What Can Safely Go Down Your Toilet?

Flushing toilet paper

With Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s just around the corner, you will likely have an increase in guests and, therefore, an increase in the use of your toilets!  With that in mind, we at Sun Plumbing would like to give you information on what can be flushed safely down your toilet to help avoid an embarrassing and messy holiday bathroom situation!

Is All Toilet Paper Equal When It Comes to Your Plumbing?

No, it is not.  As far as quality, you already know that it varies from brand to brand with toilet paper.  While many generic items are equally as good as their name-brand counterparts, it is also true that some brands are of higher quality than other brands.  For instance, if you have ever wiped up a spill with a generic paper towel versus your favorite brand, you have likely noticed a difference.  That’s why you have a favorite brand!  The same is true with toilet paper.  While there may be that rare citizen who truly doesn’t have a T.P. preference, most adults do.  Unfortunately, your plumbing may have a different opinion than you.

While most of us enjoy multi-layered, fluffy, soft toilet paper, our plumbing isn’t as amenable to this choice of toilet paper.  While all toilet paper will eventually break down, the issue is how quickly it breaks down.  If someone is having tummy issues or you have a potty-training child who likes to use an excessive amount of toilet paper, you could be headed for a toilet clog.

Which Toilet Paper Is Safest for My Plumbing?

In a fun and important experiment, a contributor to “Family Handyman” magazine set out to answer this exact question.  In his experiment, he placed two squares of toilet paper in water, soaked them for fifteen minutes, swirled them to simulate a single toilet flush, then tried to scoop the remains of the toilet paper out of the water.

It comes as no surprise to us, as plumbers, that the toilet paper earning the worst rating for dissolving the least was a 3-ply paper, Quilted Northern Plush.  While this toilet paper may feel nice on a tender tushy, it does not break down quickly at all.  After fifteen minutes, someone else in your household should be able to use the same toilet without fear of an overflow.  However, this paper was still almost fully intact.  With that sitting in your pipes, a clog could easily occur.

What about that perennial favorite, Charmin?  We are sorry to have to tell you that Charmin Ultra Soft and Charmin Ultra Strong didn’t rate much better than Quilted Northern Plush.  We realize that some of you may have health issues that require frequent trips to the bathroom.  If soft toilet paper is a necessity, just know that you may have to deal with toilet clogs.

The winner of the toilet paper challenge was Scott 1000.  This is a 1-ply toilet paper, so as plumbers, this does not surprise us as we recommend 1-ply paper as the best solution for avoiding clogs.

You may have noticed when using 1-ply paper that you have to use more of it.  Won’t that cause clogs, as well?  The experiment tested that very hypothesis.  In conducting the same experiment with three times as much Scott 1000 as Quilted Northern Plush, the additional sheets of Scott 1000 still broke down faster than Quilted Northern Plush.  One-ply tissue is, without question, the safest for your plumbing.

Can Anything Other Than Toilet Paper Safely Be Flushed?

No!  Flushable wipes do not break down quickly.  They break down even slower than plush toilet paper.  Similarly, it is best to throw away feminine products as opposed to flushing them.  Having a small, tasteful wastebasket with a lid is a great addition to your bathroom.  It will make guests feel more comfortable about throwing things away, such as feminine products and Q-tips.  Nothing should go down your toilet other than one-play toilet paper.  Nothing else is designed to dissolve quickly and can easily cause plumbing issues.

What Should You Do if Your Toilet Is Clogged?

A small clog may be fixed with the use of a plunger.  If that doesn’t do the trick, then you may need the assistance of a professional plumbing service.  The clog may be too far down the pipe for your plunger to have an effect on it.  Or, you may have another plumbing issue of which you were unaware.  Either way, having served Melbourne, FL for over 45 years, the outstanding plumbers of Sun Plumbing feel confident that they can handle your plumbing issues to your satisfaction!  Before everyone arrives for the holidays, stock up on one-ply tissue and keep our number nearby, just in case!

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