Baby wipes are convenient and save time, until they cause inconvenient and costly plumbing issues in your home and our sanitary sewer system due to clogged pipes and sewage backups. Wipes of all types can make family clean ups a snap. Just remember to dispose of baby wipes in the trash along with surface cleaning wipes, paper towels, cotton balls and swabs. When it comes to deciding what to flush down the toilet, Stick to the three P’s: pee, poo and toilet paper. Wipes have to go in the trash.
The problem with wipes is that they will not disintegrate in water, so they damage pumps, pipes and other equipment at wastewater facilities, resulting in expensive repair and replacement of equipment. No wipes are flushable, even if the packaging says so. Wipes have sat in their packaging for months, yet when you pull them out they are wet. If they don’t disintegrate while being removed from the package that is a good indication they will not disintegrate when flushed.
Some wipes contain plastic in their weave, and when they get a little beat up they release microplastics that are not going to be removed by the treatment process. Those microplastics can be harmful to fish and other aquatic life.
When consumers flush a wipe, it travels through their plumbing and lateral sewage line to the main sewer line and then heads downstream, traveling through a network of pipes and pump stations on their way to the wastewater treatment facility. Once at the pump station, wipes clog the pump station equipment, resulting in greatly increased maintenance and potential pump failure.
The solution is simple, don’t flush wipes — any kind of wipe.