While wet wipes have been around for ages, they are becoming a big trend in our American bathroom culture. Their convenient, comfortable, and are increasingly winding up in shopping carts instead of traditional toilet paper.
Wet wipes are marketed well. They’re flushable, so why not use them instead?
While wet wipes truly may be flushable – one or two will easily go down the drain every time – its not the originating area that is the problem.
Traditional toilet paper is designed from a strong, paper substance that begins to disintegrate immediately upon getting wet. As it moves throughout the pipes, it breaks down into smaller pieces, making it easy to escape your home’s plumbing and continue on its journey.
Wet wipes are made from a much stronger, cloth like substance. When they hit water, they don’t break down immediately. Instead, they move into your pipes and continue their journey as whole pieces of cloth. If your pipes are in prime condition, they may be able to continue on their journey without a problem. But if your pipes are older, have tree roots or spidering from other landscaping issues, or blockage in any way, these “flushable” wipes get caught and begin causing problems.
Traditional toilet paper typically dissolves in 24 hours or less. Wet wipes may take weeks, even months to dissolve. And therein lies the problem.
Even when a wet wipe makes it past your home sewer system, it sill may cause problems down the road. As it moves into your local sewage treatment plant, it can clog up lines and pipes, especially if large quantities hit at similar times. While the problem may be “out of site, out of mind” for you, ultimately we all pay when large problems must be fixed at the municipal level – it comes back to us in the price of our water bill.
Think before you flush. It really does impact all of us.