What Are Flushable Wipes Used For [And Are They Really Flushable]?

If you've been strictly a toilet paper user, you might not be up to speed on all the details surrounding flushable wipes. You might be wondering what these wipes are used for and whether they can actually be flushed. Well, you're in luck, because we did the research to bring you the answer.

Flushable wipes are most commonly used as a more hygienic solution for cleaning up after going to the bathroom. Given their hygienic properties, flushable wipes can also be used to clean up all kinds of messes, and they can also be used as body wipes.

Flushable wipes can be flushed provided the manufacturer claims that the wipes are flushable (i.e. safe for septic and sewer systems) and that you follow the manufacturer's guidance for flushing the wipes. However, flushable wipes might only break down completely if they travel through a proper sewer system.

If you still have some questions about using flushable wipes, don't worry. In this post, we'll discuss the topic in more detail. We'll also talk about whether you can use flushable wipes as body wipes, whether flushable wipes clog toilets, how long it takes for these wipes to break down, and more. Without further ado, let's get into it.

Woman throwing away wipes to the toilet, What Are Flushable Wipes Used For [And Are They Really Flushable]?

What Flushable Wipes Are Used For

Here we'll talk about the different uses for flushable wipes in more detail.

Throwing away a flushable wipe on the toilet

Cleaning Up After Going To The Bathroom

Flushable wipes are primarily used to help clean up after spending some time in the bathroom. Some people use wet wipes as a toilet paper supplement, while others exclusively use wet wipes to take care of their business.

Flushable wipes are infused with a cleaning solution that helps them effectively clean up after going to the bathroom. For this reason, flushable wipes have become more common in bathrooms. 

Cleaning Up Messes

Flushable wipes can also be used to clean up a variety of messes. Though they are intended for bathroom use, it's quite convenient to grab a wipe or two to clean up a spill or other mess. After all, a cleaning solution is a cleaning solution whether it's employed for bathroom business or any other mess.

What's more, the package that these wipes come in can be resealed, which makes them extremely useful for on-the-go messes. 

Cottonelle Cleansing Wipes

These wipes come in a convenient resealable package, making them a great solution for cleaning messes on the go.

Click here to see these Cottonelle wipes on Amazon.

Can You Use Flushable Wipes As Body Wipes?

In addition to the aforementioned uses, flushable wipes can also be used as body wipes if desired. In a pinch, flushable wipes can help you get fairly clean if you're out hiking, camping, or simply don't have access to a proper shower.

After all, if these wipes can handle cleaning up after you do your business, they can certainly be used to tame your sweaty armpits or clean off your dirty hands.

Can You Use Flushable Wipes On Your Private Parts?

Now that we've established that flushable wipes can be used as body wipes, you might be wondering if they can be used on one's entire body—that is, one's private parts.

Generally speaking, any flushable wipe will be safe to use externally on one's private parts. However, be wary of wipes that contain alcohol, as these wipes can potentially cause irritation if used regularly.

In particular, female hygiene wipes have become quite popular.

Click here to see these feminine hygiene wipes on Amazon.

What Wet Wipes Can I Use Instead Of Showering?

If you'd like to get some wet wipes to keep on hand to use in lieu of a shower, there are several great options to choose from. But before we proceed, it's important to note a couple of things.

First, showering is always the best way to clean oneself. Though wipes can be used in a pinch for personal hygiene purposes, they should never become a substitute for proper bathing.

And second, some wet wipes that are suitable for cleaning one's body might not be flushable. Be sure to check the packaging to determine whether or not the wipes you choose are safe to flush; if they aren't, be sure to dispose of them properly.

Microwavable Cleaning Wipes With Vitamins

These wipes can be microwaved for added cleaning effectiveness. What's more, they have vitamins that will help nourish your skin. They also don't contain alcohol, which means you don't have to worry about them irritating sensitive skin.

