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Flushable Wipes vs. Toilet Paper: What Works Best?

Apr 22, 2009

Though flushable wipes are marketed as a safe alternative to toilet paper, many people are still questioning whether or not these innovative wipes are the best choice for their pipes. To test this question, reporters for News Channel 5 of Cleveland, Ohio, took toilet paper and flushable wipes by a couple of leading paper companies and compared them.

To see how these claims hold up, a recent Consumers Report put three wipes, along with plain old toilet paper, through a disintegration test. It simulates what may happen when flushing and gives consumers a look at how the product could affect their pipes. Toilet paper tends to break down in about eight seconds. In contrast, flushable wipes lasted well beyond 30 minutes.

Kim Leman of Consumer Reports said of the experiment, “Although they say flushable, our disintegration tests show they don’t break down easily, which could pose problems with your plumbing or septic system.”

A spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, which manufactures Scott and Cottonelle, defended the use of flushable wipes and said in a recent statement, “The Consumer Report article does not identify which test method was used to rate the various tissue products, and the story also indicates that further tested needs to be undertaken. There are industry-standard flushability test methods, which have been peer reviewed and accepted by both tissue manufacturers and public works authorities. Kimberly-Clark has performed extensive testing of our flushable wipes products using these methods and all our flushable wipes products pass the relevant tests.”

A Charmin spokesperson also said Charmin Wipes have been tested and are flushable and compatible with functioning household drain lines and sewerage and septic systems.

So what’s your take? Are flushable wipes a better way to do your business, or is classic Toilet Paper a better choice?

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26 Responses to “Flushable Wipes vs. Toilet Paper: What Works Best?”

  1. marciexyz - April 6th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Not all flushable wipes are made the same, but the wastewater industry is concerned about the use of flushable wipes. These flushable wipes can cause problems with public sewers and pumps. The flushable wipes can cause blockages and buildup in undesirable locations. Feel free to use them but toss them in the trash, not the toilet!

  2. MCI in Moist Toilet Paper Wipes may cause allergic reaction - July 1st, 2010 at 10:57 am

    […] year we discussed on the blog whether flushable wipes were safe for flushing. Disposable wet wipes are in the news again, but this time for causing allergic […]

  3. James - October 27th, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Hmm they both have there advantages in certain situations if you know what I mean lol

  4. Baby Gates - January 10th, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    It doesn’t matter to me about the issue of is it good for your pipes. I think the issue that most americans are going to want to know is the cost comparison. I am willing to bet that the wipes are way more expencive compared to your regular toilet paper.

  5. Molly - January 17th, 2011 at 8:27 am

    True, the wipes are more expensive. They offer a luxury that most people don’t budget for!

  6. Sang Min - February 6th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Seems to be irrelevant for Europeans, as they use bidets but…

    Yeah, good old fashioned paper works well enough.

  7. Hand Sanitizer Wipe - February 18th, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I think the prices of wipes are quite high but still it offers something that not an ordinary toilet paper can do.

  8. alex - April 10th, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Hmm they both have there advantages in certain situations if you know what I mean lol

  9. plumber luton - April 13th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    No please not wipes. What happens is if you sewage pipe work is not completley smooth the wipes will/can snag. I have had loads of blocked pipes because of this. and trust me power jeting you pipe is not cheap. stick with the paper stuff.

  10. Plumber Solihull - May 20th, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Always ensure any wipes you use are indeed flushable. We get an awful lot of blocked toilet calls from people flusing wipes down the toilet.

  11. Molly - May 25th, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Sounds like a nightmare!

  12. Kraken - May 29th, 2011 at 5:32 am

    I have had to speak to my neighbour regarding her flushing babywipes down our shared drain. Of course only mine blocks. She’s been cooperative but my/our drains are old and at 4″ diameter not built for modern products. I live in dread of the sound of my toilet bubbling. Again.

  13. Drain Cleaning Baltimore - June 13th, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Flushable wipes are definitely more expensive but it can actually eliminate more maintenance expenses so the price will be just break even. The vendor logistics may make the difference.

