No, please don't flush your disposable wipes down the toilet

Mar 23 2020, 6:29 pm

With disposable cleansing and disinfectant wipes now a common supply in households and businesses across Canada, municipal governments are warning the public to not flush these wipes down the toilet.

While such wipes made by various brands, as outlined by Health Canada, can be used to neutralize the coronavirus on hard surfaces, they are not meant for the toilet pipes.

These wipes can clog building pipes, resulting in necessary expensive work by a plumber that effectively reduces a household’s ability to practice physical distancing and self-isolation during the pandemic.

Moreover, for municipal governments, the accumulation of wipes in sewer systems may create severe blockages and necessitate emergency construction repairs.

“Disinfecting wipes, paper towel, baby wipes and other unflushable materials, even those listed as toilet safe, flushable or compostable, must be disposed in the garbage. These products don’t break down fast enough in our sewer system, creating blockages that can lead to broken pipes and costly fixes,” said the City of Vancouver (COV) in an email to Daily Hive.

Unlike the soft materials of toilet paper that allow for the ease of biodegradation, wipes are made of sheets of polyester, polypropylene, cotton, wood, pulp, or rayon fibres.

The City of Toronto (COT) has a similar position on how wipes are to be disposed of, adding that “these can damage your plumbing and cause blockages in City sewer pipes — which can then lead to basement flooding. And when these sewer blockages occur, it takes City staff away from other critical services to resolve them.”

“Please protect our sewer system,” added COT.

Only toilet paper can be flushed down a toilet. All wipes and other materials belong in the garbage.

“If you’re sick or caring for someone who is sick, please double bag all waste in plastic garbage bags. Securely tie all bags shut and dispose of as regular residential garbage,” continued COV.

The municipal governments of Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal also have similar policies with how the wipes are to be disposed of.