Quick Guide: The Best Septic Safe Toilet Paper

Why do you need septic-safe toilet paper? If you have a septic tank — and about 20 percent (1 out of 5) Americans do — then you know that it’s basically an underground container that holds your home’s wastewater.

It’s easy to see that septic tanks are messy and more delicate than you might have suspected. In fact, putting too much of anything into your septic tank can damage it. But one of the most common culprits is loading your septic tank with toilet paper — specifically, the wrong kind of toilet paper.

Is Toilet Paper The Same As Tissue Paper?

First, let’s be clear. We’re talking about toilet paper, not tissue paper or paper towels.

While too much toilet paper is bad, those other paper products — even in the smallest quantities — are even worse for your septic tank. Unlike toilet paper, tissue paper and paper towels are not like toilet paper that dissolves. They actually absorb water, which makes them great for tasks like blowing your nose or wiping up a spill.

Toilet paper, on the other hand, is specifically designed to break down in water after about 1-4 minutes. This makes toilet paper well suited for being flushed through your pipes and septic tank. So, if toilet paper dissolves in water, why do we need septic safe toilet paper?

Does Toilet Paper Dissolve Thoroughly In Water?

Liquid (wastewater) that goes into your tank is also able to leave your tank. But solid waste of any kind — including your toilet paper — stays in your tank. The solids sink to the bottom of your septic tank while oil and grease form scum at the top. This solid waste creates build-up on the inside of your tank, which is difficult to remove.

We know that too much toilet paper — especially the wrong kind of toilet paper — can harm your septic tank. So the question to ask is, “Does toilet paper dissolve completely?” Or does it leave behind residue that’s difficult to clean and eventually clogs your system?

Yes, toilet paper does dissolve in water. But not always thoroughly. The worst toilet paper for a septic tank leaves behind a hard, sticky residue that will line the walls of your wastewater system. It takes much longer for the water and bacteria in your tank to dissolve them.

Thicker, stronger toilet paper — which is exactly how big-name brands market their toilet paper — takes longer to break down. Too much toilet paper is also a problem. Either will increase the number of times you’ll need to get your tank cleaned and the likelihood of damage. And that’s bad for your wallet.

Does toilet paper dissolve efficiently? In this experiment, using too much toilet paper was also a problem for your septic tank. Notice how much of the paper hasn’t even become wet — let alone dissolved — at the 3-minute mark.

3 Ways To Choose The Best Toilet Paper for Your Septic Tank.

We all have our tried and true favorites when it comes to toilet paper, but did you know that some brands of toilet paper are actually designed to be septic safe? Let’s determine if you’ll be making a switch to the best septic-safe toilet paper. You should choose your septic safe toilet paper using the following guidelines:

  1. Brand

    Let’s face it, some brands are national powerhouses who promise (that’s a nice way of saying they beat you over the head) a soft but strong experience. Sounds great, right? But if your brand is selling “soft but strong,” then it’s probably not the best toilet paper for your septic tank.

  2. Type

    There are two basic types: 1-Ply and 2-Ply. Choose 1-Ply because it is a thinner paper though it can still be quite soft. 2-Ply is popular because it is thicker. But it dissolves much more slowly and inefficiently, making it a poor choice for your pipes, drains, and septic tank systems.

  3. Ingredient

    If you combine the right brand of toilet paper with the right type of toilet paper, then consider choosing by ingredient as an extra safe option. Toilet paper is consists of short fibers, rather than the longer, stronger fibers found in other types of toilet paper. This allows the toilet paper to easily break into little pieces, dissolve more completely, and sneak through the rough edges and corners of your pipes, thus reducing the clogging in your toilet. 

What Is Recycled Toilet Paper Made Of?

Recycled toilet paper sounds great. But if you’re wondering what exactly it’s made of, you’re asking a good question.

Recycled toilet paper doesn’t consist of used toilet paper, so no worries there. It actually consists of post-consumer recycled content, also known as PCR. While recycled paper is made from other papers that contain BPA, these are parts per billion. So the pros of using recycled toilet paper outweigh the cons by a significant margin compared to what we interact with on a daily basis. 

The Best Brands Of Toilet Paper

For your convenience, here are links to toilet paper products on Amazon that dissolve more efficiently and thoroughly in older pipes.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the wrong toilet paper can cause a lot of damage and increase maintenance expenses to your septic system.

One great way to avoid these is to simply use toilet paper that works in your system. And that usually means a 1-ply tissue by the Scott brand. However, if 2-ply is your jam (probably a bad use of word there), then go with the Angel Soft or Seventh Generation brands of bath tissue.

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