Are wet wipes flushable?

Greenwashing is rife across many different areas of society. We recently spoke about how some tree planting schemes are greenwashing people into thinking they’re caring for a tree when in fact, they’re throwing seeds into the ground and hoping nature will do the rest. But greenwashing tactics are everywhere and on most of the products we find in supermarkets. Potentially one of the most problematic is wet wipes that have the word ‘flushable’ attached to them.

Greenwashing and flushable wet wipes 

The truth is, the term flushable has never been held accountable by legislature. In reality, you can flush almost anything but that doesn’t mean you should. Across the UK people are flushing nappies, razor blades, condoms, and sanitary towels… all of which most of us would question. Thinking ‘surely that isn’t any good for the toilet?’ and you’d be right! But the same should apply to wet wipes, even those that claim to be flushable. After all, flushable is sort of – meaningless – right? 

What makes wet wipes flushable? 

Now, if you’re someone who uses wet wipes, we understand, they’re incredibly convenient. You may have gone to the trouble of finding ones that are biodegradable, flushable or ‘certified’ fine to flush. But we’ll still be here telling you the same thing – don’t flush them. But why is this?

The truth is that 90% of wet wipes contain plastic. The reason they’re so convenient is their durability when wiping, but it is this huge selling point that means you shouldn’t flush it. Ultimately, whatever goes down our toilets needs to break down – fast. Our sewers aren’t giant tubes running beneath our homes, they’re small, old and narrow meaning wet wipes create blockages constantly. In fact, 55% of all blockages are attributed to wet wipes. 

How to dispose of your wet wipes 

Wet wipes are the biggest contributor to blockages in our sewers. Now, while we would suggest finding a product that is reusable or easier to dispose of, we understand their importance. Especially for parents, we know that wet wipes are staying in the home. Although we encourage finding a new product – and we hope some of you do – for those looking for an answer, here it is.

Use the bin! If you don’t have a bin in your bathroom we strongly urge you to get one – with a lid – and pop it beside your toilet. Wet wipes belong in bins. Even those that don’t end up blocking your sewers, they just get filtered out at the end of the line and… you guessed it – disposed of. All you’re doing by flushing them is running the risk of a blockage that either harms your home or local environment. 

What can you replace a wet wipe with? 

First, ask yourself why you’re using wet wipes in the first place. There was a time when they weren’t everywhere and as a society, we coped. How can you reverse your habits so that wet wipes aren’t needed?

If you use a wet wipe for cleaning your child’s bottom, why not use regular toilet paper? We know it’s a bit rougher, but that’s why plenty of creams and other products exist so your child remains protected. If it’s a case of your finger not going through the paper – we’re sure you’ve had worse incidents since your child was born. Just wash them in the sink. 

If you’re using wet wipes to remove make-up – yes makeup wipes are considered wet wipes! Why not switch to micellar water and reusable cotton rounds. You’ll save a lot of money doing this and soon you’ll wonder why you ever spent so much money on makeup wipes. Plus, you’ll soon notice that micellar water and cotton rounds are far kinder to your skin. 

Cleaning wet wipes are the easiest to remove from your life. Buy a microfiber cloth and use a spray bottle of cleaner. Most of the time a cleaning wet wipe doesn’t do a good enough job anyway, so you’ll use more than one – costing you a fortune in cleaning the same countertop.

Are there any other types of wet wipes out there that you know you can easily replace in your home? Comment below so that others can learn from your tips to remove wet wipes from their life. A wet wipe is always replaceable with a more eco-friendly and cost-effective product, but if you use one, pop it in the bin. Bin it, don’t block it.

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