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Don’t believe the label for flushable wipes

A situation is dire when companies begin dodging services. Over the last few years, the false advertisement of baby wipes has plumbing companies around the world pleading with consumers to think twice before flushing. Not all waste can go down the toilet, and one of the most surprising culprits of clogged drains and pipes are these “flushable” wipes.

Tips for unclogging drains and toilet repair can be found online, but problems associated with wipes require more than a few pokes with an old wire coat hanger. Drain cleaning solutions are too weak to save the day.

For a fresh clean feeling that won’t leave you standing in a puddle of waste, opt for reusable DIY wipes (or toss wipes in the trash bin).

It began as a hygienic practice, but has quickly become an unsanitary mess.

Round Lake, IL DIY-wet-wipes-1

Soft wipes are now used for adults in addition to babies. Before leaving the house for a night on the town, many women check their purses for their trustable sanitary pads. People use them before dining out, and after strolling through a public center or using public toilets.

Society depends on wipes to prevent the spread germs, and they act as sanitary lifesavers when one find herself in an unfavorable bathroom situation (nearly everyone has experienced a lack of toilet paper at one time or another).

They are also convenient. No one wants to deal with waste any longer than necessary. This is a second reason why disposal practices have become popular. Rather than disposing of soiled paper in a trash bin and removing the trash more frequently, people are throwing them in the toilet. Anything for a quick fix, right?

Unfortunately, most paper products are not 100% biodegradable, and clumps can congregate in pipe bends, blocking the path for further waste. Home drainage problems can run up the homeowners’ bills by hundreds of dollars in drain cleaning and repair. Then there are government centers and other public city-wide drainage networks.

The increased usage of wipes has posed such a problem that some US cities have passed laws banning them from being sold as “flushable” and a few states have sued wipe companies. London has experienced sewage situations called “fatbergs”, the largest which took 3 weeks to rectify. Wipes act as a major culprit and 40,000 sewage blockages are caused a year in this major UK city by fat and wipe pollution.

The problem has received some attention but a resolution has yet to pass.

A few wipe companies have had to adhere to settlement claims, promising re-advertising on their packaging (labeling them with a “do not flush” message). But is this enough? Plumbers even receive calls for blockages caused by toilet paper, which is flimsier than cleansing wipes.

False advertising hasn’t been the only concern. In a world that desires instant gratification, an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality continues to be a problem. Consumers must be made aware of the gravity associated with their flushing habits.

The number of articles about this issue is high and growing. Senior plumbers are reporting that the problems posed by flushable wipes are greater than anything they had experienced before. Toilet repair and septic backups are only a couple common issues. Problems at water treatment centers and wipe-related beach pollution are also on the rise.

Don’t believe everything you read.

In lieu of these recent problems (which began popping up over the last few years) a plethora of companies has begun testing the validity behind the term “flushable”. In these tests, flushable wipes and those labeled “do not flush” were placed in toilet simulating devices. Average ply toilet paper (around 4-ply) acted as a control.

Toilet paper disintegrates in simulators with little to no problems but wipes are another story. Regardless of advertising or brand, wipes remained intact with only minor tears. At least, advertisers get it right when they call wipes soft but strong.

Can DIY save the day?

More recently, the DIY world has exploded with do-it-yourself alternatives. Parents wishing for chemical-free options for their babies’ skins are jumping on the bandwagon. Fortunately, many parents throw their baby’s waste in trash bins.

A quick Google search on DIY wipes brings up article after article from parents swearing by their own concoctions. Plenty of which employ the same basic practice, and paper towels are their main ingredient. Some of these articles even claim that their version is flushable.

The problem with the internet is that anyone can publish on it. In hopes of helping other parents, parents boast the miraculous effects of their “chemical-free” wipes. And in terms of personal hygiene, these wipes may be better than their store-bought counterparts. They are not, however, flushable.

In fact, paper towels are among the least flushable paper material to exist. Do not place these products in your toilet, unless you’re desiring a mess followed by a hefty plumbing bill.

Soft, reusable cloths are the best way to go. While reading your favorite parenting blog on “DIY wipes” simply substitute paper towels with these alternatives and continue following their advice.

For toilet repair or drain cleaning in your Round Lake, IL home, be sure to call Duane Blanton Plumbing Sewer & Drainage at (815) 781-2567.

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