‘Flushable’ wipes are causes blockages – what a drain!

Paul Harmer

Paul Harmer

When labels are telling homeowners that the moisture wipes they’re using are flushable, it’s understandable as to why they’re flushing them down the toilet. However, in recent news reports it has come to light that these products claiming to be flushable, may after all, not be so drain friendly.

Although this is really the responsibility to the manufactuer of these products, with wipes being such a substantial reason for blocked drains, plumbers may want to start considering advising their customers about the potential damage and cost these wipes can cause.

HPM asked Paul Harmer, technical director of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), for his opinion.

“So called ‘flushable wipes’ have long been a problem, with consumers thinking they will break down when flushed just like toilet paper,” Paul commented. “The fact is that most wet wipes contain plastic fibers – which are not biodegradable – they simply won’t disintegrate and will cause blockages in sewer systems.

“The only way to change the situation is to educate the public. Only toilet paper and bodily waste should be flushed down the loo. To this end the CIPHE backs water industry calls to add, “do not flush” warnings on products such as wet wipes, cotton buds, sanitary items and nappies. To brand something as ‘flushable’ when it clearly isn’t needs to stop.”