At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, many people were stocking up on toilet paper. This left many others without any TP at all and looking for other alternatives. Although plenty are available, the sad truth is that none of them are flushable. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your residential plumbing system isn’t harmed.
Toilet Paper Alternatives
Many alternatives are available if you are looking for a low-waste solution to toilet paper.
Baby wipes are a common choice, as well as adult “flushable” wipes. These are the most similar to toilet paper which is why they are the second most used solution.
Women’s sanitary pads are designed to be absorbent so they can last much longer than regular toilet paper.
Reusable cloth, sometimes called a family cloth, is a piece of fabric that can be used to wipe after using the restroom. You can wash this in the washing machine and reuse many times.
Napkins and paper towels are in nearly every home so they’re easy to come by when you run out of toilet paper or are researching other options.
Facial tissue is another common choice since it is so similar to toilet paper in size, texture, and absorbency.
Towels, washcloths, T-shirts, sheets, and other household fabrics have also been known to be used in place of toilet paper since they are quite soft and somewhat absorbent.
Why They Aren’t Flushable
Sadly, none of the above options should ever be flushed down the toilet or any other residential plumbing drain or pipe. Even “flushable” wipes are not safe. Toilet paper is designed to easily disintegrate and often takes 30 seconds or less of agitation to nearly disappear in the water. Flushable wipes, on the other hand, can take up to 6 minutes of agitation, and that’s after pre-soaking for an hour.
Napkins and tissues are designed to withstand frequent wiping, wet and dirty messes, and 100 mph sneezes. This durability makes them difficult to break down and can clog your septic system. It should also be obvious that towels, T-shirts, and other household fabrics are not safe to flush for the same reason.
What Happens if They’re Flushed?
If you flush large amounts of these toilet paper alternatives, or flush small amounts frequently, you can end up doing real damage to your septic system. These items can all cause clogs, since they don’t break down easily, which leads to back-ups of sewage in your sinks, tubs, and toilets. If your residential plumbing is connected to a community septic tank, you can end up causing this back-up to everyone on your block. Regardless, you’ll need to call for your local septic tank services to come out and fix the problem.
For Residential Plumbing or Septic Tank Services, Call Hulsey Environmental
From clogged pipes to leaky drains, the residential plumbing experts at Hulsey are here to help. We provide a wide variety of plumbing services to residents of North Georgia. Whether you’re residential or commercial, need septic tank services or used cooking oil recycling, give us a call or contact us online.