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The Story of the Flushable Wipes That Almost Cost Me $320!

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flushable wipes in garbage can

So as most of you may know by now, my family and I have recently moved to Reno, NV where we’re in the planning stages of renovating a 1950s ranch for our new family home. Coming into this experience, we were so proud of how many of our old belongings we were able to purge so that we could start fresh in this new home! However, we weren’t greeted with the freshest experience…

don't flush flushable wipes down into the plumbing – sink and shower with backup in plumbing

After moving in, it became clear something was seriously wrong with our plumbing system. 😧 The pictures above are the evidence of the disgusting sewer backups we were experiencing. Excuse me while I go throw up…🤢

Our realtor had gotten us a home warranty on the house (which had really come in handy for our NON-working AC Unit), so we thought, “Great! We’re totally covered!” … NOT. Unfortunately for us, sewer issues aren’t covered by the home warranty at all.

We had never experienced any plumbing problems like this in our old home, but now I’m realizing that may be because we had a bidet system on our toilets.

Let me tell you, bidets are the most incredible investment ever. Seriously, once you go bidet, you NEVER go back to the old way! 😜 It’s like a shower for your butt without having to take the time to actually get in the shower (is that too much info?). 😂 Either way, we’re anxiously awaiting to have them installed on the toilets once the reno is complete.

We called in a plumber to come fix the issue and after troubleshooting a couple different causes, he found the culprit — Flushable wipes. Yup! Something that’s advertised (in the name no less) actually isn’t supposed to be used for its intended purpose — what the heck?!

Naturally, this both confused and upset me, so I gave the flushable wipe company’s customer service a call. To my surprise, the customer service rep was actually so gracious in this situation as they not only refunded me for the wipes that I purchased on Amazon, but they are sending me a prepaid Visa card with the amount we paid to the plumber as reimbursement for the clogged pipes! WOW!

don't flush flushable wipes down into the plumbing – plumbing bill for flushable wipe backup issues

I love great customer service and I was pleased to get that reaction from the company. That’s $320 I don’t need to stress about losing. Luckily, this not so pleasant situation had a happy ending for my family, but that’s not always the case. In fact, this problem is becoming all too common.

One of my team members, Amber, is married to a Public Works Sewer foreman, so he gave us the lowdown on why flushable wipes are so bad for sewer pipes. 🚽

Flushable wipes are bad because they don’t break down as fast as toilet paper when they are flushed, meaning they back up your sewer.

Even if they flush, they cause issues in your actual piping.

It’s even worse if they make it through your private sewer lines. This ends up causing problems in the public sewer lines, meaning it causes plumbing issues for you and your neighbors.

This is actually becoming a well-known issue among consumers and there are groups dedicated to raising more awareness, like nomorewipes.com.

Wipes actually cause 90% of sewer related issues.

Um, YIKES! 😱 Who knew these seemingly safe wipes could cause so much damage. You can bet that my family and I are going to be way more conscious about what we try flushing. Below are the dos and don’ts that our plumbing expert shared with us:

Do flush things that are safe:

don't flush flushable wipes down into the plumbing – scott toilet paper with septic safe label

  • Toilet paper labeled as septic safe

Yeah, that’s it. A good rule of thumb — if it’s not toilet paper or human waste, DON’T flush it! Instead, toss it in a garbage can nearby to dispose of it. If you have a poor plumbing or a septic system, you’ll want to be extra careful with the type of toilet paper you flush. Recommended brands include:

Don’t flush things that are not safe:

  • Flushable wipes (or any other wipes for that matter)
  • Tampons and sanitary napkins
  • Tissues
  • Paper towels
  • Anything that’s NOT toilet paper

Anyway, I’m glad that nightmare is over and it’s certainly a lesson learned. Now we can get back to the renovation so I can start sharing my money-saving home improvement tips! 🏡


Join The Discussion

Comments 143

  1. Mary J

    My dad has owned a plumbing corporation for over 40 years. I have also worked there for 20 years. Everyday we snake and her sewer lines. We constantly find “flushable” wipes in lines. We tell our customers that “FLUSHABLE WIPES ARE NOT FLUSHABLE” . Do not use them or if you do, put them in the trash. Also DO NOT use Draino or other liquids to pour down your drain that claim to unclog your pipes. They do not work & cause damage to your pipes.

    • Mamamia

      So what do we use in place of draino?

      • Steph B

        Rotor rooter … have your drains snakes by a professional.