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Ultra-Thick Body Wipes

These wipes are thicker than normal wipes, which means they'll be even more effective when it comes to cleaning. Additionally, these wipes don't have alcohol but rather aloe vera and vitamins for added nourishment.

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Duke Cannon Cold Shower Wipes

These wipes are perfect for when you don't have access to a shower. You can remove all kinds of stink, dirt, and sweat with these. 

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable?

Throwing a flushable wipe on the toilet

Now that we've discussed the different uses for flushable wipes at length, we'll talk about the highly controversial topic of whether or not flushable wipes are actually flushable.

Many claim these wipes are perfectly fine to flush, and many are adamant about the impending plumbing issues these wipes will cause if they are flushed. We're here to set the record straight.

But first, we need to clarify exactly what we're talking about here. We're discussing flushable wipes. There's a lot of confusion out there as many seem to think flushable wipes are the same thing as baby/wet wipes, and they refer to all wipes as though they belong in this same overall category.

However, this is not the case. Flushable wipes are quite different from baby/wet wipes. Wipes that are advertised as flushable are in fact flushable provided the following are true:

The Packaging Says So

First, check to see that the packaging explicitly states that the wipes are flushable. Be sure to read any fine print that might include any relevant caveats. If you have a septic system, it's also a good idea to check to see if the wipes in question are considered safe for these systems (more on that later).

They Don't Contain Plastic

If the packaging states that the wipes are flushable, you can confirm that they are in fact flushable by verifying that the wipes don't contain plastic. In order for wipes to be flushable, they must be made with plant-based materials. So be sure to look for this information on the packaging.

They Are Flushed One At A Time

Woman throwing away a tissue

Even if wipes might be made out of the correct materials to be considered flushable, they are only truly safe to flush if they are flushed one at a time. These wipes are designed to properly break down in a sewer system as long as they are flushed one at a time. 

Still don't believe us? Check out this video in which Cottonelle, one of the leading flushable wipe manufacturers, puts their flushable wipes to the test:

Do Flushable Wipes Clog Toilets?

Flushable wipes (those that are truly flushable) do have the potential to clog toilets if they aren't flushed one at a time. Plant-based flushable wipes are designed to break down just like toilet paper when flushed individually, but if several of them are flushed at once, they can clog the toilet.

How Long Does It Take For Flushable Wipes To Break Down?

In Cottonelle's test (see the video above), it took their flushable wipe a mere 17 seconds to begin breaking down once it started getting sloshed around (simulating traveling through a wastewater system). After half an hour, both the flushable wipe and the toilet paper had broken down equally. 

So, a plant-based flushable wipe will start breaking down within seconds of being flushed, and it will take about half an hour for it to fully break down provided it is being sloshed around as it traverses your municipality's waterworks. 

However, it's worth noting that it can take flushable wipes a lot longer to disintegrate in a septic tank if they do at all. When a wipe travels from the toilet to the septic tank, it simply doesn't experience the same sloshing action as it would going through a municipal plumbing system.

So, even if wipes are considered safe for septic systems, they might not actually end up breaking down completely. However, they shouldn't harm the septic system.

Are Flushable Wipes Better Than Toilet Paper?

We've established that flushable wipes are growing in popularity when it comes to bathroom cleanup and that they are generally safe to flush. But are they actually better than toilet paper?

In short, yes. Though toilet paper remains the most common material for bathroom cleanup, the fact of the matter is that flushable wipes are much more hygienic. As we mentioned earlier, flushable wipes are infused with a cleaning solution that helps them more effectively clean up after you do your business.

In Closing

Woman throwing away wipes to the toilet

We hope this guide has helped you better understand the different uses for flushable wipes. Additionally, we hope you are reassured that these wipes are perfectly fine to flush as long as the conditions we discussed are met. Stay clean!

And before you go, be sure to take a look at these other guides:

How Long Does A Toilet Paper Roll Last?

Why Does Toilet Water Move When Other Toilet Flushes?

Small Bubbles In Toilet After Flushing—What’s Wrong?

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