Toilets, we visit them on a regular basis, whether it’s a quick trip or a more substantial session with a scan of the newspaper, we take them for granted. We expect that they will work just as they did yesterday or the day before. It’s when they don’t work as a result of toilet blockages that we realise just how much we rely on them.

In order to keep our sewer system running smoothly and prevent toilet blockages there are a number of things we can do or not do as the case may be.  We are fairly knowledgeable about what we can put down the toilet, but the list of what we can’t put down the toilet is longer – feminine hygiene products including applicators, flushable wipes, dental floss, paper towels, empty toilet rolls, fish, rings and even false teeth.
We all know not to flush most of these items but one item on this list is commonly found but not commonly known….

Flushable wipes

There are a number of ‘flushable’ wipes on the market that claim to break down in our sewer system much like toilet paper does. We can say with certainty that the only thing that breaks down like toilet paper is toilet paper. On average toilet paper takes a couple of minutes to break down, whereas wipes take up to 21 hours to start breaking down. Toilet paper is the only non-human digested item that should be put anywhere near a toilet bowl.

Supermarket retailer Aldi has recently removed their flushable wipes from their shelves due to consumer and ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) backlash. The ACCC has also recently taken Kimberly-Clark the company that owns the brand Kleenex to court over its false “flushable” claims.

These wipes cause blockages in your own pipes before leaving your property, causing nasty back-flows. If you are lucky enough not to get any of these wipes caught then they go further downstream causing havoc for Water services and treatment plants. These entities spend millions of dollars every year unblocking drains and removing the solid waste from our wastewater. As wipes have become more popular they have had to spend more money and time removing them, costing us as the taxpayer.

So, what’s our advice to avoid toilet blockages?

Avoid these products at all costs! If you really do want to use wet wipes, then be sure to dispose of them properly (in a dedicated toilet bin, for example).

No one’s saying that these wipes can’t be enjoyed; but why expose yourself to the potential for a huge plumbing bill, when you could avoid the risk and make use of an easy flushing experience for years to come?

Remember NO wipes down the pipes!