Why Flushing Wet Wipes is such a Bad Idea.

10 April, 2020

Wipes, a serious problem.

Baby wipes, wet wipes, make-up wipes, moist wipes, cleaning wipes, nappy liners .... the offerings in stores are enormous and very appealing. Often, they are even marked as being flushable, but even more often they are not. When it comes to wipes, there is only one general rule that applies to all of them: they don’t belong in the toilet!

Despite what wipes manufacturers say, wipes do not disintegrate once you have flushed them into the sewer system, they tend to remain whole and form a blockage of wipes further down the drain or even down up until the wastewater sanitation plants.

Even if they’re marketed as ‘flushable’ or ‘biodegradable’, they don’t disintegrate as fast as normal toilet paper. It takes months to decompose, which is not surprising because, besides cotton and rayon fibers, some wipes contain plastic resins like polyester, polyethylene, and polypropylene.

In the UK a “Wipes in sewer blockage” study in 2017 disclosed that most of the sewer blockage material recovered comprised of non-flushable wipes that were not designed to be flushed and should not have been disposed of via the toilet. Baby wipes accounted for over 75% by weight of the identifiable products. Surface wipes, cosmetic removal wipes, and feminine hygiene products accounted for approximately 20% by weight of the identifiable products.

Combined with grease and fat, these wet wipes form a consistent, heavy blockage in the private and public drains and wastewater systems.

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The BEST recommendation in preventing these blockages?

Simply do NOT flush wet wipes, sanitary napkins, etc. Besides that, also don’t flush food disposals and grease down your sinks and toilets.
Regardless of what manufacturers might promise on their packagings.

What if you do have a Blocked Drain?

RIDGID manufactures a diverse range of residential and professional Drain Cleaning equipment to tackle these annoying obstructions. All high quality, durable solutions and unmissable to have in the house or in your work van.

Your home solution? Use one of our Toilet Augers. These can retrieve objects out of the toilet- and/or shower drains if they’re not to far down and can get your toilet flowing normally again.

Blockages farther down the drain? RIDGID’s newest addition is called Flexshaft. It cleans drains with high speed and without the need for an extensive set-up, just a cordless drill is enough. Special penetrating chain knocker tools mounted on the end of the cable are designed to penetrate and break up the heavy build-ups of wet wipes blockages and a lot of other types of soft-material, like soap-, hair- and grease built-ups.

Discover now the full range of RIDGID drain cleaning tools!

*Wipes in sewer blockage study – Final Report (by ã Water UK Limited 2017)

*Various sources consulted to create this article.