Think before you flush: Toilet roll alternatives could block pipes

A warning has been issued about the dangers of of toilet roll alternatives which – if flushed down the loo – can cause serious blockages.

It comes as scores of shoppers have been panic-buying essentials as fears intensify over the spread of Covid-19.

Consumers have been turning to kitchen towel, facial tissues and wet wipes instead which don't break down and, instead, cause blockages.

United Utilities has warned alternatives must not be flushed down the toilet after use, they must be disposed of in a bin.

Mike Wood is the Wastewater Network Manager at United Utilities and he said shoppers needed to be careful or they could block up their toilets, drains or sewers: “This could become a huge problem if these alternative products are wrongly flushed away.

“Kitchen towel and wet wipes are designed to stay strong when wet so they don’t break down in the sewers the same way that loo roll does.

"They will build up and cause blockages, and that will lead to the nightmare of sewage overflowing in or around your home or expensive plumbing bills. That really is the last thing anyone needs at the moment."

The problem is widespread. Credit: Welsh Water.

He continues: “If people do need to buy alternatives to loo roll that’s fine, but please make sure you have a bin in the bathroom and you use it.

" That might sound like being on holiday in Greece, but this is really important. Sewer pipes are just not designed for anything other than The Three Ps – that’s Pee, Poo and (toilet) Paper.”

Some supermarkets, like Sainsbury's and Tesco, have now enforced restrictions on essentials including toilet paper and soap.

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