Anyone who has ever raised a tiny human will tell you that, at least in the first few years, there is a lot of tiny human waste to manage. Baby wipes make it manageable and convenient but what do you do with them once you’re all cleaned up? Can you flush baby wipes?
Can You Flush Baby Wipes?
The short answer is no, you shouldn’t flush baby wipes.
One of the best features of baby wipes is their ability to stay together when wet. That’s why we use them; so that we can wipe bums without worrying about the paper disintegrating in our hands. And that is the one feature that makes them so destructive to home plumbing and sewer pipes.
Toilet paper is designed to disintegrate when it comes in contact with water. It breaks down quickly and easily, allowing it to flow through pipes to the waste management plant for further processing. Baby wipes travel through those same pipes in the exact same form as you flush them. They never break down and so present a high risk of clogging pipes and sewer lines.
Remember that it’s never just one baby wipe that causes a clogged pipe. It’s that one baby wipe that maybe becomes entangled in tree roots that have penetrated the pipe, or gets caught up in some dental floss that someone else flushed, or gets stuck in the pipe with some cooking oil that has congealed in the pipes. It’s not pretty, but this is what happens.
What About Flushable Baby Wipes?
Even so-called ‘flushable’ baby wipes should not be flushed. Despite claims from manufacturers that they are ‘biodegradable’, or ‘septic safe’, or ‘flush-safe’, the proof is in the sewer systems. Since these have been widely introduced the problem has only grown larger and larger as major sewer systems not only have to filter, and then dispose of, these waste materials, but they also have to manage the large ‘balls’ of fabric-like material that clog pipes and cause major concern.
The Best Way to Dispose of Baby Wipes
Unfortunately, the best way to dispose of used baby wipes is to throw them into the garbage. The fibers and additives in baby wipes make throwing them away the only option for disposal.
Composting might be an option if you have found an all natural, compostable baby wipe. As with many things though, there is a bit of a compromise. While these baby wipes may be compostable, they are also not as durable as other baby wipes. Worth a try though; a little bit of inconvenience to save the planet might just be worth it.