Regardless of what the label might say — don’t flush disinfectant wipes.

The increased use of wipes has been causing problems with plumbing and even damage to sewer systems for years.  Despite inaccurate labels of “flushable” these should never be flushed down toilets.  The same goes for everything other than toilet paper — feminine hygiene products, paper towels, napkins….

Reasons To Not Flush Wipes

Why shouldn’t you flush wipes?  We’ve known for along time that baby wipes cause problems because they don’t break down, and that leads to blockages.  Toilet paper, on the other hand, is made so that it disintegrates soon after it becomes wet.  Ever try using TP as a paper towel?  It’s soon reduced to muck. Not so with other products you might be tempted to flush.

The experience of the last several years has included backed-up home sewer lines, clogged sewer mains, and even problems at waste-water treatment plants.  An improper material may make it out of the toilet bowl and out of site, only to cause slow draining or worse anywhere in you home.  Not only toilet overflows, but also sink and shower backups with water contaminated with bacteria and viruses.

Over the years one of the main culprits have been disinfecting baby wipes, even those labeled “flushable.”  What that really means is that they make it past the toilet.  These and similar products include synthetic materials that combine with grease to form “fatbergs” that can clog even sewer mains several feet across. In one case a single fatberg filled an entire dumpster, so it’s certainly not a small problem

It’s been enough of a problem that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued a warning, noting that beyond creating public health hazards it can damage pipes, pumps, and wastewater treatment plants.

With the increase use of disinfecting wipes against coronavirus, and perhaps the occasional use of toilet paper “substitutes,” these problems are happening more frequently.

An increase in major problems caused by flushable wipes has been noted in Northern California at several locations.  The Novato Sanitary District reported a literal geyser inside one of their facilities.  Another report involved sewage backing up and overflowing through a manhole cover.  And England is already reporting sewer main backups caused by toilet paper substitutes.

So avoid a plumbing bill and an additional health hazard.  As you use wipes for coronavirus cleaning (as well as for ordinary use) don’t ever flush them, no matter how tempting the convenience might be.

Note:  If you suspect or know that someone in the household is infected with coronavirus or any contagion, dispose of wipes by sealing them in a small bag, placing it in the trash and tightly closing the trash bag.

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