        My husband is a plumber and that draino burns your skin! Gross!! Draini is not safe for our plumbers, your family or the environment. Also, if you are taking propor care of your home and not flushing or washing things down drains that you shouldn’t be, you shouldn’t have a problem. Also keeping in mind that your plumbing in good shape for obvious reasons if your in an older home it’s most likely galvanized not copper and if it’s done cheaply it’s pvc.

      • Stacy

        Our plumber suggested that we pour two 2-liters of Coke (regular, not diet) down the drain about once a month, and let it set overnight, then run water down the drain in the morning. It will get rid of any hairballs or residue in the pipe, and is much easier on the pipes than Drano.

        • Steph B

          I checked with my hubby (plumber) and he said if they have too, he uses TRIFT.

  2. Mary J

    ***snake & jet lines

    • Patricia Goff

      We have always used snakes and they work well. We have called a plumber once in 15 years and had our septic system emptied twice in 15 years. We are very careful with what goes down the drain and toilet. We use Rid-X and a root killer once a month. Works wonders. The septic man told us not to flush wipes down the toilet years ago.

  3. Susan Crawford

    I have always had a septic system. So I do not use the flushable wipes. Yes they are great for cleaning yourself up, but not for going down the toilet. Many years ago my niece decided to flush her tampons. She got a quick lesson when we had to have the septic tank pumped and she got to see where her tampons went and her Dad had to pay to have the tank pumped, $200.00 worth. That never happened again. Other than toilet paper, I put Rid x once a month.

  4. Monica

    Flushable wipes are also very bad if you are on a well and have lift pumps. Friends of ours have had three lift pumps go bad because the women in their family insisted on flushing their wipes which cause them to wrap around the lift pump like a rope and can clog it or even cause it to burn up. They’ve had sewage floating in their basement all three times because of the wipes. Ours always go in the trash!

  5. Malia

    I got a bidet on Amazon for like $25! That thing works AMAZING and I was able to install it myself, and it works great! I thought it was a good way to try it out without spending the big bucks to have a more professional unit installed and not know if I would like it or use it……now I know, it’s great, and you are right, once you go bidet, you never go back!

    • prncsnyc

      Malia, can you post a link to the one you bought?

  6. Me

    Im sure that in a few weeks we are going to see some post about this wipes being on sale. Just watch..

    • jen

      Or post about best bidets..

    • Just passing through

      Lol every time they’re posted someone warns that they’re not flushable.

    • Aleshia Jones

      It would be great if this site reimbursed people for products when they fail to work as stated and as praised about. I trusted this site months ago when they did a personal post like this on how amazing the ordinary face products were. It has been anything but. My skin was not horrible before. It is now. I have never had a reaction like this to any product. I have active acne all over my face now. Even on my chest where I also used this item. I have tried everything and will now have to book a dermatologist and spend big bucks in hope that they may be able to fix the acne and the scarring.

      • AZ

        Did you patch test before using the products? You should always do that before trying anything new, especially when it comes to skincare. Everyone’s results may vary…nothing is guaranteed to work for everyone. Hope that you find something that works.

    • Jenna

      Ha! There was a post on the Kandoo wipes yesterday! The post didn’t mention this post, but someone in the comments did.

  7. Jo

    When you use a bidet don’t you still need to “wipe” to get completely clean and then to dry? Seems like your pants would be stinky and wet if not lol

    • Chloe Smuk

      I just asked my hubby this same thing.

    • Urvi

      I’m told you bidet to clean and use toilet paper to “dry”.

    • 50ShadesofLipstick

      Lol no…the water is what gets you completely clean! So there’s no smell obviously, because there’s no fecal matter remaining when you’re done (unlike when you use toilet paper alone). You don’t necessarily need toilet paper to dry yourself after either, since it’s not a ton of water but a small stream…most people might use a single square though, or a washcloth (the greener option) to dry themselves afterwards.

    • Susan

      Jo, I just use a clean washcloth to pat myself dry afterwards because toilet paper will make a mess. No different that drying off after a shower.

  8. Sharon

    How awesome that the company stepped up and reimbursed you for the plumber. Great customer service!

  9. Amanda

    So smart!!

  10. Holleywood

    Thanks for the info!! Another thing you should be leery with is using on a regular basis are those pre-filled dish detergent packs (and laundry pods). My parents had a horrible plumbing emergency about 2 years ago and you should have seen the huge plastic wad of fused together gunk that did not disintegrate from using them.. Apparently using the laundry and dish pods can build up and not pass through the plumbing system that well.. The plumber said it was pretty common!! Who knew?? I quit using those products the day I saw what they got out of their pipes!!

