As a consumer in Australia, you’re probably aware of the popularity rise in wet wipe products on supermarket shelves in recent years. As a multi-purpose product, their usage as a toilet paper substitute has grown commonplace in Australian homes.
The word “flushable” may appear on the package, signalling to consumers that they are safe to flush down the toilet. On the other hand, your water service provider is likely to hold a different viewpoint!
In reality, these “flushable” wipes are not only clogging our home plumbing systems, but they are also contributing to something considerably more severe…
Flushable WipeConsumers are Part of a Multibillion-Dollar Issue!
Despite the marketing,”flushable” wipes are causing problems farther down the pipe network, with clearing clogs costing governments millions of dollars.
Wet wipes are a significant contributor to the 3,500 blocked drain obstructions that occur each year in Sydney’s sewage system; it’s believed that they generate up to 75% of all sewer network blockages.
As a result, emergency plumbers face a physically challenging duty of regularly clearing system clogs. According to Sydney Water, wipes cause up to 75% of blocked drains, and they spend upwards of $8 million a year removing 500 tonnes of wet wipes. And it’s only going to become bigger!
According to reputable blocked drain plumbers, when toilet paper comes into touch with water, it loses its strength and breaks down into tiny pieces, resulting in a minimal risk of blocked sewers. While you may think flushable wipes would lose their potency and break down like toilet paper, leaving wastewater and plumbing systems unaffected, this is simply not the case.
CHOICE conducted a test in which they immersed several wipes and toilet paper in water for 20 hours and stirred them. In less than three minutes, the toilet paper had entirely dissolved. However, for the whole 20-hour period, none of the wipes split apart. This experiment clearly demonstrates the issue with flushable wipes.
While flushable wipes constitute a significant challenge for the wastewater business and blocked drain plumbers, you as a customer aren’t immune to the issues. For example, one woman reported to Sydney Water that flushing these so-called “flushable” wipes resulted in a $16,000 emergency plumber bill!
What About Flushable Biodegradable Wipes?
Even with biodegradable wipes marketed as “flushable”, the solution remains the same: wipes should not be flushed down the toilet. The advantage of biodegradable wipes is that you may compost them instead of tossing them in your ordinary trash and sending them to a landfill. They will degrade over time and are harmless for the environment because they are constructed of natural materials. That doesn’t mean they’ll dissolve quickly when flushed; they still have the potential to require the help of a blocked drain plumber to unclog your toilet or sewage system.
Is It Possible to Flush Baby Wipes?
No, baby wipes cannot be flushed. Like conventional “flushable” wipes, baby wipes are meant to be resilient so they can readily clean up your child’s messes. This means they won’t break down readily in your toilet, putting you in danger of a clogged toilet and all the chaos that entails.
How Do You Get Rid of Flushable Wipes?
According to reputable emergency plumbers, flushable wipes may only be disposed of in one way: in the trash! The most straightforward approach to avoid wipe-related obstructions in your plumbing system and further down the line in the sewage system is to dispose of your wipes properly. There’s also less of a possibility that they’ll wind up in our environment, where they may do even more harm.
How to Clear a Blocked Toilet
Toilet blockages can be aggravating and annoying, toilets can get blocked for a variety of causes, but the indicators are generally one or more of the following:
- When flushed, the toilet basin fills to the brim and only slowly drains away.
- When flushed, the pipes make gurgling and sucking noises.
- The water in the toilet bowl isn’t draining correctly.
Blocked toilets are not only uncomfortable, but they may also turn into an expensive emergency plumbing issue if not addressed quickly. But, as is always the case, prevention is far more cost-effective than treatment. For example, you may not need to hire a blocked drain plumber if everyone in your home knows what causes toilets to become blocked.
However, you can do a few things if you find yourself with a toilet blocked with flushable wipes. To clear the obstruction, you can grab your plunger and plunge away. While this may remove the wipe obstruction for the time being, who knows how much is building up in your pipes that you can’t see.
Instead, getting a professional emergency plumber out for a CCTV drain check and hydro jet drain cleaning is the best line of action. This will not only eliminate the wipe obstruction, but it will also clean your pipes better than ever!
Emergency plumbers don’t just clear blocked drains and toilets. Instead, they advise residents on the cause of the plumbing issue and provide easy-to-understand solutions to prevent problems from recurring. It’s essential to address your plumbing issues while still potentially minor to avoid inconvenient and increased costs.
How Much does a Blocked Drain Plumber Cost?
Most homeowners will opt for a cheaper DIY option to fix their blocked drain and toilet as these days there are many drain cleaning products available on the market. However, most of these products are simply gimmicks and can even cause severe damage as acid-based drain cleaners can cause corrosion to metal pipes within your drain system leading to tremendous problems later.
On the other hand, a professional blocked drain plumber will be more costly, but you can ensure the long-term functionality of your plumbing. The cost of blocked drain services depends entirely on a case-by-case scenario, as the problem and solution vary greatly.
For example, a simple blockage caused by organic debris such as food scraps in the kitchen sink can be quick and cheap to fix. However, a blockage of flushable wipes in your sewer pipes is much more difficult and expensive to resolve.