DIY Wipes: Saving the Environment AND the Pocketbook
Wet wipes have become a common addition to the toiletry section of every store. Diaper wipes are as common as they have always been. Many adults also use them to get that extra feeling of clean. Senior facilities use them to clean and sanitize in similar ways.
Many manufacturers such as Clorox now make wipes aimed at cleaning or polishing furniture. Wipes are often used for make-up removal. Many grocery stores offer wet wipes to wipe germs off of shopping carts. The list goes on and on.
These wipes, however, are not always beneficial to the home sewage system or that of the community. A safer DIY version of wet wipes can alleviate various problems caused by store brand wipes.
Manufactured Wipes: A Sewage Nightmare
Manufactured wet wipes have become a bit more than a thorn in the side for many towns and cities. These wipes frequently cause clogs in the sewage lines as well as wear and tear to pumps. These clogs must then be vacuumed out or professionally removed to avoid further damage.
Because the wipes do not dissolve like toilet paper, they can cause problems anywhere from your toilet to the treatment plant. In some cities, blockages have even caused flooding and massive sewage backups in homes.
A 2014 ABC news report stated that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection had to spend an astonishing $18 million in the last 5-6 years in repairs caused by such wipes. Many smaller towns have had to increase water and sewage rates to accommodate the increased number of man hours required to fix such problems.
Wipes do not only cause problems for cities and towns. Use of manufactured wipes can cause an increase in home clogs. An increase in the need for toilet repair and drain cleaning are prevalent in homes that use such products. Bills can pile up from professional plumbers, contractors, and the need for over-the-counter drain supplies.
Toilet repair alone could result in the need for a new toilet. Drain cleaning with in-home cleaning supplies can work in some situations, but many times a professional will need to be consulted. This leads to expense and inconvenience for the homeowner.
Renters can lose deposits or be charged damages if clogs or their resulting overflows lead to damage of the property. Talk about a bad situation!
Because of the havoc that wipes have bestowed on sewage systems, many activists have petitioned to have them banned from sale. Even the products labeled “flushable” tend to cause problems. Various class action lawsuits have been filed by cities against manufacturers.
The manufacturers, however, continue to insist that the problems are being caused by people flushing non-flushable wipes. As the issues continue to mount, environmental activists as well as local governments continue to petition for EPA bans on the products.
Overall, the use of manufactured wet wipes are often not worth the problems they can cause. In addition to sewage problems, many versions of the product also contain harsh chemicals and are relatively expensive. DIY wet wipes offer a solution to all of these problems.
Making your own wipes is easy and often cheaper than manufactured varieties. These DIY products are much better for drains and sewage systems. For every use, there is a different recipe available.
On a basic level, all that is needed is biodegradable paper towels and a Tupperware-like container. Some even use old wipe containers. However, plastic lidded storage containers tend to work the best. Cut the paper towel roll in half and remove the cardboard role. You can then add any type of cleaning agent to the plastic container appropriate for the cause.
For the Young Ones
For use on babies and toddlers, a great and simple recipe uses some common household ingredients.
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 tablespoon baby wash
- 1 tablespoon baby oil
- 6-10 drops Tea Tree oil
Baby wash and baby oil are gentle on the child’s skin. The tea tree oil helps to prevent mildew inside of the container. Additionally, one container of each ingredient makes a great number of wipes.
Wipes marketed for cleaning often contain chemicals that can be harsh on the hands. A favorite recipe for cleaning wipes is a bit more gentle to use.
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- A few drops Dawn or other antibacterial dish soap
- Essential oil of your choice (for fragrance)
This recipe is great for cleaning surfaces or hands. For those who prefer to use bleach for cleaning, a couple of caps of bleach would be ok. Bleach is not suggested if there are young children in the home that are using the wipes for any reason.
To Flush or Not to Flush?
DIY wipes are much better for septic systems than manufactured wet wipes. However, many contain oils that should still not be flushed. Do some research online or call a local sewage treatment plan for advice on what is flushable and what is not. Many have found that there is no need to flush all wipes.
Wipes used for hand washing or cleaning surfaces can be disposed of in the normal trash can quite efficiently.
Consider making your own wet wipes. This simple activity can save your sewage company a lot of headache. Additionally, homemade wipes are much gentler on skin. They can be scented in nearly anyway, and they are much cheaper than store bought brands. Everyone wins in this scenario!
In a time when humans create so much trash, anything that can help to decrease waste should be considered. Using biodegradable paper towels will help these wipes to break down quickly and efficiently.
This is one DIY project that is simple enough for anyone to do. Additionally, this extremely easy project could help to preserve the planet for many generations to come!
For questions about what you should and should not flush in your Kansas City, KS home, call KB Complete Plumbing Heating and Cooling Inc. at (913) 722-6835.