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Think before you flush

I was asked by United Utilities if I want to take part in their campaign Think before you flush. It doesn’t sound too glamorous, but being a home owner comes with all sort of issues. I was interested to hear more and I was surprised by what I discovered.

First of all, the “flushable” wipes are well… only flushable, it means they will not remain in the toilet bowl, but they cause problems and clog the pipes. The clogging of the pipes can happen on the property and that leads to expensive repairs or they cause problems further along the pipelines. I think the wipes are misleading, I used them in the past and, unknowingly throw them in the toilet, thinking the water will break down quickly. They don’t break down as toilet paper does and the wipes will snag on pipe joints creating blockages, as they are mixed with fats that are poured down the drain. From now I’ll use the bin for them.


Research was made in North West and the results are staggering. 1 in 10 people has suffered from blocked toilets and drains by flushing items that shouldn’t be flushed, like baby wipes and other types of wipes and sanitary products.
Other things that can clog up the pipes are things like cotton buds, cotton wool and nappies. I never throw those in toilet as it’s obvious they are clogging the pipes. On United Utilities’s website they say only 3 things should end up in the toiled, the 3 P’s: pee, poo and (toilet) paper.
To solve the issues, a plumber has to be called and the home owners ended up paying an average of £99 for the repair. It’s a lot of money and hassle for something that can be so easily prevented by using a bathroom bin. The insurance companies will not cover the costs if the problem was caused by flushing something that shouldn’t be flushed.

At the same time, water companies have to spend a huge amount of money to unblock public pipes. United Utilities has to deal with around 25,000 blockages a year, costing around £10 million.

The flushable wipes have a great impact on environment too. Marine Conservation Society have made a report that suggest there was an increase of 50% last year in the number of wet wipes washed up on the beaches.

If, like me, you had no idea what wipes (any type of wipes) are doing to our pipes, have a look on the link I posted at the beginning of the post, lots of interesting facts and details. There is a downloadable pack for parents with details about the campaign and some craft activities.
It’s so easy to avoid expensive repairs, hassle and headache these flushable wipes are causing by using a bin. From the moment I learned about this I stopped throwing away the wipes in the toilet and I used the bin. It made absolutely no difference to me.

Were you aware about this issue? Are you using flushable wipes?

Post is in collaboration with United Utilities.

9 Comment

  1. Thank you for letting me know this! I only use these when er- I am doing a certain act and it is in a er-certain form, but I still have flushed them down! THANK YOU! No longer will I do that!x

  2. Yessss! More people need to be aware of these facts, I love it that you wrote this post 🙂 I only flush toilet paper, I bin everything else to be on the safe side because it’s horrible to think of the possible impact it could have on the environment, but I had no idea that they would break down properly and could clog up pipes x

  3. I’m really wary of what I flush down my toilet, especially cleansing wipes; I’ve heard they can be one of the worst culprits!

  4. We don’t use them but it doesn’t seem like ‘flushable wipes’ should be able to advertise themselves as such – more than a little misleading!

  5. I remember these wipes coming out on the market, it was my first thought that they’d just float around in the sea. These things don’t break down, just like plastics that turn into particles, that fish eat, that we eat, that can cause cancers. #truth .

  6. I don’t personally flush wipes, I don’t use them but I have learnt something new today!

  7. I remember hearing a plumber say that flushable toilet wipes are keeping them in business because they block everyones pipes! When I was at uni I blocked the pipes in my student house with makeup wipes and learnt a very expensive lesson! great post 🙂 xx

  8. I would assume that flushable wipes are ok to flush without causing issues in the long term – I have not used any at home but was thinking about buying flushable cleaning wipes for the toilet. It seems like an easy way to maintain cleaning throughout the week. I won’t be buying that now!

  9. I genuinley did not know that flushable wipes would clog up the toilet system. That seems such a daft idea then to market them that way!
    I wont be using them again!

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