How Long Does it Take for Toilet Paper to Decompose in A Septic Tank?

Maintaining your septic tank is very important and if you are using toilet paper, you might have wondered how long it takes for them to decompose. Nowadays, there are many types of toilet paper sold on the market which is labeled septic safe or flushable. On the other hand, what the manufacturer advertises may not be true. How long does toilet paper stay on your septic tank before they start to decompose? We will find out the answer below.  

How long does it take for toilet paper to decompose in a septic tank? While toilet paper starts to dissolve as soon as it is flushed down the toilet, it can take up to three years to fully decompose in your septic tank. The rate of decomposition depends on various factors like the thickness of the toilet paper, the amount of water available on the septic tank, and the condition of the weather.

Toilet paper is a staple in most households. It is always on the list of household items to buy and homeowners make sure that they have sticks of toilet paper in their supply. On the other hand, you need to be cautious with how much toilet paper you are using especially if you have an old septic system. It takes some time for toilet paper to decompose and can clog the system. Make sure that you use toilet paper that breaks down faster and settles at the bottom of the septic tank to avoid drain clogs.

How long does it take for toilet paper to decompose in a septic tank
Image by presley123 from Pixabay

Do all Types of Toilet Paper Dissolve?

All type of toilet paper dissolves when it gets into contact with water. On the other hand, how long it takes for the toilet paper to dissolve varies depending on various factors like the brand, thickness, and chemical content. Thick toilet paper like the 3-plys dissolves longer as compared to the thin ones.

How Does Toilet Paper Dissolve?

Toilet paper is made up of cellulose fibers that untangle and creates a thin sludge when it gets in contact with water in the toilet. The sludge is then carried into the septic tank. Take note that anything thicker than toilet paper will not break down and can clog your septic tank.

Can You Dissolve Clogged Toilet Paper in the Sewer Line?

You can dissolve clogged toilet paper in the sewer line. This can be done with the use of a chemical sewer line additive which effectively breaks down toilet paper. There are a lot of products that you can purchase on the market. On the other hand, this should be the last resolve. If you have a clogged sewer line, the first thing that you need to do is to unclog the line with the use of a plunger. If that does not work, you can try using a toilet snake or auger.

Is Important that the Toilet Paper Dissolve Efficiently?

It is important that the toilet paper dissolve efficiently so that it will not clog or cause damage to your drain and septic tank. There are many toilet papers sold on the market but not all of them are safe for the sewage system. Take note that solid waste which includes undissolved toilet paper remains inside your septic system and should be pumped out every three years.

Some toilet paper dissolves and decomposes faster compared to others so you need to be meticulous about the type of toilet paper that you use. Bear in mind that your choice of toilet paper can affect the efficiency of your septic tank. Take some time to research and learn about the best toilet paper that you can use. You can also read this article that discusses if bamboo toilet paper blocks drain. We have shared helpful information that you can refer to.

How Long Does it Take for a Clogged Toilet Paper to Dissolve?

A clogged toilet paper can break down and dissolve within twenty minutes of regular flushing. On the other hand, this is not always the case. There are situations wherein a wadded toilet paper forms a gluey mass that is hard to unclog. If this happens, it can take up to two hours to dissolve on its own. If there is a high amount of toilet paper that gets stocked, you might need to use a plunger or a toilet snake to remove the clog.

Types of Toilet Paper that is Best for Septic Tanks

The types of toilet paper that are best for septic tanks are recycled, biodegradable, and septic-safe. Choose a toilet paper that dissolves rapidly into small particles as soon as it is flushed down the toilet.

Recycled Toilet Paper

This type of toilet paper is safe for septic tanks because it contains fewer chemicals. Moreover, it is made with fibers that easily break apart which makes it dissolves quickly in water.

Biodegradable Toilet Paper

While all types of toilet paper break down eventually when it gets in contact with water, some dissolve faster which includes the biodegradable toilet paper. Aside from that, this type of toilet paper does not need a lot of water to dissolve. The downside is that this toilet paper is not as thick and can be expensive.

Septic-Safe Toilet Paper

Nowadays, you can find a wide array of toilet paper that is labeled septic-safe. This type of toilet paper dissolves faster. They are safe to use on your septic tank and will not clog your toilet. We have also shared this article titled, is bamboo toilet paper septic-safe? You can check out the article for more tips and information.

Can Bleach Help Dissolve Clogged Toilet Paper?

Bleach can help dissolve clogged toilet paper. On the other hand, you need to be careful when using bleach on clogged toilets because it can damage your septic system. It is best to use a plunger to remove clogged toilet paper.

✅ – Unclog A Toilet-3 Different Ways Guaranteed

Mike Klimek shared the video below on YouTube. It shows how to unclog a toilet in three different ways. If you are dealing with a clogged toilet at home and are looking for DIY methods on how to unclog it, watch the video below for tips and ideas.

Can You Use Any Type of Toilet Paper?

You can use all types of toilet paper. However, you need to bear in mind that not all types of toilet paper are safe for the septic tank. Take note that liquid waste leaves your septic tank and solid waste such as toilet paper gets left behind inside. This is the reason why it is recommended that you have your septic tank pump out every few years to avoid buildup. You need to be careful about the type of toilet paper that you use because some dissolve faster as compared to others.

Toilet paper that is in 2ply or 3ply takes longer to break down inside the septic tank. Hence, you should opt for thin toilet paper that is septic safe. Moreover, make sure that you do not fill up your septic tank faster because the bacteria and water in the tank cannot dissolve the waste. This will lead to overfilled septic tanks that can easily get damaged and cause issues inside your house such as clogged toilets. You can also check out this article that discusses what the worst toilet paper for septic systems is. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Why is it Important to Choose a Toilet Paper that is Septic-Safe?

You must choose a septic-safe toilet paper because it prevents toilet clogs and also maintains the level of healthy bacteria waste inside the tank. By using septic-safe toilet paper, you can rest assured that your septic tank will work efficiently. Let us learn more about the reasons why you need to choose toilet paper that is septic-safe below.

Prevent Clogs

Using septic-safe toilet paper will make sure that it will dissolve and break down easily. Otherwise, it can cause damage to the septic system. A common issue that homeowners encounter by using the wrong type of toilet paper is drained clogs. Some might not notice that they have a clogged toilet until the sewage flows back to the toilet. If you have clogged septic drains, do not use drain cleaners because they can harm the bacteria living inside the septic tank. These bacteria are important because it breaks down the waste inside the tank.

Helps Maintain Healthy Bacteria

Another reason why you must use toilet paper that is septic safe is that it helps maintain healthy bacteria. Take note that the bacteria are the ones that break down the waste inside the septic tank. As a result, it enables the sludge to settle down and the effluent to flow out from the tank. You must maintain healthy bacteria inside the tank so that it will work efficiently. Bear in mind that toilet paper can contain chemicals that can harm the bacteria in the tank. If this happens, the breaking process will be slow and you will end up with a clogged septic tank which can be very expensive to repair.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses how long it takes for toilet paper to decompose in a septic tank. We have found out that the rate of decomposition varies according to different factors such as the thickness of the toilet paper. The thicker ones such as the 2-ply and 3-ply take longer to decompose as compared to the thinner ones. Moreover, we have learned the importance of choosing septic-safe toilet paper. Make sure to choose a septic-safe toilet paper so that your septic system will not clog and will work efficiently. Thank you for reading!

Recent Posts