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Tired of wrangling dried-out personal cleansing wipes?

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

We were over them. Dried-out personal cleansing wipes. The plastic containers did nothing to keep them moist and useable. The packages they come in - with that goofy little 'snap' lid or the supposedly 'resealable' closure - are utterly worthless. They may work the first few times but after that, you may need a roll of duct tape handy to keep them closed and moist. I was really tired of trying to re-hydrate them or just throwing the hopeless dried-out ones away.

In doing a bit of research for this post, I wondered when the personal hygiene wipe was invented. Yes, I do actually wonder about stuff like that. Wipes come by any number of names: Wet towel, moist towelettes, baby wipe, disinfecting wipe, wet wipes and the well-known wet nap. They were invented by Arthur Julius in the late '50s, and he started selling them to Colonel Harland Sanders for use at Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. It probably didn't take long from KFC to every barbeque joint in America.

They've become ubiquitous in our society - cleaning baby bottoms, wiping off makeup, wiping down everything from our phone screens, to toilet seats and airplane tray tables. Whatever your need to clean, there's a wipe for that. I hope the heirs of Arthur Julius were able to hang on to the copyright.

But, there just had to be a better way of storing the ones we used on a daily basis, and would hold them securely and moistly. Online I went, searching from some kind of reasonably durable container that would fit in the bathroom, not be terribly ugly, and keep the wipes corralled and moist. I started by simply searching for any kind of small-ish plastic box with a snap lid. No luck there. But, when I switched my search to baby wipe dispenser, I hit pay dirt.

Oxo products are usually pretty reliably well thought out and designed. I've got Oxo kitchen utensils that go way back. So, after a scan of similar products online, I took a chance with the Oxo Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser.

These dispenser boxes are unobtrusive, reasonably nice-looking, and even better, work absolutely as advertised. Relatively heavy for their size, they stay put on the cabinet. And, with just a touch on the front of the lid, they pop open.

Here's the genius part. See that gray 'plate' with the center hole? That gray plate is weighted. You take the wipes out of the plastic package and plop them into the box, put the weighted plate on top, and pull one through. The wipes seem to come out just as you'd hope - as in, one at a time. That's preferable to the wipes coming out in a long, stuck together bunch as with some of the stupid containers.

These wipes were from a package of the WalMart Equate wipes and for some reason, they're folded in half. Whatever. I put them into the box, put the plate over them, and they work just fine. I won't buy those again in the future, however.

Now, that we've found the ideal dispenser, the argument still remains: Are 'flushable' wipes really 'flushable'? If the plumber who came to our house several years ago is to be believed, "Hell no!" Yeah. We bought into the claim that they were 'flushable'. That set us up for a hefty bill from the Roto-Rooter guy here in town. He said to "never, ever flush those things."

And, apparently, most municipal utilities around the country agree. I found one after another that had initiated public campaigns to stop people from flushing the damn things. It doesn't appear to matter whether it's a makeup cleaning wipe or a baby wipe ... any kind of wipe. They're all bad for plumbing.

The photo above illustrates the problem. I found this on several municipal utility sites. Just because you CAN flush it doesn’t mean you SHOULD flush it. Here is toilet paper and a wipe from over a year ago. The wipe is still whole after a year! Even wipes labeled as “flushable” can lead to toilet and pipe blockages.

And, we're not just talking about your home plumbing. Municipalities are struggling with the man-hours and costs of unblocking the epic clogs that these wipes cause in cities around the world. Maybe, if you aren't a homeowner, you don't care. But, you probably should if you pay taxes or rent. Unclogging pipes add to the costs many of us bear as apartment dwellers, or the costs we pay for hotel rooms, visitor taxes, and such.

Here are some links to stories about the problem of 'flushable' wipes:

City of Mount Vernon, Washington 'Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable'

And, if you still need some convincing, watch this clever short film by some students in New Hampshire.

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