I enjoy a good plumbing challenge just as much as the next guy. I view it as one of the more finesse areas of home improvement. Much like a woman, you have to be gentle and take care of the pipes, or they can make your life miserable. I also think that after working in the hardware business for around 6 years that I have a clue, albeit a small one, about fixing the minor stuff around the house. Well... I nearly met my match.
This item may start as a fragrant, moist, small square, designed to cleanse the dirtiest of regions, but ends in an unholy nightmare. That’s right, the flushable wipe.
Flushable wipes are flushable in the sense that anything you can shove down a toilet is flushable. Plus, try as you might, you can’t pull just one wipe out of the container. Couple these two facts together with an overzealous, sneaky, 3 year old novice wiper, and you have a problem. Low and behold one of our toilets became a bit stopped up.
I was glad that I knew this before using said bathroom so that I didn’t use it... except I didn’t, and I used it. So, after making my deposit and flushing, I watched the water begin it’s quick ascent up the side of the toilet bowl. Luckily, I still had my wits about me and yanked off the back of the toilet and killed the flow of water. It was time for the plunger.
Whee-whoo Whoo-whoo is the sound a plunger makes when it is doing absolutely nothing but sucking air, and much to my dismay, this is exactly the sound mine was making. Which could only mean one thing... the clog was past where the toilet and sink meet (which was confirmed by the neat-o trick of turning the sink on and watching water come up through the toilet). It just got real.
Luckily, there is a handy dandy cleanout in the basement! Unluckily, since it hadn’t been opened since 1824, it couldn’t be coaxed open, even after a stern talking to. So I was left with one option. To the roof!
With plumbing snake in hand, I made my way up onto the roof, and with a rugged determination thrust the snake down the drain-waste-vent pipe (at this point, the faint of heart should quit reading... but if you dare, read on). Much to my dismay, but not unexpectedly, I found an obstruction. I began to slowly turn the snake, hoping it would bite on to whatever was down there... and it did. Like reeling in the big one, I hoisted the snake back out of the pipe, and what should I find but a poo soaked wipe. After dislodging the wipe, I used my feces encrusted fingers to lower the snake back down into the pipe. Round two produced yet another poo wipe, and round three yet another before the blockage was finally clear. I raised my diarrhea hands in victory! Or so I thought... To make a long story even longer, I fished approximately 8 wipes out over the course of a few weeks.
I hate flushable wipes, they are awful, and even though they may break down in the sewer system at some point, they will stay in your pipes forever. I hate flushable wipes.