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How Bad for Plumbing Are Disposable Wipes?

The question comes down to how quickly a flushable product breaks down in water. In 2009, Consumer Reports tested many of the leading brands of toilet paper and flushable wipes and concluded that all of the wipes completely failed the disintegration test, while even the strongest, thickest toilet papers squeaked by with a low passing grade. Flushable? Yes. Dissolvable? Not really, at least not enough to prevent significant clogs in many sewage channels. Consumer Reports recommends that users of wipes should dispose of them in the trash instead of the toilet.

Lessons from the Septics

Anyone with a septic system knows that you have to baby these mini sewage treatment plants—no drain cleaners, no Kleenex, no nothing other than toilet paper. Many city sewage professionals (and city budget planners) would love it if people on municipal systems would model their flushing habits after the septic folks. In other words, if it’s not safe for a septic system, it shouldn’t be flushed into a city system, either. So, are disposable wipes bad for septic systems? Is the sky blue?

Related:
5 Green Ways to Unclog a Toilet
What Not to Put Down Your Drain
3 Ways to Ditch Paper Towels
Image: Basykes/flickr

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107 comments

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6:10AM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Who flush wipes down the drain?

10:08AM PST on Dec 10, 2013

thanks

3:46AM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

I never thought that" flushable " may not be "dissolvable". It that case, the term "flushable" should not be allowed,

8:38PM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

thanks so much for making the differance in flushable and dissolvable clear

8:30PM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

Why would anyone think these things wouldn't clog the plumbing?

5:29AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Interesting thanks.

9:33AM PST on Jan 4, 2012

I'm a plumbers "wife" and trust me I know all about what not to flush down the toilet.
Depending on the type of sewer you have (septic or "city") and how many you flush makes a big difference. I say don't flush either way and just put it in the trash.

Ladies NEVER flush tampons!

4:22AM PST on Nov 6, 2011

Thanks for this. One question though: why cannot tissues (e.g. Kleenex) be made to be flushable?

11:17AM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

Thanks for sharing this important information...

3:01AM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

thanks, good to know

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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