Flushing baby wipes, along with other wet wipes like makeup remover, may seem like a harmless way of disposal. Typically, you would think these wipes would be flushable and break down under the same or similar circumstances as toilet paper, but whether baby wipes are safe to flush there are many things to consider before you decide to flush them.
Baby wipes are not flushable. These wipes were not created to be flushed down the toilet and may lead to some plumbing issues in the future. Other wet wipes like makeup wipes are not flushable either, although there are wet wipes that are designed to be flushable safe.
These wipes were not designed to break down when submerged in water. There are certain factors to look out for when deciding if it is safe to flush down the toilet. There are also a number of plumbing issues flushing baby wipes can cause within your own plumbing and also at plumbing plants. Keep reading to learn more about flushing baby wipes down the toilet and potential problems you should try to avoid.
Can You Flush Baby Wipes?
Baby wipes are not created to disintegrate when submerged in water. In order for these wipes to safely flush and pass through the sewage system without causing problems, they have to fully disintegrate in water.
When deciding on whether the wipes in question are safe to flush, there are many things to consider before you decide to flush it:
- The material the wipes are made of
- The plumbing issues that are caused by flushing baby wipes
- Flushable wipes
- How to test if wet wipes are safe to flush
While there are wet wipes that promote that their product is safe to flush, they can still create plumbing issues in the future. It is best to only flush toilet paper. The rest should be disposed of in the trash.
Before you decide to flush any type of wet wipe, make sure you test it to see if your plumbing is capable of handling the material. The wipe should disintegrate as quickly and efficiently as toilet paper.
Materials Used in Baby Wipes
Toilet paper is a paper that is specifically designed to disintegrate when submerged in water which makes it safe to flush. This paper is made of tiny wood fibers that break up and dissolve in water. Most baby wipes are made of polyester, which is plastic.
Plastic is not dissolvable in water. Baby wipes are designed to be durable for an easier clean-up making them less likely to dissolve. Due to this design, they are not made to break down or disintegrate when submerged in liquid which can result in plumbing issues.
While a majority of commonly used baby wipes are made of plastic or other materials that are not dissolvable, there are other wipes that are made of other materials that deem themselves flushable and safe for septic plumbing.
Plumbing Issues Baby Wipes Cause
In order for your plumbing to run smoothly, all materials must pass through your pipes and sanitation plants with ease. Plumbing systems were not created to handle materials that do not disintegrate which can result in damage to your pipes. These materials may safely pass through your plumbing system, but it can cause damage to equipment at sanitation plants which can be expensive to repair.
- Since baby wipes are not flushable, this material will form with other commonly flushed materials creating a blockage within your pipes
- Baby wipes do not dissolve, so it is difficult for the wipes to pass through the pipes without getting stuck
If your house is connected to a septic tank, this system is more prone to having blockage problems. Septic tanks may require pumping more frequently, along with draining and clogging problems. These problems may also lead to blockage problems in sanitation plants resulting in damage to their equipment.
Regardless of which plumbing system your house is connected to, the piping consists of a variety of turns. Within these bending in the pipes, materials tend to build up creating a blockage. If the wipes do not dissolve quickly, it is likely this will cause clogging in your pipes. Flushing wipes one to two at a time does not decrease the risk of plumbing issues.
The plumbing issues that arise with flushing baby wipes down the toilet can result in expensive repairs. The damage of flushing these items costs taxpayers’ money when the problem arises at plants.
Wet Wipes That Are Flushable Safe
There are wipes that are made to be flushable. They are made of material that is designed to break down over time when submerged in water.
Cottonelle has developed wipes that are flushable and are made of plant-based fibers. These wipes are plastic-free and not made of polyester like most wet wipes or baby wipes.
Kandoo wipes, which are most commonly used for potty training kids, consider their wipes as flushable. They claim to be biodegradable but do not state whether their wipes are made from plastic. The directions do suggest to only flush one to two wipes at a time.
Dude Wipes are also another brand of wet wipes that are flushable. These wipes, like Cottonelle, are made of plant-based materials. They also claim to be biodegradable.
Although these wipes are considered flushable, there are still concerns about the damage they may do to your plumbing. These wipes may seem to be safe to flush, but they do not break down as quickly as toilet paper which may result in some blockage. If your house is connected to a septic tank, using these wipes may require your tank to be pumped more often. These wipes could also cause more frequent clogged drains.
How to Test If Wipes Are Safe to Flush
After studying what the wipes are made of, you can also test to see if the wipe will be safe to flush down the toilet. You can simply fill a bowl with water and submerge the wipe in the water.
- Start by sumberging toilet paper in the water and study how quickly it breaks down
- Next, submerge the wet wipe in water and compare it to how the toilet paper breaks down. If the wipe does disintegrate in the water it may be safe to flush
It is also important to take into consideration how quickly the wipe dissolves compared to toilet paper. If they break down in a similar fashion, the wipe may be safe to flush. If it takes longer than toilet paper would, consider how it would break down within the sewage system and if it may cause any plumbing issues in the future.
While flushing baby wipes may seem harmless, it can cause a lot of plumbing issues and create a financial burden trying to repair the damages. It is best to dispose of baby wipes in the trash, along with any other wet wipes that are not considered flushable.
When it comes to flushing anything other than toilet paper or bodily excrement, it is best to leave the rest in the trash. Plumbing systems, whether it is our home or sanitation plants, are not created to dispose of anything other than their intended purpose. The problems that can arise when flushing foreign objects can be expensive to repair. It is important to consider each and every factor before you decide to flush.
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