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Are Toilet Paper Alternatives Safe For Drains?

In recent years, there have been several toilet paper alternatives that have hit the market. The most popular by far is the moist wipe that is labeled as flushable. But many consumers are questioning that information and what to know if these so-called wonder products are really safe for drain and sewer lines. And who better to answer that question than a licensed plumber with years of experience working on drain and sewer lines in the community.

Why Are Flushable Wipes So Popular Now

Before we delve into the professional’s opinion on flushable wipes, it is important to look at how they became so popular so quickly. When the world was dealing with a shortage of toilet paper and many other products, drain-safe moist wipes became a viable alternative. Shoppers were happy to find anything on the shelves meant to be flushed and not create yet another challenge. So flushable wipes began flying off the shelves.

Are They Really Safe To Flush?

Any plumber will quickly tell you that only toilet paper is suited to be flushed into your drain and sewer lines. These specially designed paper products are created so to dissolve in water almost instantly. And that is what prevents them from creating nasty clogs in your home’s drain and sewer lines.

On the other hand, moist wipes are much thicker and durable. They do provide a great deal more cleaning power. But that same durability makes them a bad choice for the health of your drain lines and sewer line. They cannot dissolve fast enough not to get snagged inside the drain and begin to form a clog. Any plumber will tell you that nothing but toilet paper gets flushed in their homes.

Great Applications For Moist Wipes

If you like moist wipes, then, by all means, continue to use them. But don’t flush them unless you want to pay for regular clog removals. Instead, dispose of soiled wet wipes in Ziploc baggies or other bags that can be tied closed and placed in the trashcan. These more durable wipes are also great for use when camping, hiking, or any outdoor location where you would typically bag all waste paper for disposal in a trashcan.

But What If The Label Says Flushable?

Even if the label has huge letters saying the product is flushable, it is not good to do it regularly. However, if you are interested in seeing how much truth there is to the advertising, you can conduct a quick experiment.

Get two bowls of water, a moist wipe, and as much toilet paper as you feel is needed to equal a single wipe. Place the wipe in one bowl of water and the TP in the other. In about 60 seconds, you will see the toilet paper all but disappear. And unless the wipe is very similar, you should not consider flushing them into your home’s drains and sewer line.

Other “Flushable” Hazards

In addition to flushable wipes, here are a few of the items that most plumbers discover when working to remove a drain clog. None of these belong in a toilet bowl or flushed:

  • Facial Tissues
  • Baby Wipes
  • Napkins
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Hair
  • Dental Floss
  • Plastic
  • Paper Wrappers
  • Cotton Balls

All of these items need to find their way to the trashcan to avoid a severe drain clog and a flood of raw sewage. If you are suddenly concerned about some of the items you have flushed, call (505) 308-2776. The experts at All-Out Plumbing & Mechanical will professionally clean all of your home’s drain and sewer lines to remove clogs and any nasty residue that would create more clogs.