The truth about "flushable" wipes

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The Problem

The product advertised as "flushable wipes" is offered as an alternative to toilet paper. While some people may like the comfort and convenience of packaged wipes, the way they are disposed of can create a problem for individual homeowners or the community at large. 

Flushable wipes do flush - they travel down your toilet drain after you push the lever. But that's where the compatibility between wipes and your plumbing system ends. 

  • They aren’t biodegradable (break down in water), so they aren’t suitable for sewer systems. 

  • They combine with fat, grease and oil (FOG) and cause sewer blockages (fatbergs)

  • They can lodge in the sewer main. 

  • They can clog the pumps at the lift station and cause them to burn out.  

  • Flushable Wipes clogged pump   (Pictured left: Pipe clogged with flushable wipes.)

    The Solution

    Don't use "flushable" wipes!

    But if you must use them, dispose of them in a bag which you then place in your garbage can, much like you would a soiled baby diaper. 


    Wipes combine with FOG (fat, oil and grease) to create fatbergs. The sewage industry created the name "fatberg" because the incidence of these giant clogs was becoming commonplace and needed its own name. They're becoming way too common around the world and have increased with the rise in use of "flushable" wipes.

    Some fatbergs are even famous. Check out the infamous London Whitechapel fatberg of 2017 at 

    While being famous can be fun, sewer backups are costly in money and time. If the blockage is in a service line, the homeowner will end up with a big bill for repairs. If the blockage is in a public main, the repair cost is passed along to the taxpayers. 

    All of the following items are commonly used in the bathroom, but please do NOT flush them down the toilet. If you do, you might meet them in a future fatberg:

    • wipes, either for babies or grown-ups. 
    • feminine hygiene products
    • cotton balls or swabs,
    • dental floss
    • paper towels
    • tissue
    • medications
    • plastic packaging
    • cigarette butts