Are Flushable Wipes Really Safe to Flush?

image of flushable wipesWet, flushable wipes are moist towelettes that are used for cleaning purposes – either around your house or for personal hygiene. It does a great job when it comes to its intended purpose. However, they could cause an issue when they are not disposed of properly. The packaging might indicate that they are flushable. The big question here is are they really meant to go into your plumbing system?  In this article, we answer just that, “Can I flush flushable wipes?

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Are Flushable Wipes Really Safe To Flush?

Plumbers agree that many toilet clogs are preventable if people would properly dispose of objects outside of water and waste.

How Long Does It Take For Wet Wipes To Break Down?

man flushing a wipe down the toilet

Some wet wipes are labeled to be septic-safe or flushable. This means that it shouldn’t be an issue if you flush them down the toilet. These wet towels eventually do break down, after all. However, they take longer than toilet paper to do so. Since the breakdown doesn’t happen as fast, the wet wipes can build up in your pipes.

Not only that, but people tend to flush both kinds. It becomes hard to tell which ones are actually the flushable kind when they’re all clogged up in the plumbing. Wet wipes, no matter whether they’re flushable or not, go down the drain smoothly. However, they start to accumulate once they hit a 45-degree elbow within your home’s plumbing pipes. They do not break down as rapidly as we think. If they do break down at all, so they end up causing a nasty clog over time.

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What Happens When You Flush Wet Wipes?

plumber unclogging toilet after homeowner flushed wipe

Many plumbers agree that wet wipes do not belong in the toilet. Even if they are tagged as flushable, they still cause plumbing issues. When you flush down wet wipes, they can buildup with other items in your sewer. Some of the things that are commonly flushed include cotton swabs, sanitary pads, dental floss, and toilet cleaning pads. As time passes, all of these flushed items create one big clog called ragging. This blockage will shut down your sewer system. In turn, you will experience backups.

Moreover, wet wipes can damage wastewater equipment. Although you might have an excellent septic tank or pump in place, wet wipes can get tangled into the impeller housing and cause the pump to block. This can result in a costly nightmare to repair as you need a professional to tear down the clumps of wet wipes physically. Even worse, the impeller might seize up and break. In turn, it will need to be replaced.

Wet wipes can also cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage to your public wastewater management systems. The system processes wastewater by grinding it to become a slurry. This makes it easier to transport. However, as the wet wipes clump together in the sewer, they stick to the inside of the pipes and block them. Sewage workers would need to physically clear them to remove the clog, which is an expensive and time-consuming task.

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What To Do

There are a few things you can do to make sure that all these harmful consequences don’t happen to your home. They are:


man placing flushable wipe in the trash

You can have an inline macerator installed to protect your system. This equipment has cutters that can grind larger solids into smaller particles. Unfortunately, although they safeguard your system effectively, it is most viable for commercial applications. This is because an inline macerator can be quite expensive to purchase.


The best way to avoid all the trouble flushing down a wet wipe can cause is to avoid doing it. Other than the obvious, you should only flush down toilet paper. This is because toilet paper is designed to break into a slurry when water passes through it. However, wet wipes do not react the same. Even if the packaging claims that the moist towelettes are flushable, it is best to keep it out of your sewage system at all costs. Instead, dispose of it in the wastebasket to avoid toilet clogging issues.


Call An Expert Plumber

If you have any concerns regarding wet wipes in the sewer, pump systems, and anything that concerns your plumbing, contact an expert plumber. They have the qualifications, knowledge, and experience to make sure that your plumbing fixtures are in excellent working condition. Frequent clogs in your home can mean that there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. A professional can assist you in finding the root cause – whether it’s wet wipes or something else – and make sure your toilet is back in perfect working order in no time.

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