So, what is the truth? Are flushable wipes really flushable or is it all just a big misunderstanding? Below, we’ve assembled the facts so that you can make the informed decision to flush or not flush.


The problem stems largely from the fact that the manufacturer’s definition of ‘flushable’ and the government’s definition of ‘flushable’ are at odds with one another.

Technically, when you flush the wet wipe, it will disappear down the U-bend of your toilet. This will fall into most people’s idea of what ‘flushable’ means too and won’t think any more of it.

However, the problem is what happens to the wipes once they enter the sewer system. They do not disintegrate easily, meaning they are more likely to cause a mass blockage.

As manufacturers and consumers do not see this and never have to deal with the consequences, it’s easy for them to dismiss wipes as flushable simply because it vanished down the loo.

This is a serious problem as many are mistakenly causing blockages and causing the government hundreds of millions to sort it when it is easily preventable.


Frustrated, Tony Griffiths of United Utilities commented: “The amount of money that gets spent on dealing with blockages and disposing of this material could be reinvested in our ageing infrastructure. If we’re not spending all this money, we could actually work to reduce customer bills.”

He is not the only one in the water industry losing their patience. Wessex Water has been pushing to ban wet wipes from being labelled as flushable.

When you consider that wet wipes are used from removing makeup to cleaning surfaces, it’s easy to imagine the impact it’s having.

Worse, they could end up in rivers and seas, causing harm to local wildlife and ecosystems, polluting waterways with microplastics.

Thankfully, the government is working towards a solution. However, it does need commitments from both manufacturers and consumers in order to help water companies.


The ideal solution would be to ban the use of the ‘flushable’ label, but a more realistic outcome would be to include more instructions and disclaimers to consumers that they should only flush one wet wipe at a time.

Even this is a problem, though, as wet wipes have failed every disintegration test they’ve been put under, so no matter how many you flush, the result will be the same.

The situation is doubtless frustrating and the government needs to work to help reduce this needless waste. A more sustainable solution is needed.


So, are wet wipes flushable? Absolutely not. Even in the tangential terms of manufacturers, they are not flushable.

Yes, they can go past the U-bend, but that isn’t and should never be a reason to just flush things down the toilet.

The only thing that should go down it, other than the obvious, is paper as that adequately disintegrates and doesn’t cause nearly as many mass blockages.

So, the next time you use a wet wipe, please put it where it belongs: in the bin.

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