    • Laura

      Yes, that is a great reminder Holleywood! I don’t use those but never thought of that, it does make sense though.

    • Patricia Goff

      I so agree. I don’t use the pods since they say they are unsafe for kids and are to expensive for my budget but that would be another great reason. I stopped using powder detergent after a close friend had to have her pipes replaced (or cleaned) because of all the build up of the undissolved powder.

  11. iamkris10

    We have bidet attachments on two of our three toilets. Nobody wants to go #2 in the one without.
    Also- as a mom of young ones- we’ve saved $ from a cut back in TP use (and excessive use) and I’ve dealt with fewer ‘tracked’ underpants in the wash. You wash your hands with water if you get mud on them. Why would you just wipe your rear and not wash it too?

    • ILoveTX

      EXACTLY! If you spilled peanut butter on your rug, you wouldn’t use a paper towel to clean it off! LOL

  12. Rachael

    Yes we recently learned this also when our septic tank was having issues. I no longer flush wipes or tampons down the toilet.

  13. Sue

    I don’t like new houses. most around me are vinyl cheap pieces of junk. They degrade the few and far between quality homes that are being built and were built many many years ago. Go away vinyl forever!

  14. Laura

    If you have septic or a grinder do not put ANYTHING in the toilet other than toilet paper. And even then, do not use a ton of toilet paper, only enough to get the job done. If it says its flushable, it is not, do not believe the packaging ever! No tampons, pads, flushable wipes, TISSUES, paper towels, etc. Sorry to say but while 2 ply feels better, it still can be too much for some septic systems and grinders. $320 is actually quite cheap for a fix, and wow what great customer service that you were blessed with!

  15. Joy

    There is a class action lawsuit pending for Up & Up flushable wipes. I got a postcard in mail about lawsuit but we don’t ever flush them and we use regular baby wipes as potty wipes (larger

    • Joy

      Baby wipes go in trash and they work better

  16. sarann27

    Goodness what questions. It could have simply been that she got an awesome customer service rep who felt inclined to go the extra mile, give her every benefit of the doubt, trust her word and make her day. #itdoeshappen

    • sarann27

      That was for @S.C

  17. *Angela-Miles*

    I’ve never flushed the wipes. I mainly use them when its my time of the month but I’ve never put them in the toilet. And I had no idea people put Tampons in the toilet, that’s crazy to me lol…I thought when I first started using them they would clog the drain if I ever did.
    Sorry for the troubles you had Collin, but I’m glad they helped you out girl 🙂 !!!!
    Also I’ve known someone whose toliet backed up and the plumber said Charmin can be bad for it lol. Never heard that before but after she told me, I was glad I didn’t use Charmin. It’s too soft for my taste and I don’t like the little fuzzies ;-).
    Lastly clogged drains are also why I fear using pods for laundry and things. Im not sure they would clog it but just to be on the safe side I stick with liquid and then recycle the bottle 🙂 🙂

  18. acgold

    For those who asked about keeping drains clear- Once a month I pour boiling water down the drains, then vinegar and a little Dawn, let that sit and then more boiling water. This cleans out the conditioner and shampoo buildup that slows the shower drain too.

  19. Aleshia Jones

    Okay so, the people before you flushed the wipes down. You called the wipes company and they reimbursed you. Which is great and all, but how in the world would you know which wipe brand was being used? It doesnt make any sense to me o ask for some kind of reimbursement unless you knew which wipes were use.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Hi Aleshia, Great question and sorry for the confusion. Our family actually caused the issue. My kiddos, hubby, and me were using the flushable wipes and flushing them down the toilet, so we did know the brand.

  20. Gala Moss

    What bidet do you recommend?

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Hi there! We used TOTO bidet toilet seats in our prior home and were very pleased with them. Here’s a link to the ones available on Amazon – https://amzn.to/2PG9NKB

  21. Sue Lewis

    Welcome to Reno, Collin!! You will love it here – nice folks and so much to do! I’m looking forward to hearing about deals @ the stores we actually have – lol!
    PS – We also have a septic and learned about the wipes. Pumper told us twice that our septic tank was “full of paper towels”. We never, ever flush paper towels. I called the company and they just said: “the wipes didn’t ‘damage’ the tank, just clogged it”. This was 23 years ago.

  22. Sarah

    I would like to add my favorite brand for softness and value – Angel Soft
    When I checked the package I found the Septic Safe label and symbol

  23. Sarah

    OMG, we had the same problem. A big mess, backed up in garage and down stairs bathroom. Lesson learned, we dispose of them in the trash.

  24. Cobe vizio

    Yep…….we had same problem!

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