can Cause Sewer System Damage 

Another thing that can occur is getting your sewer system damaged. Now, while you might avoid a blockage of your pipe – we honestly doubt that – that doesn’t mean all is well. Flushing your pipes down the toilet can still cause damage when it reaches your sewer system or that of your city.

It’s the same problem as before. However, in this case, it results in a blockage of your septic tank. In turn, you experience quite a problematic experience.

For instance, the waste could get backed up and reach your home. When this occurs, what you experience is a mess in your bathtub, drains, and sinks. You can even get this across other openings directly linked to your home’s septic system.

As it was in the case above, you’ll spend thousands of dollars on clean up. You’ll even have to spend more than that repairing the plumbing system of your home. We bet you don’t want this. So, your best bet is to avoid flushing wipes.

How Do You Dispose of Wipes the Right Way?

Now that you know you shouldn’t flush your wipes, you’re wondering what next. After all, it would be best if you disposed of the wipes. Well, we’ve also got that covered. Let’s get right to the right way to dispose of wipes.

The most effective way to dispose of your wipes is to place them in the trash can. Like we already stated, they don’t disintegrate. As such, to flush them would be a bad idea. Also, you can hardly compost them, so that’s a no-go area. 

So, what you need to do is get them to your garbage can. You might want to wrap them in a bag before placing them in the can. This way, you can avoid contaminating other materials in your trash can. This is even more important if you have used your wipes.

How to Unclog a Toilet Clogged with Flushable Wipes?

While you now know that flushing down wipes is a bad idea, the information might have arrived just a little too late. As such, you already have your toilet clogged. So, you’re wondering what’s left for you to do.

Well, we’ve also got you covered. Here’s some help on how to unclog your toilet that’s clogged with flushable wipes.

1. Use a Plunger

Your first option is to use a plunger to unclog your toilet. This option is usually effective and should deliver the desired result. However, note that what you’ll need a flanged plunger. This is because it creates a tight seat that provides adequate pressure to dislodge the clog.

READ  Can You Flush Fingernails? (And Can They Clog the Toilet?)

To use this method, here’s what you need to know.

  • Clear the area of any object that can interfere with the unclogging. You might want to get protective wear in cases of splashes 
  • Get a towel and use it to cover your toilet base
  • Allow the toilet bowl 20-30 minutes settling time
  • Place the plunger inside and ensure that the plunger is covered with water 
  • Now, fold the plunger’s skirt from inside
  • Pump the bowl vigorously about six times. Then, repeat this cycle for around ten to fifteen times
  • The toilet should unclog, and you can flush to confirm

2. Use a Closet Auger

Another option is to use a closet auger to unclog your toilet. Typically, this auger is a semi-rigid cable that has a tube covering. It’s bent and allows you to snag clogs without damaging your toilet. 

To use this method, here’s what you need to know.

  • Place the closet auger’s end into your toilet bowl’s bottom opening. Ensure that the auger’s tip remains fully withdrawn
  • Now, rotate your closet auger clockwise through the handle. Ensure you regularly push the rod down. Work it back and forth.
  • Keep doing this until you feel resistance. Once you do this, you’ve reached the clog.
  • Now, rotate your auger counter-clockwise and withdraw the cable. Typically, the clog should follow suit.
  • You can then remove the auger once you withdraw the clog.

3. Call a Professional

As you can expect, your last option is to call a professional. So, if you have tried all the options above and nothing seems to work out, this is the solution. You need to contact the closest plumber for help.

Yes, you’ll have to pay for professional services. However, it’s largely effective. They have adequate equipment and experience to ensure that they deliver. Even more, they can perform a more extensive repair of your plumbing systems and pipes. In fact, we recommend you go straight to them if you suspect a considerable blockage. 

Conclusion

You’ll find some tags claiming that wipes are flushable. We’re glad to break the news to you. Do not flush wipes down your toilet. You’ll only be doing yourself more harm than good. Not only are you exposing yourself to plumbing damage, but you also risk spending considerable money on repairs. In some cases, this can go over thousands of dollars. So, you see, you don’t want to risk it.

As such, we’ve shown you the proper way to dispose of your wipes. We’ve also shown you how to unclog your toilet if it’s clogged. So, read up and keep your plumbing system in perfect condition. 

References:

https://www.today.com/series/one-small-thing/are-flushable-wipes-really-flushable-t151945

https://www.mrrooter.com/about/blog/2019/october/how-to-dissolve-baby-wipes-in-the-toilet/

https://www.unblocktober.org/blog/how-dispose-wet-wipes-comprehensive-guide

https://fastplumbers.net.au/fix-clogged-toilet/

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things in her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.