COVID-19 and Pipe Safety: Avoid Flushing Wipes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sacramento residents are taking essential measures to protect their safety and the safety of others. These precautions include social distancing, thoroughly washing hands, and regularly wiping surfaces down with disinfectant. While it is essential to maintain these sanitation practices, it is also important to protect your plumbing lines. With the heightened use of sanitary wipes, we are seeing an increased rate of pipe blockage as they are being discarded into the plumbing system.

It may seem harmless to flush wipes, but this practice can create personal, local, or even city-wide plumbing issues. Here at Bonney, we work to serve the plumbing and HVAC needs of the larger Sacramento area. Our plumbing professionals have insight into how you can stay safe and healthy while protecting your pipes from the harms of flushable wipes.

No Wipes in the Pipes: Plumbing Safety

Why are sanitary wipes bad for your pipes? When sanitary wipes, rags, or even paper towels end up in the plumbing system, they can create major backups. Unlike toilet paper, wipes hold their structural integrity when they are flushed instead of breaking down. They are slow to move through the pipes because they are thicker, heavier, and more durable than toilet paper. Their textured surfaces catch on to any lingering food grease and debris that may be present in the plumbing systems. Eventually, these wipes create pipe blockages and cause plumbing overflows.

The solution here is simple: throw all sanitary wipes in the trash instead of flushing them into your plumbing system.

Are Flushable Wipes Really Safe to Flush?

No wipes in the pipes—this rule applies to all wipes, including those labeled “flushable.” Flushable wipes do effectively break down in your plumbing system…eventually. They take much longer to breakdown then toilet paper does, which provides a large window for clogged pipes. This is why it is essential to throw away all wipes, regardless of whether or not they carry the “flushable” label. 

Alternatives to Plumbing Hazards

The CDC suggests daily cleanings for frequently-touched surfaces: light switches, phones, keyboards, remote controls, tables, doorknobs, toilets, handles, desks, faucets, and sinks all make this list for COVID-19 protection. Were you relying on flushable wipes for your home cleaning needs? If you do not want to throw these wipes in the garbage, there are plenty of safe at-home cleaning alternatives that you can find or create yourself. 

To avoid using sanitary wipes, you may consider using spray disinfectant. This is just as effective at killing germs and keeping your home safe. Spray disinfectant can also provide the benefit of quick and easy sanitation when compared to sanitary wipes.

You might also consider wiping surfaces down with disinfectant by using reusable hand towels. While hand towels have a bad rep for carrying germs, they are safe and sanitary when given the proper cleaning considerations. Primarily, it is important to use a fresh towel each time you clean. It is essential to wash them in the laundry before reusing them so that you do not transfer any mold or germs. When done properly, this provides a safe and environmentally-friendly way to sanitize surfaces. 

You can pair your hand towels with any EPA-registered disinfectant you have at home. If you do not have any disinfectant, you can easily make your own:

  • Alcohol solutions: Any solutions composed of at least 70% alcohol is effective in killing COVID-19 and other harmful germs. This includes alcohol-based antiseptics and even hand sanitizer to help you keep surfaces clean.
  • Bleach solutions: Mixing 4 teaspoons of bleach per 1 quart of water is another solution that you can create at home to disinfect surfaces. Never mix bleach with other household cleaners or ammonia.

By using these cleaning solutions without the sanitary wipes, you can save money on household cleaning supplies, avoid an extra trip to the store, promote the health of your home, and protect your plumbing.

How Bonney Can Help: Plumbing Service in Sacramento

Preventing plumbing issues is the first and most effective recourse to keeping your home and pipes protected. However, If your plumbing system has already been compromised, Bonney is here for you. Our experts are following the CDC recommended safety precautions while working to serve the needs of our customers. Contact our experts or call us at 800-444-0551 if you are experiencing any issues with pipes, drainage, leaks, or water damage in your home today.