Flushable wipes-they're marketed as an alternative to toilet paper. That might sound like a good idea, but in its latest tests Consumer Reports found a big problem.
Flushable wipes make lots of promises. Charmin's Freshmates say they're "septic safe."
Cottonelle's fresh wipes claim to "break up like toilet paper."
And Scott's flushable wipes tout "safe for sewers and septic."
To see how these claims hold up, Consumer Reports put these three wipes, along with plain old toilet paper, through a disintegration test.
It simulates what might happen when flushing.
This is Consumer Reports' top-rated toilet paper. It breaks down easily in about eight seconds.
But with the flushable wipes-testers stopped counting after 30 minutes!
"Although they say flushable, our disintegration tests show they don't break down easily, which could pose problems with your plumbing or septic system," said Consumer Reports' Kim Kleeman.
That's something Donna Gunther knows all too well.
"I had sewage flood, probably about one to two inches. The whole basement was filled with raw sewage," said Gunther.
Donna says her plumber told her the wipes were to blame.
"It said flushable. It says right on there. I only get the flushable and he said, "Well, they are definitely not." said Gunther.
And it turns out flushable wipes cost a lot more than toilet paper.
"If they're a must-have for your family, we recommend bagging them and tossing them out with the trash rather than flushing," said Kleeman.
Consumer Reports says if you want to use flushable wipes, you may want to consider store-brand baby wipes.
They shouldn't be flushed down the toilet either, but they cost a lot less.