Up until a few years ago when my wife and I had our first child, I never knew how versatile baby wipes could be. Sure, we use them to wipes our kids’ bottoms when changing them, but they also work great for picking up just about any mess.
If you go through as many baby wipes as we do, and you’ve started going through the potty training process, you’ve probably asked yourself at some point in time whether or not you can simply flush the wipes after your child has finished their duties.
In this article, I’ll go over whether or not it’s safe to flush baby wipes and what can happen when you do.
Are Baby Wipes Flushable?
Generally speaking, you should not flush baby wipes. Unlike toilet paper, baby wipes are not manufactured to break down when wet. In fact, they contain a lot of moisture already, which is what makes them so great for cleaning up messes.
Since they do not break down in the presence of moisture like toilet paper does, you should never flush them. Doing so is asking for a clog to form in your drain pipe. Even if you don’t cause a clog, you’re going to cause problems down the line either in your septic system (if you have one) or the sewer system.
One point I should mention is that there are now “flushable” baby wipes available on the market, some that even say they’re septic safe. While these wipes are marketed as being safe to flush, they’re not all created equally.
Many tests have been done that show that most brands of “flushable” wipes take a very long time to break down in water, with some not breaking down at all after soaking overnight.
When these wipes go through the sewer system and don’t break down, even if they don’t cause a noticeable clog, they can get caught on tree roots further down the line that have worked their way into the piping system or even get wrapped around the pump propellers, leading to costly repairs.
Ideally, avoid flushing all wipes, even the ones that are touted as being safe to flush.
How to Properly Dispose of Baby Wipes
If flushing isn’t an option, what should you do with your baby wipes? Well, this one is pretty simple. You have one of two options, depending on the materials used to make your baby wipes.
Most baby wipes contains synthetic materials and chemicals. For these types of wipes, your only legitimate option is to simply throw them away. Although this might not sound ideal, it’s actually the best thing to do. This is why wet wipes are considered to be so bad for our planet.
The other option is for certain brands of biodegradable wipes is composting. Some of these wipes can be composted, because they’re made with natural materials and don’t contain harmful chemicals.
This is a much better option than simply throwing wipes away, but make sure the packaging specifically states that they are compostable.
I don’t think anyone would argue with the statement that baby wipes are a convenience item, and the ability to flush wet wipes down the toilet would make them even more convenient. Unfortunately, that’s simply not safe to do, even with the ones that are marketed as being flushable.
Instead, you have two options, which are to throw them away or to compost them (if you buy wipes that are safe to compost). Although it’s never ideal to simply throw something away, it’s much better than the alternative in this case. It’s simply the price you pay to use a convenience item.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.
Saturday 6th of November 2021
Screw them. That's the towns problem. I'm simply not jumping thru hoops to dispose of something that should be flushable. In 40 years I've never had a baby wipe clog the toilet. I've had plenty of turds clog it though. So if we're playing the odds, I'm flushing the baby wipe.
Maybe the town should design their system to accommodate common everyday usage.