Despite what the packet says, you need to stop putting this in your toilet 1



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'Flushable' wet wipes being removed from pipes. Photo: Illawarra Mercury

It’s something many people happily flush down their toilet everyday, but experts are warning Australians to stop flushing cleaning wipes down the toilet now or face a huge bill to clean it up.

Plumbers across the country are having to unclog pipes that are backed up with thousands of cleaning wipes labelled ‘safe to flush’.

Despite the claim, it seems the wipes do not disintegrate like previously thought and instead cause huge damage, which is costs some people up to $16,000 to fix.

Sydney Water spokesperson Kieran Smith said the company clears around 500 tonnes of wet wipes from Sydney’s sewage systems each year – a bill that costs taxpayers a hefty $8 million.

“We are yet to find a wet wipe labelled as ‘flushable’ that actually does break down,” Mr Smith said.

“We have tested wipes against toilet paper and the wipes can last for days with no real damage, in fact you could use them again if you wanted to.

“Where a blockage occurs, the sewerage has to go somewhere, so it can cause an overflow which can go into rivers and creeks and back into customer’s homes up the toilet – no one really wants that.

“There are certainly some health concerns with anything to do with raw sewerage.”

'Flushable' wet wipes being removed from pipes. Photo: Illawarra Mercury
‘Flushable’ wet wipes being removed from pipes. Photo: Illawarra Mercury

Despite companies’ claims that their wet wipes break down after being flushed, it seems there is a loophole… They don’t know or say exactly how long this breaking down process takes.

This means your pipes could be filling up with the disposable cloths for months on end and creating a huge pay day for your plumber.

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE, ran numerous tests on so-called flushable wipes and found the claims were an exaggeration to say the least.

It even went as far as to award Kleenex a ‘Shonky Award’ for its version of the flushable wipe.

CHOICE is now advising people to stop flushing the wipes down their toilets immediately.

Take a look at the CHOICE Kleenex test below.

Do you flush wet wipes down your toilet? Will this make you think twice before you put ‘flushable’ items in your toilet?

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  1. Septic or bio systems can be destroyed by using bleach and some other cleaning products. Objects such as “cotton buds”, tampons, or plastics are asking for trouble. Some economy toilet paper brands are also problematic.

    Mains sewerage systems are not so likely to cause problems at the source – but can also be badly affected by foreign objects and chemicals.

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