Did you know that wipes can be controversial? I know they’re not exactly what comes to mind when you think of controversial topics in 2020. But these little cloths can make a lot of people very grumpy. Whether you experience incontinence or not, we know you want to be doing what’s right for you and your plumbing.
Why, You Ask?
For most of us, if we use a wipe near the toilet, we’ll toss it right in along with everything else before we flush. It makes sense, right? We’re using the wipe like toilet paper so we toss it like toilet paper, too. But unfortunately, this can cause a lot of headaches (and potty mouths) for our local wastewater folks. Why? Most wipes aren’t actually meant to be flushed down the drain. When they are, they twist and tangle around each other and turn into giant “fatbergs” which are huge balls of wipes. These make your plumber and your local wastewater folks very very grumpy.
When we at Lily Bird were designing our new feminine wipes, we had two options. We could either make our wipes the way most other guys make them OR we could be different. At Lily Bird, we like being different. We also like our local plumber and didn’t want him to give us the stink eye every time he came to our house. All of that is why we decided to make Lily Bird wipes flushable. Actually flushable, so they wouldn’t be part of the problem.
How Do We Know Our Wipes Are Really Flushable?
At Lily Bird, we like to do things right. So we started out by talking to a lot of experts who showed us that, to be truly flushable, wipes need to meet the INDA Flushable Product Guidelines.
(Side note: we didn’t create this guide or even give any input to its writers)
We know you probably won’t read all those guidelines — and we don’t blame you; it’s pretty dense. So, here are a few highlights about what is important to make a wipe flushable:
The wipe shouldn’t float. That way it can “clear” the toilet plumbing and easily enter the pipes in your house.
The House Plumbing
The wipe shouldn’t get in the way of normal household plumbing, septic systems, and pumps.
The First Hour
The wipes should start to break down in a normal sewer or septic system (which swishes things around a lot) within an hour or so. More specifically, the wipes should be in pieces of about 12.5 millimetres.
Within a few weeks, depending on the conditions, the wipe should break down into tiny particles. And by tiny, we mean 1 millimeter. That’s as small as a coarse grain of sand!
All of this may sound pretty nifty. But how could we possibly know that our wipes will do all this once they disappear into the depths of the pipes inside of your house? We tested them, of course!
And, importantly, we tested our wipes exactly like they come packaged to you. (Well not literally, we didn’t toss the whole 32-pack in the loo altogether). That means testing the exact size of cloth that you can buy from us with the same mix of liquid on it. Some companies don’t do this, but it’s important to test this way because even a slight change in an ingredient might change how the wipe breaks down.
What If I Want To Test Your Wipes At Home?
While you can’t easily run your own test that will mimic how the sewer system works in your house, you will be able to see a few hints that our wipes are flushable.
When you take the first few wipes out of the package, you will find that they are a bit less sturdy than other wipes out there. This is because they are designed to be flushable. Lily Bird wipe packages have 32 wipes instead of the typical 30 in other Lily Bird products, so there are a couple extra in case one or two tear. You’ll usually only see that tearing with the first wipe or two to come out of the package.
You can also compare our wipe next to another one you might buy at the store. You will notice a difference in the cloth. The difference in fiber weaves and structure are what help the Lily Bird product stay tough but still break down after flushing.
So, When Can I Flush Your Wipes?
Most pipes love our flushable wipes. But, not all toilets get along with cleansing cloths, even if the cloths are designed to be flushable. Flushing is a no-no if you’re on an airplane or in an RV, for example. So, no matter how much you hate Delta Airlines, please don’t flush on their planes.
And make sure you follow the flushing instructions on the package to avoid a back-up. We recommend one wipe per flush to keep things flowing. If you notice any issues at all, toss ’em in the trash instead.
Want to get technical about it? Here are the do’s and don’ts of flushing —
Do not flush if:
- Violates local rules
- Using RV, marine, or aviation system
- Using macerator toilet or household pump
- Fat or grease are put in any drain or you are unsure of system capability
Flushing is Ok if:
- Permitted by local rules
- One wipe per flush
- No history of clogs or back ups
- Septic follows EPA schedule for alternative systems (annual inspection & pumping)
Want to stop angering your plumber or clogging your toilet? Give Lily Bird pH-balanced, flushable cleansing cloths a try. They’re hypoallergenic and unscented to avoid skin irritation. And we’ll deliver them straight to your door.
By Sydney Larson, Lily Bird Founder