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Are “Flush-able” Wipes Safe to Flush”

Companies market flush-able wipes to the United States as a ” sewer and septic-safe” alternative to toilet paper, paper towels, and other cleaning supplies. In the media and in court rooms around the US, there has been a fight between sewer companies, cities, and the businesses selling these products about the validity of those claims.

The cities, sewer companies, and water treatment plants’ arguments are based upon the fact they deal with city/town wide sewer backups constantly. Plumbers and the sewer companies alike snake sewer mains and drains, and remove massive blockages of wipes on a daily basis. Most of the cases show no other reason for the block forming besides the wipes. Ryerson University tested 23 different types of “flush-able” wet wipes, and results showed, “Not one single wipe was able to fall apart or disperse safely through the sewer system test, which can negatively impact household plumbing, municipal sewage infrastructure, and consequently, the environment.”

“Flush-able” wipes are tough to breakdown. You can even test this in your own home. Take a sheet or two of toilet paper, soak it with water, and then rub it between your hands. The paper will begin to break off, separate, and break down. Now try the same thing with wet wipes, they would stay solid and not breakdown for a very long time. The wipes may be safe to flush, but the “safety” stops as soon as they exit your toilet. This Consumer Reports study showed several different brands’ wipes, and the ease they breakdown in water. As stated in the study, “When we put them in a stand mixer filled with water and pushed the slowest speed (more churning than your waste pipe will provide), it took at least 10 minutes to break each into small pieces.”

Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, and Kimberly-Clark, maintain that the flush-able wipes are not the problem, but instead are caused by non-flushable wipes such as baby wipes and makeup removal wipes. The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, a trade association for the previously listed companies,  released a set of guidelines that wipes need to pass in order to be deemed “flushable”. However, sewer authorities argued the guidelines are skewed to allow the manufacturers’ wipes to pass.

The argument between the two conflicting sides seems to have no end in sight. Charmin settled a class action law suit that accused the company of false advertising wipes as “septic and sewer safe”. However, there have been plenty of other law suits that have failed. Consumers and lawmakers question the legality of making similar claims. There is no governing body to place fair tests on the subject. Which creates the back and forth between the two sides about the legitimacy/fairness of each other’s tests.

In conclusion, Zeek Plumbing agrees with the sewer companies that flushing wipes down your drains is never a good thing. The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are human waste, #1 and #2, and toilet paper. Avoid flushing anything else possible. “Flush-able” wipes cause the majority of backups that Zeek Plumbing comes in contact with. However, customers seem shocked to find out the cause of the backup and state, “I don’t flush wipes down the drain.” If you hire people to clean your home, I would check they do not flush them either. Dispose of every type of wipe in the trash. Is the convenience of flushing wipes more important than preventing a sewer main backup?

If you are experiencing a backup, please call us at 866-635-0200. Zeek Plumbing can dispatch a crew as soon as possible to your home/property. However, if you are experiencing frequent backups, Zeek Plumbing can camera your sewer main. Similar to the snake, we send a camera down your sewer showing any and all causes of the backups.

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We are sooo happy with our experiences with Zeek! We had them out twice - they did a bunch of repairs for us and then when it turned out the problem was deeper than we thought they came back and stuck with it until they figured it out. They were professional, neat, safe and thorough. Huge thanks to Rich for coming out to diagnose the problem and the whole team for hanging in until it was fixed!
Christine E.
Responded quickly, Bill did a great job, no mess. Would definitely recommend...
Vivian D.
We woke up to see a leak coming through our kitchen ceiling, and we feared the worst. Tim and RJ were great. They diagnosed and solved the issue quickly and gave me a very fair price. Very considerate and professional. Highly recommended these guys.
Cristopher N.
Good services, fast response and Steve very helpful.Bill came to my house and fix the boiler.Reasonable price.Will call them again..
Nelson J.
My family and I cannot thank Zeek Plumbing enough! We had a horrible experience with Best Buy trying to get our new washer/dryer installed when we moved into our new house. The team Best Buy hired was a no call/no show twice! Then they said they didn't have the parts they needed, so we ended up canceling their service. We finally came across Zeek and Bill was able to come out the next morning. He was very nice and professional and clearly an expert in his field. The job was done perfectly within a few hours and now our new home is up and running like a well oiled machine. We will definitely be calling Zeek back for anything needed in the future. Thank you!
Ryan L.
Beyond amazing
Jen G.
ZEEK plumbing came through when our Water Heater failed. Called other plumbers but ZEEK was the only one to offer and on the spot estimate and immediate response to replace our water heater.I have used ZEEK before and once again a most professional crew arrived and completed the installation in a timely proficient manner. I would highly recommend ZEEK to anyone's plumbing needs. They truly focus on customer care which is evident in the services performed, THANK YOU ZEEK!
JK M.
Shannon L.
It was a pleasure dealing with Tim from Zeek Plumbing and Mechanical. He and his partner did an amazing job. He is an excellent professional. I will definitely recommend him.
Magaly L.
Recently upgraded to a natural gas grill and was looking for help to connect the line. Bill came by - very courteous and professional. Quick appointment. Reasonable pricing. Would recommend.
Samuel G.
We have used Zeek multiple times and it's always been a great experience. They are informative, prompt, and easy to work with. Will definitely be using them again in the future.
Kathleen P.
I had a leak from my upstairs bathroom which was coming from an old 3” copper drain pipe connected to the toilet. Tim from Zeek Plumbing replaced the 3’ section of drain pipe with plastic and braced the new pipe to make sure it remained sloped in the right direction. Tim also reinforced the flooring under the toilet which had weakened over the years, and now the support is very strong. Tim was very professional and most importantly wanted to make sure the job was done right!
Joe L.

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