Why Wet Wipes Are Your Toilet’s Worst Nightmare

Apr 15, 2016

Wet Wipe Clogs Can Be Costly

Flushing wipes down thetoilet could end up with you giving a bundle of cash to the plumber when you have to shell out big bucks for toilet repair. You can try to fish the sheets out of the drain yourself with an auger you bought at the hardware store, but more than likely, it’s not going to work.

You’re probably saying, “My wipes can be flushed – they aren’t paper towels! The box says they can be flushed.” but that doesn’t make any difference.

Too many companies out there say their wipes can be flushed but really they can’t, and even if you make them yourself (more than likely, using paper towels, um hmm), once you’ve cleaned your baby’s butt, and you toss it in the toilet, and send it down the drain, the wipe gathers with the other wipes you’ve flushed in a holding pattern to clog your drain.

Even if you call the plumber for toilet repair and he unclogs the drain, most likely he’ll be back in a few weeks (yes, weeks!) because there are so many of those wipes down there.

REASONS FOR USING WET WIPES

• Cleaning up after your pet

• Wiping your baby’s behind

• Removing nail polish from your fingernails

• Wiping your car’s tires

• Disinfecting kitchen or bathroom surfaces

• Dusting your furniture and electronics

• In combination with feminine hygiene products

So, the next time, you use wet wipes for the reasons above, don’t flush them!

Remember, they have to go somewhere, and it would be wise not to flush them down the drain.

Why?

They’re clogging wastewater treatment systems because they’re incompatible with sewage treatment technology.

In other words, the sewer pipes in many cities are too old and too small to handle a bunch of wipes that can almost immediately, clog the sewer system for a whole city.

And, when the city has to unclog the pipes, it’s not only a big headache for the water-sewer department, but the wipes that pass through the pipes often get hung up on water-sewer equipment, which can cause the equipment to break, and a lot of extra money is spent to send employees to manually conduct drain cleaning by pumping or fishing the wipes out of the sewer system.

The cost of unclogging is very expensive and is passed on to you and me, the consumers.

WIPES CAUSE MAJOR PROBLEMS

• They clog home and municipal sewer systems

• Most wipes are not biodegradable

• The wipes require manual drain cleaning to remove clogs

• Extra manpower and repair of equipment increases costs

• Sewer systems are outdated and incompatible with wipes

There are some wipes that can be flushed, but the industry isn’t regulated that well, so one company’s definition of a wipe that can be flushed is different from another company’s. Folks who work many of our nation’s sewers say that 90 percent of the wipes that come there should not have been flushed.

The problem of wipes clogging the wastewater system is such a big problem that a number of municipalities are suing the makers of wipes for millions of dollars in damages for unclogging and repair of equipment.

Manufacturers determine whether a wipe can be flushed, based on how well it falls apart when it comes into contact with water. Toilet paper is typically made from strands of natural or recycled cellulose and is biodegradable.

Wipes that can be flushed could be made from cellulose or synthetic fibers with a degradable binder; however, wipes that are made-up completely of synthetic fibers are not going to break down or are not degradable, because the long strands of the fibers are tightly connected and highly bonded.

CHEMICAL BREAKDOWN

Toilet Paper

• Typically consists of biodegradable fibers

• Will typically disintegrate upon contact with water

Flushable Wipes

• Made of cellulose or man-made fibers

• Have substances which cause it to break down

Non-Flushable Wipes

• Completely made of man-made fibers

• Are not biodegradable (will not break down)

• Fibers are tightly woven and bonded

Wipes are a convenient, mobile and disposable product for use in cleaning electronics, in disinfecting your kitchen counter, removing dust from your furniture, to make your dull tires look new and shiny, to clean your dirty hands, and to wipe your baby’s bottom clean.However, from an environmental point of view, many plumbers and wastewater management facilities say “Don’t flush!” Most wastewater systems throughout the nation are too old or too small to handle wipes, which seemingly clog up systems the moment they are flushed. They also believe that even if a product says it can be flushed, that is not necessarily so.From their point of view, wipes not only clog up an individual or a city’s sewer system, they also cause millions of dollars worth of damage that have to be manually unclogged.Even though they’re being sued by a number of municipalities, manufacturers obviously don’t agree. They say there are a variety of wet wipes out there and each function in a different way.

Some wipes are synthetic, so they’re not going to break apart like toilet paper, but other wipes can be flushed, and are made with biodegradable materials similar to toilet paper.

To find out whether your product can be flushed, read the label, and do a little research no matter what the manufacturer says. Instead of flushing, you may want to toss the wipe into the trash can.

However, if you end up flushing the wipes and you have a need for toilet repair and drain cleaning, don’t hesitate to give your local plumber a call.

For quality services in your city of Sterling, VA, call Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Air Inc. at (703) 541-8489.

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