Flushable wipe container.
Research report
7 October 2015

Flushable wipes

Why you shouldn’t put flushable wipes down your pipes.

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Dale S.
15 Apr 2018
What's a better alternative?

In a house full of young children and a few adults who like the 'fresh feeling' a wipe can give, what is a hygienic alternative to flushing the used wipe down the toilet? Leaving them in a closed rubbish bin seems logical but may become odorous. Is there a household chemical that could be added to stop the odour and breakdown the wipe so that it could be flushed?

Consumer staff
16 Apr 2018
Re: What's a better alternative?

Hi Dale,

We aren’t aware of any household chemical that could break down the wipes to make them safe to flush, and we recommend consumers never flush so-called “flushable” wipes. Your best option is a closed bin and to limit the smell you could try a scented liner (they are available for nappy bins), but they aren’t a cheap option.

Belinda - Consumer NZ writer

Llyvonne B.
18 May 2021
An alternativevto flushable wipes

I would happily recommend a bidet toilet seat. The water cleans the area far better than wipes ever could. I have found that it also reduces the amount of toilet paper I use. The heated toilet seat and heated water is great in winter.

The Real John R.
04 Jul 2016
And what about your nice, warm fleece

No response from Nick to my last post so I don't expect any action on fleeces either. Micro fibres from your fleecy jacket are the biggest source of plastics contamination in the gut of fish and seabirds too. Sooner or later, these fibres end up in our guts also. Have a look at https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/oct/27/toxic-plastic-synthetic-microscopic-oceans-microbeads-microfibers-food-chain. As a "Consumer" I need this sort of information to help me decide whether or not to buy from those big, chain, outdoor-clothing stores.

The Real John R.
07 Jun 2016
What about facial scrubs?

Not just flushable wipes but what about the facial scrubs that are currently popular and well advertised, as well as baby bath bubbles? These things contain, in one bottle, MILLIONS of tiny plastic beads that wind up ... where? Well, in the gut of fish, obviously. Have a look at http://europe.newsweek.com/united-states-just-banned-microbeads-those-tiny-plastic-disasters-your-face-410617?rm=eu

Any chance of Nick Smith acting some time soon?

Laraine B.
13 Feb 2016
I'd be very happy to email these manufacturers

if I only knew who they are! I don't use flushable wipes. I use Ajax Spray'n'wipe multipurpose wipes, but the manufacturer doesn't claim they are flushable, and they certainly don't look flushable.

Previous member
23 Jan 2016
Flushable wipes and toilet paper containing bamboo fibre

Am so pleased Comsumer have surveyed this! I have used flushable wipes, and also toilet paper with bamboo. Both clogged my sewer drain and my neighbour's as we share the pipe at a Y connection. It happened twice and my recollection was it cost us more than $200!
Yes, 'flushable' wipes are convenient - but I will not be buying any more.
I have found that the toilet paper labeled 'containing bamboo fibre' has a similar effect on the drains too so that is also no longer on my shopping list.
Thanks too for the info on where viscose and rayon come from.

Douglas S S.
22 May 2016
Bamboo fibre

Bamboo fibre is essentially rayon. I regard the marketing of rayon products as environmentally friendly rayon as a con. And of course being an artificial plastic product the fibres themselves take forever to break down unlike the natural cellulose in toilet paper. To say nothing of the extreme chemical environments and water use required to turn bamboo-sourced cellulose into rayon.