Skip To Content

    We Need To Talk About Your Beloved Butt Wipes :-/

    Your plumbing system literally cannot with those wipes.

    I really can't blame anyone for wanting a better alternative to toilet paper.

    Seb_ra / Getty Images

    It can be wasteful, expensive, and just not the most comfortable experience, especially if you're purchasing single-ply paper to ameliorate those first two issues.

    For a lot of people, the answer to their TP woes is wet wipes. They're softer, they say! They clean better, they say! And most importantly, they're flushable, they (and the packages) say!

    Rosshelen / Getty Images

    Why shouldn't you treat your backside like it belongs to a freshly-birthed child?

    Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but so-called flushable wipes are a nightmare for plumbing systems, and we should probably just stop using them, TBH.

    Photo by Filios Sazeides on Unsplash

    Just because you can flush them doesn't mean you should. In a 2015 article, the New York Times reported that the so-called flushable wipes were actually pretty indestructible, and aren't manufactured according to the strict guidelines that would make them disintegrate better. When flushed, they remained intact and combined into an undying superknot. According to the article, New York City spent more than $18 million between 2010-2015 on wipe-related equipment problems. States like Hawaii, Alaska, Wisconsin, California, and Oregon have also battled their own wipey monsters.

    The Atlantic reported this year that there's been ensuing legislation around the word "flushable," and in May 2015, the Federal Trade Commission removed a brand made by NicePak because it was deemed unsafe for sewers. Additionally, environmental groups have noted that the plastic fibers in the wipes contribute to harmful ocean pollution. Womp womp.

    Wet wipes have oozed insidiously across the pond, too. The infamous Fatbergs that terrorized London's sewage system in 2013 and 2017 were largely due to the buildup of wet wipes.

    Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

    The most recent 'berg, a "rock-solid" blockage, as NPR called it, weighed as much as 11 double-decker buses. The congealed, greasy mass was made mostly of cooking oil and wet wipes, took an eight-person crew weeks to remove.

    So what can you do instead of resorting back to toilet paper, if you really don't wanna? Well, you could get a bidet, a bathroom item that deserves much more respect in the US.

    Bidets have long been ignored and even scandalized in the states, but they don't need to be anymore! They get your tush squeaky clean, are very environmentally friendly, and there are a bunch of attachments you can buy and pop on your regular old toilet.

    You can also start using a family cloth, a reusable bathroom wipe that you can make using literally any fabric you want.

    The concept might be a bit of a turn-off, but it has legions of fans who love how affordable, customizable, and sustainable it is. And no, it's not nearly as gross as it sounds — you can wash and bleach them, and you don't have to share a single one among multiple family members or roommates.

    If you just can't bear to depart with your wipes (and I don't blame you for that!), you could try DIYing your own.

    My coworker mentioned that a doctor once recommended using Balneol and toilet paper as a flushable replacement for wet wipes. (Balneol's website explains why the brand actually refuses to make wipes, and flush-ability is a big part!)

    And look: maybe you just really need to use wet wipes for reasons, and ultimately, I'm not going to get in between you and your butt. But! If that's the case, you could try disposing of them in a diaper genie.

    All the odor control you need, and if you have a baby (or small dog), you'll get lots of use out of it.

    Happy wiping, y'all!

    1. How do you clean yourself after going to the bathroom?

    Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later
    Looks like we are having a problem on the server.
    How do you clean yourself after going to the bathroom?
      vote votes
      Just regs toilet paper.
      vote votes
      Wipes all the way, baby.
      vote votes
      Bidets are where it's at.
      vote votes
      I'm into the family cloth.
      vote votes
      Something else that I'll explain in the comments.