Toilets are Not Garbage Disposals

Imagine your world without indoor plumbing. There is something wonderful about the fact that water magically appears from the tap and the toilets take away our waste. Some people believe that toilets are the most important invention in the modern world. In most cases, the flush toilet requires very little maintenance other than cleaning and the occasional plunging, unless you decide to flush anything other than toilet paper and human waste. If you decide to use your toilet as a trash can, you could have some major problems and messes.

The Problem with the Word “Flushable”

Homeowners who have flushed items that are marketed as “flushable” have discovered that those items are not really flushable. A family that discovered this uncomfortable truth is suing the store that sells the products that clogged their toilets and created a mess in their home. The class action suit focuses on the fact that flushable wipes are misleading to the public. Other than toilet paper, nothing else sold in a store should be flushed down the toilet. Many of the products that are marketed as flushable do not disintegrate as quickly as toilet paper.

When people flush non-flushable items down the toilet, the problems are not just for homeowners. Cities also suffer. From clogged toilets and pipes to flooded basements and messy wastewater treatment facilities, non-flushable items really are a problem. Homeowners have to dig deeply to repair plumbing problems and in some cases they have to dip into their insurance policies. Along with flushable wipes, there are plenty of other items that people should not flush, including dirty diapers, paper towels, facial tissue, and feminine hygiene products.

Taking Care of Clogged Toilets and Pipes

Many times, a handy home plunger will take care of the clog. Unfortunately, this is not always the case because the item you flushed could get clogged further down into your plumbing system. You might have to use a plumbing snake, which can be seriously messy and smelly. Or, you might have to call your local plumber, which can be an expensive endeavor. Your toilet could overflow, which can damage your bathroom, your floor, the ceiling, and even the floor below if your toilet is upstairs. The worst possible scenario is that the clog happens in the pipe that goes directly to the sewer system. In this situation, your plumber will have to dig into your yard and possibly into the street. This could be very expensive and could also increase your homeowner’s insurance rates.

Issues in the City Pipes

Your city’s sewer system could also have problems from people flushing too many non-flushable items down their toilets. Wastewater treatment facilities are designed to work with organic human waste material and toilet paper. The facilities are not designed to break down diapers or flushable wipes, so those items could damage the sewage treatment plant systems. These wipes get stuck in pumps and pipes, which can get rather expensive to fix. Some wastewater treatment plants have actually sued companies that flush too many wipes after determining those companies were the sources of the clogged pipes that were causing troubles at the public facility.

Solving the Problem is Easy

In a comparison between toilet paper and “flushable wipes,” the wipes needed more than 30 minutes to even begin to breakdown in water. Toilet paper only needed a few seconds. The problem with flushable wipes, including baby wipes and household wipes, is that they are labeled to be flushed. If the word “flushable” was taken off of the packaging, then the problem would not be as bad.

The best advice for homeowners who do not want to create plumbing problems is to only flush toilet paper and human waste - nothing else.