In the never-ending quest for better hygiene, I recently purchased some "flushable wipes," the better to keep my nether regions shower-fresh all day. However, I now hear rumors that such wipes are not actually flushable after all. Are they?


From Tic Tacs to Summer's Eve, products that assuage what I call "orifice insecurity"—the gnawing fear that our holes are socially unacceptable—will always sell.

Flushable wipes fit the bill. Originally pitched as "baby wipes," these pre-moistened towelettes are increasingly marketed to adults.

There's only one problem: Baby wipes don't dissolve like toilet paper does. You can't flush them without causing problems down the line.

For people with babies, this doesn't matter; they just toss them into the diaper pail and throw them out with the trash. But childless adults don't have the battle-hardened indifference to poop that new parents do. We want those tainted (ahem) wipes gone yesterday.

This left the personal-care industry with two choices: invent a truly flushable wipe, or convince kicky young singles to keep diaper pails in their bathrooms alongside the Axe body spray.

Then again, you could just take regular non-flushable wipes and slap the word "flushable" on the box. And that's pretty much what they did.

"Products that purport to be flushable cause huge maintenance headaches for sewer utilities everywhere," says Linc Mann of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. Lest you think that sounds like somebody else's problem, these wipes can also block your plumbing.

If I ran the city, I'd sue the wipe-makers for negligent advertising. Granted, I would also attend city functions wearing a giant hamburger head like Mayor McCheese. Still, it might be worth a look.

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