Regular Wipes Are Hazardous to Your Drain System
Why Flushing Regular Wipes Will Clog Your Drains
When it comes to cleaning, disposable wipes have become all the rage. Not only do they give you a thorough cleaning, but they’re also easily disposable. All you have to do is use the wipe and flush it down the toilet. But is it really that easy? It turns out that flushable wipes can end up causing a bigger problem than they’re worth. Not only can they add up in cost, but they can be downright hazardous to your plumbing system.
Disposable wipes, which include baby wipes, makeup remover wipes and moist towelettes. However, adult disposable wipes are the type that most frequently gets flushed down the toilet.
Because of their convenience, the popularity of flushable wipes has skyrocketed over the past few years. Despite the convenience factor, this trend has created toilet repair emergencies in households and businesses all over the country.
Anatomy of Disposable Wipes
In order to understand the problems that disposable wipes can cause to plumbing systems, let’s explore exactly what they’re made of. They’re made from a sturdy material called non-woven cloth. This is the same cloth used to make baby wipes, disposable housecleaning cloths, makeup removal wipes, and also dryer sheets.
The cloth is air-laid paper, meaning a machine uses jets of air to form the fibers into the shape of paper. The cloth, however, is much sturdier than paper, and much sturdier than toilet tissue. Sturdy material that goes down a pipe can easily cause a clog if used in excess, since it doesn’t break down in water the way tissue does. The clog can cause a backup, and eventually the backup will become a major drain cleaning cost.
Wipe Manufacturers Are Partly To Blame
It’s true that some non-woven cloth wipes are safer to flush than others, but wipe manufacturers don’t always make that clear on their packaging. Since flush-ability has such huge marketing appeal, brands are usually fine with letting the public think that their product fits the bill. Any “Do not flush” instructions can be easy to miss, since the print is often tiny and hidden under a flap or lid. Some brands go even further by claiming that their products are flushable when they actually cause plumbing and sewer problems.
The Larger Cost of Disposable Wipes
Not only do disposable wipes caused problems for homeowners, but they’re also problematic for sewer systems at large. The city of New York’s environmental experts have estimated that disposable wipes have caused a whopping $18 million dollars in damaged sewer equipment and pipe clogs in the past five years.
Cities everywhere have felt the strain of this problem, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, London, and Washington D.C. Flushable wipe problems have even lead to lawsuits against the manufacturers, and the New York city council has even sponsored a bill that would require wipe packages to be more clearly labeled.
More recently, the state of Minnesota Pollution Control presented legislature to ban the word “flushable” from wipes packages, and instead replace it with a prominent “Do Not Flush” warning. This came after a lawsuit that the city of Wyoming, Minnesota filed against disposable wipes manufacturers who labeled their product as flushable, despite the fact that their products caused backups and damages at the local water treatment plant.
Make Your Own Flushable Wipes
Seeing as disposable wipes can cause such a big drain cleaning emergency, and considering how the cost of buying them adds up over time, it makes sense to seek a less expensive, less harmful alternative. If tissue isn’t enough for your toilet time needs, consider making some homemade flushable wipes instead.
Not only are these homemade wipes friendlier to plumbing and sewer systems, but they’re much less expensive than their store-bought counterparts. You can make them in three easy steps:
- Take a stack of paper towels and place them in the center of a rectangular Tupperware container.
- In a cup, combine one part baby bath wash and three parts water.
- Pour the mixture over the wipes until they’re saturated.
Snap the lip on, and just like that, you have some costs effective, pipe-friendly wipes to use in the bathroom. It’s important to note that even though paper towels are less sturdy, and therefore less likely to clog pipes, they can still clog your toilet if used in excess. To avoid toilet repair costs, try to limit your use to one or two per visit to the potty.
Disposable wipes are a convenient way to clean yourself up, but just remember that you could be taxing your pipe system as well as contributing to your city’s sewer problems by using them. Try using this disposable wipe alternative to save your pipes, and to save you money in more ways than one.
For toilet repair or drain cleaning services in the San Diego, CA area, call Perry Plumbing Heating & Air at (619) 472-2112 today. As National Contractor of the Year with Contractor Magazine, we take pride in delivering the best services to our customers.