The Truth Behind Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes are lining store shelves, and people are flocking to them. A better alternative to toilet paper, many believe that these wipes leave them “cleaner” after wiping. And while this may be true, these wipes have one common trait: they’re not flushable.

Sure, you may be able to flush them, but they don’t degrade.

So, while you may go through your day a little cleaner, a bigger issue is festering in your plumbing system. Eventually, a clog will occur, and trying to find the cause will require a significant amount of money, and often video technology, to pinpoint.

Consumer New Zealand conducted a test on flushable wipes.

“They spun ‘flushable’ wipes for a whopping 20 hours before they gave up. There was no breakdown at all,” explains Full Bore Inc.

An additional group of testers put these wipes into a kitchen mixer for ten minutes, and what they found was similar: no breakdown occurred.

Utility Companies Are Advising Against “Flushable Wipes”

The census from plumbers and utility companies is that flushable wipes are not flushable. Many believe that in today’s market, there is no such thing as a flushable wipe. The inability to degrade like toilet paper is a major concern.

Seattle’s Public Utilities company has advised against using these wipes for anything.

They don’t degrade, whether flushed in the toilet or put in a garbage bag. When the wipes start accumulating, they cause sewer systems to backup. The backups are also causing many utility pumps to burn out.

This leads to higher costs for utility companies. And these costs are then passed down to the consumer through taxes, so you can expect to pay significantly more in taxes as more clogs occur and equipment needs to be replaced.

Plumbers recommend never flushing:

  • Wipes
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cigarette butts
  • Dental floss
  • Paper towels
  • Feminine products
  • Cotton balls

Recent studies suggest that 9 out of 10 flushable wipes do not break down, and the BBC reports that testing has found that none pass water industry tests.

The UK is facing severe sewer issues due to these wet wipes. How bad is the problem? Investigators found that 80% of all blockages in Britain’s sewers are due to wipes that are marketed as being flushable but never degrade.

Called an “environmental menace” by some, the issue is that the wipes will pass through the U-bend in the toilet. Over time, the wipes start to accumulate into what professionals are calling “fatbergs.” These “fatbergs” have to be broken down by a professional because they will not break down on their own.

The wipes will be removed from the sewer system and then make their way into landfills.

Blockages are causing water system operators in London to spend as much as $1.4 million per month to clear. These costs are going to be passed on to consumers, and there are many campaigns to stop the practice.

So, while catchy marketing ads claims that these wipes are flushable, they will cause damage to your plumbing and sewer system. Instead, opt for an alternative that will degrade over time, such as toilet paper.