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What can be flushed?

Mar 13, 2023 | Blog

From baby wipes to paper towels it seems like everyone is set on telling us what we can’t flush these days, and honestly, that’s for good reason. Products with low flushability can cause serious damage to wastewater systems and water treatment facilities, not to mention the havoc those products wreak on plumbing in our own homes. That leaves us with a great question, what can be flushed down the toilet?

Truly, most things cannot. The good news is there are some creature comforts that we can still flush away guilt-free.

Toilet paper
A fairly obvious choice, toilet paper is designed to break down quickly in water to be safely flushed. There is a wide range of toilet paper options on the market today. Some brands focus on softness, quantity of sheets, and even recycled status. Another key factor toilet paper brands will tout is how easily they break down in septic tanks and sewer systems.

(Some) Flushable wipes
There was a time when we had to swear off all “flushable” wipes as it became obvious that they were at fault for major issues with city sewers and water treatment plants. Well, Kimberly-Clark, the manufacturer of popular paper product brands like Kleenex and Cottonelle, created its own Flushability Lab in a town called Neenah, Wisconsin to get to the bottom of what it means to be truly flushable. Possibly inspired by the fact that South Carolina’s Charleston Water System actually sued the company, among others, for contributing to problems with the sewer system, Kimberly-Clark set out to change its design and create a flushable wipe that you can actually flush. And, it worked! After reworking the design of its flushable wipes, Charleston declared that Kimberly-Clark’s Cottonelle Flushable Wipes were “the only wipes safe for our sewer system.”

That’s a pretty big kudos.

Still, not all wipes are created equally. To be on the safe side, we suggest you continue to throw wipes into the garbage rather than down the toilet. But, if you want to know which wipes meet the standards of the International Water Services Flushability Group, just look out for their seal on the packaging.

If it’s a bit too late for your plumbing and you do find yourself in need of a plumber, Air & Energy will be there to save the day.

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