Finding Plumbing Issues Early

Two Flushable Items That May Actually Be Clogging Your Pipes

by Chris Bowman

There are a number of personal care items that claim you can flush them down the toilet but may actually cause clogs in your pipes. Here's info about two such items and what you need to do to avoid damaging your plumbing.

Flushable Diapers

It's a well-known fact that babies go through a lot of diapers; at least 8 per day during the first year of life. Disposable diapers are fairly convenient but have a significant impact on the environment. Cloth diapers are more environmentally friendly but generally require more planning and effort to use.

As a compromise, many parents are choosing to use flushable diapers that claim to breakup in toilet water similar to toilet paper. However, this isn't 100-percent true. For some products, you have to manually disintegrate the diaper using a stick after putting it in the toilet, while for others you have to let the diaper sit in the water for a period of time before flushing it. Failure to take these steps can cause the diapers to clog your toilet. At the very least, it may require multiple flushes to get the diaper to go down the drain, wasting water in the process.

On top of that, companies that make flushable diapers generally do not recommend using them with older toilets, septic systems, or plumbing systems that have been compromised by tree roots. If any of these caveats apply to your home, you may unintentionally be damaging your plumbing. Be certain to follow the directions to the letter or avoid using these products altogether.

Disposable Wipes

Flushable wipes have increased in popularity in recent years as companies market the product as a way to get "extra-clean" after doing your business in the bathroom. While it's always great to practice good personal hygiene, those disposable wipes are doing a number on plumbing pipes.

The wipes, like flushable diapers, don't degrade as quickly as toilet paper. This causes them to get stuck on things as they make their way through the pipes. Once they get caught, these wipes create a blockage that continues to build with each subsequent flush until you have a monster clog that costs hundreds of dollars to fix.

The problem is so pervasive that the NY Department of Environmental Protection spends an additional $10 million per year just to process the clothes to help prevent clogs in the city's sewer system. Manufacturers of flushable wipes are also being sued by a Minnesota city because of the clogs they're causing in the sewers.

If you feel you need a little extra cleaning, protect your pipes by throwing the disposable wipes in the trash rather than flushing them down the toilet.

For more information about convenience products that may actually cause plumbing problems or help fixing a bad clog, contact companies like Roto-Rooter Sewer & Drain Service.