Information on Flushable Wipes

Courtesy of Utilities, Inc. of Georgia

Disinfectant wet wipes, paper towels, and toilet paper are flying off the shelves since COVID-19 began. These products help keep us clean and reduce the spread of germs. But when we realize that products like baby wipes and wet wipes are not as “flushable” as typically advertised, it’s no surprise that we’re now at a greater risk for sewer blockages in our communities.

If toilet paper isn’t available, it’s easy to reach for an alternative. However, keep in mind these wipes need to stay out of our pipes, period. Keep a bin next to the toilet for disposal! Do with wet wipes what you’d do with a baby’s diaper or other hygiene products.

When “flushable” wipes enter your plumbing system, they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper. They often hold together better than a paper towel, and they require more water to travel the distance from inside your house to the buried sewer lines outside. At some point in this journey, you’re going to get a clog! If wipes survive the trip to the water treatment plant, they just clog up the giant pumps there, creating even bigger problems.

Now that we’re never flushing our wet wipes again, are you wondering what else doesn’t belong down the drain? Read the quick list of items below we’re sometimes guilty of tossing. Here’s to helping our pipes stay clog-free.

  • Q-Tips and cotton balls will never disintegrate like toilet paper. Please don’t ever flush them.
  • Feminine hygiene products, such as pads and tampons, are meant to absorb liquids, not break down in them. They are never safe to flush.
  • Dental floss might look harmless, but this stuff is tough. It can create a net when it’s swishing around in your pipes and wrap around parts of your septic system, even burning out the motor.
  • Diapers are a No! Diaper pails exist for a reason.
  • Condoms are designed to never break down in water. Please put them in the trash.
  • Medication should not be flushed. Toilet water doesn’t break down the prescription drugs you flush, meaning that whatever you’re taking will end up in the environment. Throw medication in the trash, or return it to a pharmacy.
  • Kitty Litter should not be flushed. Some cat litter brands advertise as being flushable, but don’t believe the hype. All it does is make water more difficult to purify on the other end.
  • Cigarette butts are full of chemicals! Don’t smoke them, and don’t flush them!
  • Hair should not be flushed. When flushed, hair acts like dental floss and creates a net that gets caught on everything. Plus, it never dissolves in water, no matter how long it is there.
  • Bleach is too harsh of a chemical to use as a part of your routine cleaning. Try getting toilet stains out with vinegar instead.
  • Fats, oils, or grease should never be flushed.