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Can you flush baby wipes, or any kind of wipes, when you have a septic system? There are so many kinds of wipes these days – baby wipes, medicated wipes, wet wipes, makeup wipes, lotion wipes, cleansing wipes, deodorant wipes and more – and some of their manufacturers insist they’re flushable. Yes, they’ll flush, but should you?

The simple answer is no. Wipes are on the list of items that should never be flushed, especially if you have a septic system. Even the wipes that are marketed specifically for bathroom use and say “flushable” can cause real havoc to your septic system. In fact, pumpers agree that flushing wipes cause problems for sewer systems as well.

If you don’t have a septic system, you probably won’t notice any issues from flushing wipes. The problems happen in older sewer pipes made of clay, iron, concrete or Orangeburg. Flushing wipes often causes clogs in older pipes, especially if tree roots have invaded the pipes. When wipes make it through the pipes, they can damage pumps at sewer treatment plants too.

Flushing Wipes Causes Numerous Problems to Septic Systems

Flushing wipes when you have a septic tank is even worse because they don’t disintegrate in water. Personal wipes tend to have plastic resins in them and are very durable. Just try to pull one apart! If you read our guide to the best toilet paper for a septic tank, we provide an easy water test that shows if your toilet paper breaks down easily in water. Some don’t and are not recommended for septic systems. When we tried the test on “flushable wipes,” none of them broke down in water.

What can happen if wipes are flushed into your septic system?

  • The chemicals in them offset the bacterial balance in the tank.
  • Wipes can plug your septic tank and cause it to back up in your house.
  • Grease, fat and, grime collect with the wipes and create huge clogs called fatbergs.
  • An accumulation of wipes prevents the tank from separating solids from the water.
  • If you have an aeration system, wipes build up on the air distribution system and cause failures.

Obviously, you don’t want any of these issues. Wipes of all kinds are better put in the garbage can. If you’re concerned because wipes have been flushed into your septic system, give us a call.