PSA: Don’t Flush Wet Wipes

Baby wipes, ‘flushable’ wet wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and other paper products should not be placed in the toilet.

Down the drain

When you flush a toilet, everything in the bowl (wastewater) heads out of the house on a grand journey through a system of pumps, with the hopes of reaching the wastewater treatment plant. Through the course of this journey, your home’s wastewater pipes connect with those of other homes, which then drop into the main wastewater lines running through your neighborhood. Many of these pipes connect and bend at right angles.

Generally, organic material and toilet paper break down in water very quickly. This means if something gets “caught” in a p trap or pipe or existing obstruction, the toilet paper or waste quickly breaks down as water continues to pass through.

However, unlike toilet paper which is designed to quickly break down in water, other types of paper products such as paper towels or baby wipes are designed with durability in mind, meaning they hold up much better against water. While they can eventually break down, it takes much longer, meaning when they get caught, they have the potential to slow or block the flow of wastewater. When this happens, backups can occur which can result in sewage entering your home.

What about wet wipes, they’re plumber approved?!

Wet wipes may break down better than paper towels for example, however this process still takes much longer than toilet paper. If there is an existing obstruction within the sewage system these wipes can get caught on it and lead to further blockage and clogs. Wipes can also combine with other material (fats, grease, etc) and form large blockades even in the absence of an existing obstruction.

When in doubt…

Throw it in the trash!