Unclog a Toilet Clogged with Baby Wipes (Flushable or Not)

Just because you used them to change the baby’s diapers does not mean you have to dispose of them in the toilet. Besides, wipes, flushable or not are used for many other purposes, from wiping off makeup, removing stains, cleaning hands, and so forth. If you keep throwing them in the toilet, they will block those pipes eventually.

Mom cleaning baby with wipes

Ready to learn how to unclog a toilet clogged with baby wipes?

Follow these steps to unclog the toilet when it has been clogged with baby wipes.

  • Reach in there and remove them by hand before they go too far.
  • Use your plunger to loosen the clog by pulling them back out and remove all the wipes you can access.
  • Insert a drain snake or a toilet plunger to access wipes that got stuck further down the line beyond your reach.
  • Clear the toilet system by flushing after dislodging the clog.
  • Wash and dry your tools

If you solve the problem early enough and learn to properly dispose of your baby wipes, you might avoid the expense of engaging a plumber. Now that we have highlighted what to do, we shall show you exactly how to go about it.

Do Flushable Wipes Disintegrate?

No. Flushable Wipes do not break down in your septic system. They are made with polymers that a designed to hold together when in use. This characteristic that makes them good to use for cleaning make them harder to disintegrate in your sewer system.

Cottonelle claims to have created a line of wipes that are flushable. However, their claims have not been independently verified.

How to Unclog a Toilet Clogged with Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes can be unclogged from your toilet by using a drain auger to dislodge the blockage. Slowly push the L-shaped end of the auger into the toilet bowl. Once it is in, begin to rotate the auger arm in a circular motion.

You will notice bubbling in the toilet which is a sign that the clog is beginning to ease. Now you can remove the wipes with a pair of gloves.

This is a messy job. So it is best to be prepared by wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Also, when working on the toilet, it is best to gather all the tools that you may need so that you aren’t tracking germs through your house.

What Do You Do When Baby Wipes Clog Up the Toilet?

Remove Them By Hand

Reach into the toilet bowl, grab the baby wipes and throw them into a bin instead. This way, you are sure it is not going to be a problem further down the drain.

Use a Plunger

They create a suction effect that will pull on the stuck baby wipes and dislodge them from where they got stuck, allowing the water to wash them down the sewer or septic tank.

The toilet plunger is different from your regular sink plunger. It is designed to be more flexible because the toilet bowl is curved. In addition, it usually comes with a flap meant to seal the toilet drain while plunging.

If the wipes are pulled back into the bowl, grab them and dispose of them away from the toilet. Often they will be dislodged but will continue going down the drain due to the momentum of the water, which is acceptable.

Sometimes the plunger won’t be sufficient, necessitating the use of more advanced tools.

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Using a Plumbing Snake to Remove the Baby Wipes

It catches the clogging material and enables you to pull them out to clear the clog. Sometimes you need to jolt them from where they are to unclog the pipes, and sometimes you will manage to pull them back all the way to the bowl using the plumbing snake.

The Toilet Auger

It breaks up and pushes through clogs to clear them. It is longer than a drain snake as it is meant to reach much further into the pipes. It is also wider, which allows it to clear a bigger path through the obstruction. You typically apply it after the plunger fails.

Ensure that only the protective tubing can touch the toilet bowl as you insert the closet auger because the metal coil which does the unclogging might scratch the porcelain. Push it down and let the metal descend into your toilet piping until it hits the clog.

Keep cranking the handle as you apply downward pressure. This exerts pressure on the clog, pushing it further down the pipe and disentangles the mess at the same time. The turning of the handle also helps the head of the closet auger maneuver through bends and curves in the piping.

Jiggle the auger cable by rotating its handle until you feel the solid clog disintegrating. You may also notice the water level in the toilet starting to fall, which will signal that you have successfully broken up the blockage.

