The idea that wet wipes are flushable is a popular one. In fact, some manufacturers even claim that their products are “flushable” on the packaging. Let’s see if plumbers agree with this statement. It’s also important to note that not all wet wipes are flushable.
Some wet wipes are flushable whereas you should be more careful with others as they can clog up your drains. If you have a septic system, you should also be careful with wet wipes.
Let’s discuss this in more detail.
What is a Cotonell or Dude Wipes wet wipe?
A wet wipe is a specially prepared layer of toilet tissue or paper towel. Some people find it more comfortable to clean themselves with this and they prefer it over toilet paper.
They contain a liquid that makes it possible to clean things. They can be used to clean toilets or sinks. Other types of wet wipes can also use them on yourself after you have pooped. The latter contains another type of liquid that is less harsh.
In the past, there used to be a lot of problems with wet wipes as they didn’t dissolve in the water and could clog a toilet drain. To fix this, tests have been developed. If wet wipes are not flushable, they should get a label that indicates this.
When wet wipes are labeled as “flushable,” they are usually designed to be flushed down the toilet.
Wet wipes with a ‘do not flush symbol’ should be disposed of in a trash can or garbage pail according to a lot of plumbers. It is important to note that these disposable wipes are not designed to be flushed.
Toilet paper generally disintegrates after a few seconds. Plumbers often test toilet paper by dipping it in water 3 times. If it disintegrates after this, it means that it is great toilet paper. Cheaper toilet paper might not do this and create clogs. The same is true with wet wipes. They often don’t disintegrate in the toilet bowl and take a long time to fall apart.
Why plumbers hate wet wipes
Wet wipes are a convenient product for many people. When they were first launched, a lot of people didn’t realize that they are not always flushable. Some people flush the wipes if the packaging indicates that they can’t!
A lot of wet wipes are not meant to be flushed! Check the packaging to check if yours can be flushed. These wipes have to be sturdy when you use them so it is quite difficult to make them dissolve fast in the water.
They can clog together and create problems with your toilet or even the plumbing system of your whole home. Clogged toilets can be annoying as you are not able to flush anything anymore.
The dirty water can even flow out of your toilet, creating a big mess! Plumbers often had to go out and remove these wipes from the plumbing system to get it working again. It can be quite challenging to remove them from the drains as they clog together and block several parts.
It is often needed to get them out as using a water jet can create a mess in your drains (similar to confetti). If you use an auger to unclog the drain, it can take several tries to get all the wipes out. A plumber might charge a lot of money for this as they might have to break open pipes or find a way to shovel the wipes out.
In big apartment buildings, wet wipes can create a lot of damage as it can block the drains of the whole building. It can be expensive to repair this. A lot of buildings forbid the usage of wet wipes as they had problems with this already in the past. If only one person in the building uses them, it can lead to a lot of problems over time.
As discussed before, getting wet wipes out of drains can be annoying. For this reason, a lot of plumbers recommend that you store them in a bin instead of flushing them. The problem is that it takes a while before people notice that they have a problem. By that time they have flushed a ton of wet wipes and this creates a big soup of wipes.
This is really challenging to clean and plumbers hate doing it as it is an avoidable problem that can create a lot of damage. It is dirty and smelly work to remove them and a lot of plumbers will charge more for this as it is a messy job. It is also hard to know if everything has been removed and plumbers have to run a camera in the drain to check this. This is more work and they will charge for this as well.
It is hard to tell if wet wipes will get flushed completely. Some buildings have more narrow drains or have already small blockages. Wet wipes can get stuck in these areas and this can build up over time. You will only notice this when it is too late.
Can you flush Cottonelle wipes?
The manufacturer of Cottonelle wipes (Kimberly Clark) claims that they have improved their flushable wipes in 2022 with a formula that keeps the wipes strong when you use them but they dissolve faster in water than before.
This should make the flushable wipes dissolve once you have placed them in the toilet bowl. In the end, this should result in fewer clogs as the water can push the wipes outside your drains and house. The wipes shouldn’t get stuck anywhere.
Cottonelle wipes should be flushable.
It is still possible that a big buildup of wipes can result in clogs. The same is true with toilet paper though. For this reason, it is important that you flush often enough.
Toilet paper might be less prone to clogging your drains as it often decomposes faster.
This allows the water in your toilet to transport the pieces of paper.
We have discussed how to unclog a toilet here if you have problems with clogs. A plumber can also check your installation to make sure that the drains are wide enough and that they are properly installed.
A common problem is that the angle of the drains is not correct or that they aren’t properly connected.
Can you flush Dude wipes?
Yes, Dude wipes should be flushable. They comply with the INDA GD4 guidelines. This involves 7 tests that make sure that the wipes dissolve in water and don’t clog up your drains.
The design of these wipes has been updated over the years to improve them further and make sure that they are flushable.
This means that these wipes have been tested to make sure that they disintegrate in water and won’t clog up drains. While these tests might become stricter in the future given that researchers are still examining how flushable wipes decompose over time, for now, Dude wipes are able to meet the current requirements.
You can test these wipes yourself by placing them in a bowl of water and seeing how fast they dissolve. This can give you an idea about how they work.
This product is made from plant-based materials.
This brand also offers a bidet. This is a water spray that can be used instead of toilet paper or wet wipes. While these devices are not that popular yet in the USA, they are becoming more prominent as people realize that they can be quite comfortable.
Wet wipes and septic systems: can you flush them?
If you live in a rural area chances are that you have a septic system in your garden. Your plumbing system is not connected to the city sewer. The septic system processes the wastewater and distributes it in your garden.
Wet wipes can disturb the process that happens in the septic tank as they don’t break down rapidly. The liquids that they use can also disturb the processes in the tank. This can lead to more expenses as you have to pump the tank more often.
They can also get stuck in the drains to the tank or the leech field. Getting these out can be a challenge as they clog together. For this reason, it is not recommended to use wet wipes when you have a septic system.
You also should use special toilet paper if you have this type of system to make sure that everything processes smoothly. Check with the company that installed your system to see what you can do and can’t as you have to take good care of your system. We have also discussed some of the best practices HERE.
Flushable wipes can also create problems for people that are connected to the city sewer. They can cause issues in the sewage plants as they are hard to process. This might not sound like your problem as these are managed by the city. They might charge more though as they have more expensive to manage your sewer system.
Wet wipes are convenient and can be a great way to clean up messes when you’re busy. However, they are not designed to be flushed, so you shouldn’t put them down the toilet. In fact, if you put a wet wipe down the toilet, it’s possible for it to become clogged and cause all kinds of problems for your plumbing system, including flooding your home.
It can take a long time before you notice this but by then it can be too late. Plumbers often have a hard time getting these wipes out as they can clog in multiple locations and often need to get shoveled out of your drains.
Just throw your wet wipes in the bin if you want to use them. It is not as convenient but won’t lead to expensive repairs.
Wet wipes have become very popular in the past few years. Not a lot of people realize that they can’t be flushed and this results in a lot of problems. Plumbers often have to come out and get them out of drains. This can be quite challenging as they can clog up several plumbing system parts. In some instances, plumbers have to fish them out of tanks or other parts of the septic system.