  14. Patrick - August 5th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    This very topic actually encouraged me to make a product that can be added to normal toilet paper.It’s safer for the pipes, and much cheaper than the flush-able wet wipes.See it at

  15. Los Angeles SEO - September 28th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I like the wipes best. Make me feel extra clean.

  16. auto lease los angeles - February 9th, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I like wipes for cleaning my hands and house but I don’t think I’ve used them for my delicate bits…I could see how they might feel nice and clean, but I wouldn’t want to use them all the time, I would have assumed they wouldn’t dissolve as well as good ol’ tp!


  17. Molly - February 10th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Well there are some wipes made primarily for use as moist toilet paper. As far as flushing, they are supposed to dissolve like regular dry toilet paper.

  18. Tom - March 17th, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Oh yeah wipes allow to achieve that high shine buff. A million dollar wipe every time.

  19. Randy Clap - December 7th, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I wouldn’t think that wipes are easily broke down. My plumber in Victoria BC says that they are the cause of a lot of problems in the area. I mean if toilet paper isn’t polluting enough then wipes are killing the world.

  20. Ray Green - January 14th, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I work in the waste water industry. I can tell you firsthand that these wipes are a menace. They will clog up your home plumbing. When they do make it into the public sewer system they wreak havoc with the pumps at the pumping stations. I spend most of my day pulling flushable wipes out of pumps they have clogged. If not gotten to in time, clogged pumps at a pump station can cause an overflow which is a public health hazard. Flushable? Yes. Non-clogging? No. Biodregradable? Perhaps over time but not before they cause the aforementioned problems.

  21. Molly - January 28th, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Thanks for your expert opinion Ray!

  22. Avery Goodman - January 30th, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I believe you will be very interested in the environmentally friendly benefits of my brand new product, Wipe Aide, the toilet paper moistener. Wipe Aide is an environmentally friendly alternative to “flushable” wet wipes.

    Throughout this country and the world, “flushable” wipes are causing major and costly damage to municipal wastewater systems. “Flushable” wipes are also causing costly problems for consumer’s plumbing and septic systems every day. Alarmingly, “flushable” wipes sales in the U.S. alone exceeded $500 million in 2009. Projections are for steady growth reaching $650 million in 2012. So, this problem is only going to continue worsen.

    Wipe Aide, toilet paper moistener, is an effective, economical and easy to use product that eliminates the need for flushable wipes. Wipe Aide makes toilet paper more effective and gives the consumer the moistened wipe, cleansing feeling they desire. And since only toilet paper is ever flushed down the toilet, there is never any damage to municipal wastewater treatment systems or the plumbing and pipes the feed them.

    While there are many satisfied Wipe Aide customers, it is extremely difficult bringing a new product out into the market, especially on a limited budget. Additionally, it is virtually impossible to fight the lie that the nonwoven industry feeds the public that, “Flushable wipes are plumbing, septic and sewer safe.”

    That is why I am appealing to you. I truly believe that we can help each other. I have heard of programs whereby municipalities will purchase environmentally friendly, consumer products and make them available to the public at a very reasonable price (at cost or slightly higher) to raise public awareness. Of course, I am open to any suggestions that you have. I am looking to create an absolute win-win situation for you.

    At your earliest convenience, I would greatly appreciate discussing your thoughts and ideas about the tremendous benefits Wipe Aide will provide to your organization, your community and its residents. You can go to Wipe Aide’s ecommerce website to learn more:

    Please feel free to contact me anytime. Thank you for your time and consideration.

  23. Greg - February 13th, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Ray, any wipes you come across that are clogging properly installed and maintained home plumbing as well as pumping stations aren’t truly flushable, or are misused, and do not adhere to the industry-standard flushability guidelines set forth by the INDA and EDANA. Items that do no adhere to these guidelines should not be flushed. Then again, people flush all kinds of stuff they shouldn’t.

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