The latest tools in the field are power augers with motors that feed the tubes down the drain, making them much faster, more efficient, and less tiresome. You can invest in these if you have the extra buck.

Clear the Toilet

Flush the toilet and monitor how fast the water goes down the drain. You can also pour water directly down the toilet bowl to make this observation.

Clean Your Tools

The sewage system harbors the highest concentration of pathogens in the entire household.

The plungers, augers, and drain snakes will have been exposed to these germs and bacteria. They will also still have some debris on them after the work is done. There can be serious repercussions to your health and the condition of the tools if you ignore this step.

Use a disinfectant to soak them for a short while, scrub them with a toilet brush and rinse with warm water. Don’t let them soak in the disinfectant for long, as most have corrosive properties.

Ensure they are dry before putting them to storage because water will lead to the formation of rust on the steel parts and rotting of wood handles.

How to Dispose of Baby Wipes Responsibly

Have a waste disposal bin in the bathroom so that users can resist the urge to throw them in the toilet.

man throwing baby wipe in toilet

You can have two separate bins if you need to dedicate one to waste that can be biologically reprocessed. For example, the biodegradable wipes can be composted in the garden while the rest of the wipes and other items you don’t want to compost are taken out with your rubbish.

Bottom Line

The best approach is to remove the wipes from the toilet the way they came in because it guarantees you have permanently solved the problem. You can always loosen the clog just enough to flush it further down the line, but you will never be sure the baby wipes will not clog again in your pipes.

Chemical drain openers are ineffective on baby wipes because they are not woven, so there is nothing for the chemicals to work on to loosen up the toilet clog. The only chemical capable of breaking them down is sulfuric acid which is highly volatile and may cause more harm than good in the long run.

To avoid all these, try prevention; avoid flushing wipes down the toilet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do You Unclog a Toilet Full of Wet Wipes?

Pull out as many of the wet wipes as you can by hand and seek alternative disposal options. You can loosen the toilet clog using various means, but you risk transferring the problem further down the drain, where you will be forced to contact a plumber. It will inevitably cost more to unclog the main sewage line than your toilet.

What Chemical Will Dissolve Baby Wipes?

Sulfuric acid can dissolve baby wipes in a clogged toilet, but it should be used with a lot of caution.

It has the potential to react violently with water and produces toxic fumes in the process. Its reaction with bleach-based cleaners releases a gas that is even more lethal. Avoiding bleach-based cleaners for your toilet is no mean feat; it is much easier to keep off sulfuric acid. However, it can be corrosive to your pipes and is not recommended for a septic system because it kills even functional bacteria.

Our experts, therefore, advise against using it to unclog your pipes.

Can Baby Wipes Be Flushed Down the Toilet?

They should not be flushed down the toilet, even if they have been labeled as disposable or flushable wipes because they can still eventually cause plumbing issues.

As much as some are biodegradable, there isn’t enough time for them to break down before they present a problem to your plumbing. They might disappear from your sight but proceed to block your sewers down the line. It is not an ideal environment for composting, which is how they are broken down.

If you don’t have an alternative to flushing the wipes down the toilet, at least ensure they are biodegradable and eco-friendly like the Goodwipes plant-based flushable wipes. Generally, avoid wipes made of plastic materials or polyester and those with synthetic preservatives because they are not septic and sewer safe. They also increase the plastic burden and introduce chemical toxins to our environment.

Only flush one baby wipe at a time even when you are satisfied they are biodegradable and eco-friendly because their size makes them candidates for clogging. They will eventually mix up with grease and other effluent, further increasing the possibility of clogging.

What Happens If You Accidentally Flushed a Baby Wipe?

There is a high probability it will result in clogging. If not immediately in the toilet, the clogging will happen in your septic tank or the sewer system.

Therefore, you should pull the baby wipes out by hand or with the help of tools like plungers, toilet augers, and snakes if the wipes have gone further down the line. This is the best approach while you still can so that it doesn’t become a bigger problem later.

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