Knowing that flushing anything aside from a very short list isn’t recommended, and that wipes aren’t on that list, people who want to sell you things on the basis of convenience have instituted the “flushable wipe.”

It should be noted here that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Leaving aside for now the ethical path this blog post has begun careening toward, but maintaining the same principle – many things CAN be flushed, sure, but there is no assurance they will navigate your septic system, nor avoid wreaking havoc once they get there.

“Flushable” wipes are no different. Forget the “out of sight, out of mind” saw when it comes to flushing, because it won’t stay out of mind long if it causes plumbing or septic issues.

Wipes don’t break down the same way toilet paper does, so they can cause issues in your pipes, but the potential pitfalls don’t end there.

Wipes can introduce air bubbles into the septic system, and that can mess with the biology of your septic tank.

The extra effort required for the septic system to process and expel the flushable wipe could also introduce friction and erosion. And waste can leak from the system as the result of any breakdown.

Alternatives to the flushable wipe include washcloths, toilet paper with foam, reusable cloth wipes, or simply disposing of wipes in the trash as opposed to flushing them. This option might include the need for smell-canceling waste bags, which are available at any big-box retailer or online.