Q: Are flushable wipes wipes really flushable?
A: Not so much.
We know that those wipes say that they’re “flushable” and those tampons are “biodegradable,” but trust us when we tell you that these products hate your toilet. (And your toilet hates them, too.)
Regardless of what the packaging says, wipes do not break down as quickly as toilet paper and they tend to become tangled up with anything else that’s flushed down your toilet in a highly inconvenient way. Plumbers call this “ragging” and we’ve seen it create some major clogs.
Feminine hygiene products behave in pretty much the same way when flushed. Plus, some tampons can survive in the wild (this includes drains and sewers) for up to SIX months before breaking down. Pads? 50 years. Thanks a lot, plastic. Imagine how many tampons could be lurking in an unsuspecting flusher’s plumbing. (Or don’t because yuck!)
And you may be thinking, “But my house is brand new! Surely, I can flush a wipe or two?” And you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. No, just kidding, this isn’t a matter of life and death, but is, you know, serious. And the answer is still no. While some older toilets (especially low-flow ones) are more prone to clogging, the fact is that new toilets can also be Trojan horsed by non-flushable items masquerading as allies — err, flushable items.
Remember, it’s not just your plumbing that’s at risk here. Even if your home gets out of this unscathed, the stuff you flush can impact your neighbors’ (or even your town’s) sewers. Plus, the non-biodegradable stuff that you flush will actually end up in a landfill, anyway, after it’s snagged by the local sewage treatment facility. It’ll just use more resources to get there. Depending on what, exactly, the stuff you flush is made from, you could also be harming marine life with plastics and chlorines. So, flush responsibly.
If you want to see whether something’s truly septic safe/flushable, there’s an easy test that you can do: put said thing into a mason jar with some water and shake it around like a maniac for 10 seconds. If it’s in tatters, go forth and flush. If it’s not, it’s probably not that great for your plumbing. A note on this test: Not all toilet paper will disintegrate with 10 seconds of shaking, but toilet paper is generally safe to flush (in reasonable quantities). In fact, it’s the only thing that you should be flushing. And there’s no need for flushed cheeks if you had no idea — just make smarter choices in the future. And if you run into trouble, we’ll be here!