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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.

5-STAR GOOGLE REVIEWS FROM OUR CUSTOMERS

Zeek has always come through for us these last few years! Tim and RJ are the best!
Kelly M
A huge thank you to Zeke Plumbing for helping my family, and our old home, on multiple occasions! The response time is consistently fast and the work is done properly. I also very much appreciate the honest proposals as to what is needed and options to get the job done properly, efficiently and cost effective. Thank you!
Lisa G.
We woke up this morning to water pouring out of our toilet, all of over the floor, down the to the basement, we were PANICKED! I called Zeek Plumbing and Steve was able to identify the problem over the phone and dispatch someone to come immediately to help us fix the issue. Within an hour everything was fixed and in working order. We're so grateful for the responsiveness and professionalism of his team.
Brianna H.
Huge thank you to Tim (and Steve for coordinating) from Zeek Plumbing & Mechanical. We had a plumbing emergency and Tim was here within 1 hour of calling on a Saturday morning. I highly recommend this company!
Marlena J.
I've used Zeek Plumbing several times now and they always do a great job whether its replacing a sump pump or working on an old furnace. Every time I've called they were able to come out very quickly and get the problem fixed.
Bob H
Tim and RJ were awesome! They squeezed us in and took their time to resolve the issues we originally called for and more. They went above and beyond, were extremely fair, thorough and very professional. My parents have had wonderful experiences with them as well. I highly recommend using Zeek!
Jenna S.
Great plumbers, would 100% recommend. Everyone is very friendly and very knowledgeable. This is our second time using Zeek and we will continue using them.
Monica G.
This is the plumber to call if h\ypu are looking fir one. I called in the morning after a flood. They were out Fixing flood and ponding water when I called but Zeek still managed to make it to our house for the repair. Can't say enouch good about them!!!!
maureen R.
My husband and I had our shower temporarily repaired by the incredibly kind and patient Rich and Ron. Our hot water knob would not shut off, and after trying to fix it ourselves— it turned out this was a job for the professionals. We tried calling a few plumbers in the area— naturally we ended up calling quite a few “not so confident” plumbers who didn’t even want to take the time to look at it in the Morris County NJ area. We have a 2 month old and having the water shut off to the entire house wouldn’t have been the best for us. We let Zeek know our situation and they told us they’d give us a call if their schedule opened up. I can tell you— they did not disappoint. They called us with availability as soon as it opened up and Rich and Ron came to the rescue. I was expecting a temporary repair anyway because our shower is on the older side and needs some detailed TLC. What I was not expecting was how quick and efficient the temporary fix took. Rich quickly made the diagnosis, let us know what was going on and patched it up for us. We can now run water to the house again, and take a shower— which was our goal! We are currently awaiting a complete service to replace a few things in order to have this shower running for many more years to come. I will update this review when that service is performed. Thank you Rich and Ron!
Kaitlyn O.
If ever you are in need of a plumber, look no further than Zeek Plumbing. We had a water leak going from the street to the house hook up. The repair was completed in an efficient and professional manner and the people were a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend and will definitely use them again.
Sharee C.
Zeek has done good work for me in the past. Most recently they came through and were unable to complete a job to no fault of their own. Turns out I have a much bigger problem on my hands that none of us expected to find. They made things right and I will be calling them again for work in the future.
Michael S.
I noticed a small leak in our kitchen ceiling and knew it was the upstairs toilet which was very old. I called a ton of plumbers and left messages. Zeek was the 1st plumber to call me back early Monday morning and advised me on next steps so we could get the new toilet installed and taken care of. The two reps were knowledgeable, friendly, explained the issue, what they found and what they were doing. They were also super sweet to my toddler. Price for install was on par with what they had quoted. Highly recommend and will use again (hopefully not for a leak).
Aimee D.

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