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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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I called Zeek Plumbing on a recommendation from my old plumber, who had moved away, after my hot water heater died. They were able to come out and get me set up with a new one in relatively short order. I'm definitely saving their number for any future plumbing issues I may have.
Thomas C.
Zeek is the best! Steve in the office is top notch and a pleasure to deal with. Tim showed up on time and completed the repair with no issues. Highly recommend Zeek Plumbing.
P.J. L.
They came to my house for a routine service call for a few various things that needed to be looked at. I'm very satisfied with the process. They walked me through potential issues they saw, walked me through what they'd do, and gave me advice on how to handle some of the smaller things in the future. I will definitely use them again in the future.
Rob
Yet another great experience with Zeek Plumbing. We've used Zeek to install a new hot water heater and most recently they came out to fix a drainage and diverter issue with our bathtub. They also repaired a sink installation and tightened up a loose toilet. Zeek Plumbing has been our go to plumber for over 5 years.
Dave A.
I called on a Sunday and Steve got right back to me. He sent out a tech on the following Tuesday to reseat two toilets. I was able to wait no emergency and I saved money not having the tech do the job on the weekend. The job was done neatly and everything was immaculate when I got home. These guys are professional and trustworthy!! ZEEK PLUMBING is the way to go!!
Liz C.
Timmy and RJ were excellent. The staff ant Zeek plumbing is fast, courteous, and provide their services at a tremendous value. I would highly recommend them for your plumbing needs.
Tom L.
Zeek did the gas line installation for our new natural gas grill. Everything was done professionally and every team member we engaged with were very friendly. Even when there was a slight mishap during inspection, Zeek responded promptly and handled everything great. We now have a very good looking gas line hookup on the deck and the first steaks and burgers are already done!
Martin H.
Kathy C.
We use then commercially and industrially. They've never let us down. Far better and more caring plumbers than most out there. They've done residential repairs for friends of mine on jobs that others haven't been able to correct. In one shot, they diagnosed and corrected the problems without a callback. Like tattoos, good work ain't cheap and cheap work ain't good. Spend the money on them and get it done right, the first time
Walter W.
Just wanted to give a shout out to Zeek Plumbing! Our hot water heater went Monday afternoon and they were at our house by 8am Tuesday to fix it. Ryan was super easy and nice to work with and made sure that all of my questions were answered and I understood the next steps.The technicians that came to install the water heater were great! They were neat, friendly, quick and efficient. I would highly recommend Zeek Plumbing!
Scerbo F.
We had a leak in our baseboard heat. Called Zeek at 8 am with a non-emergency and the team was at our house by 1 pm. Rich and Oliver were great, knowledgeable, and worked quickly and clean. I knew enough to DIY the fix, but didn't want to risk it and I will say it isn't often that a professional puts in as much care as the homeowner, but they very much did - even taking the time to answer my questions around the specific tools they used. I will absolutely make Zeek my first call for the next plumbing fix.
Jason K
Zeek Plumbing is the best! I called and they said someone would arrive within the hour and someone actually arrived within the hour. We had a dripping pipe in the basement and the issue was resolved quickly and efficiently. I very highly recommend Zeek Plumbing!!
Mom of 4

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