What is the Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems?

The worst toilet paper for septic systems is a hot topic for debate among homeowners that have a septic tank. Our team diligently examined the different types of toilet paper to identify which ones are not good for septic systems. As you read on, we will share our findings with you.

What is the worst toilet paper for septic systems? The worst toilet paper for septic systems includes 3-ply, quilted, scented, and extra-thick toilet paper. You should avoid using any of these types if you have a septic tank system in your home. They degrade quite slowly and may clog and damage your septic system. Also, recycled toilet papers are safer for septic systems than regular toilet paper.

For toilet paper to be safe for septic systems, it should break down easily in water. In the sections that follow, we will explain the worst toilet paper for septic systems in more detail. We will also teach you how to test the safety of toilet paper for your septic system before using it. What’s more, we will tell you what to look for if you want a safe toilet roll for your home’s septic system.

What is the worst toilet paper for septic systems
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What is the Worst Toilet Paper for Plumbing in Septic Systems?

Three-ply and quilted toilet papers are the worst for plumbing in septic systems. They can cause serious plumbing problems and make you spend a lot on repairs. Three-ply or ultra-plush toilet rolls are also dangerous for septic systems. They don’t break down quickly, so they are likely to clog your toilet and damage your pipes.

Below are the worst types of toilet papers that you should avoid for your septic systems

Three-Ply Toilet Papers

Three-ply toilet papers are also known as “ultra-plush” toilet papers. They are the worst when it comes to disintegrating in water. You should avoid them at all costs if you have a septic system in your home.

Three-ply toilet papers hardly break down in the water. They come out soaked and thick, but almost 100% intact. They are sure to clog your toilet.

It is better to use three pieces of 1-ply toilet paper than to use one piece of 3-ply toilet paper. With one-ply washroom paper, the roll will still break down fast. But three-ply will remain almost the same and end up clogging your pipes. You can also check out this article that discusses why toilet paper is bad. We have shared tips and ideas that you can refer to.

Quilted Toilet Papers

Once you see a product with the description “quilted”,  avoid it because it’s not good for septic systems. Quilted or ultra-soft means the toilet paper is thick and will expand rather than disintegrate in the water. This can cause serious plumbing problems. You need toilet rolls that will degrade, and not expand.

Scented Toilet Papers

Some of the high-end toilet papers out there are scented with certain oils. Some others contain softening agents and bleaches. While these toilet papers are usually very comfortable, the chemicals they contain can harm your septic system. Watch out against these types of toilet paper and avoid them.

The toilet paper types above are the worst of them all, but there are many other unsafe types out there. If you are not sure about a type of toilet paper, you can do a toilet paper test to see if it’s safe or not. The process is simple, easy, and takes no time.

How to Do the Toilet Paper Test for Septic Tanks

To do the toilet paper test for septic tanks, you will soak the toilet paper in water for about 15 to 20 minutes and see if it breaks down easily or not. If it dissolved well in water, then it should be safe for your septic system. But if it does not dissolve easily, it is unsafe and you should not use it. If you do, the toilet paper will clump up and cause a blockage in your pipes.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do the toilet paper test:

  • Place two sheets of toilet paper you’re testing in a clear glass container.
  • Add two cups of water to the container and leave it in place for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, stir the cup vigorously and see whether the paper will break down.

Vigorously stirring the toilet paper replicates how the toilet paper would fly down your plumbing pipes. If the toilet paper breaks down very well after stirring, then it is septic-safe. But if it does not break down well or, worse still, if it does not break down at all, it is not septic safe.

If the toilet paper does not dissolve, that’s a clear indication that it will not disintegrate when you flush it down the toilet. It is likely to clump up and clog your pipes as more toilet papers get stuck in the same place over time. You can also check out this article that discusses if bamboo toilet paper is environmentally friendly. We have shared information on why bamboo is an ideal material for toilet paper.

✅ Video – Which Toilet Paper Brand Should You buy? – Drain Help

This video illustrates the toilet paper test. You will see how 13 different brands of toilet paper fair when you carry out the toilet paper test on them. You can’t ask for a better video guide on the toilet paper test! Click the play button below to watch now.

What is the Best Toilet Paper for Septic Tanks?

The best toilet papers for septic tanks are certified septic-safe toilet papers. These toilet papers dissolve quickly but they hold strong before you put them in water. The National Sanitation Foundation evaluates toilet papers and certifies those that are safe for septic systems. These usually include biodegradable and recycled toilet paper.

Easy disintegration is not the only criterion for septic-safe toilet paper. Septic-safe toilet papers must also hold together very well while using them. It is counter-productive if the paper doesn’t hold together because you will have to use several pieces. And these several pieces may not break down easily.

What are the Septic-Safe Toilet Papers?

If you are looking for septic-safe toilet papers, you should go for the following types:

What Is The Worst Toilet Paper For Septic Systems
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Certified Septic-Safe Toilet Papers

Certified septic-safe brands are your best bet for septic systems. These toilet papers have been tested and certified by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) to be safe for septic systems. The rectification means that the toilet paper will break down easily and quickly when you expose it to water.

Contractor-Recommended Toilet Papers

Septic system contractors usually have information on different types and brands of toilet paper. You can check with your contractor before you use any new brand of toilet paper. Read the product information to see if it is recommended for your septic system or not.

Biodegradable Toilet Papers

Biodegradable toilet rolls are designed for quick and easy degrading in water. They have loser bonds that break easily and they don’t have non-dissolvable fibers that can slow down their disintegration in water. This type of toilet paper is safe for septic systems and will not cause damage. If you are looking for biodegradable toilet paper, we recommend this product. It is safe for all disposal systems which include motorhomes, and marine sanitation systems.

Recycled Toilet Papers

Recycled toilet rolls are safe for septic systems, not because they disintegrate more easily than non-recycled products. But they are safe because they don’t contain harsh chemicals, like bleach that topple the balance in septic systems. Harsh chemicals can kill the microbiomes in your septic system and render it ineffective. According to our research, this recycled toilet paper is popular in the market.

Tips on How to Use Toilet Paper for Septic Tanks

To maintain your septic tank, make sure to use the right type and the right amount of toilet paper. Toilet papers are designed to be flushed down the toilet, but not all of them disintegrate quickly. This is why you need to be mindful of the amount and type of toilet paper you use. Below are some tips on how to use toilet paper for septic tanks.

The Right Type

Make sure to choose the right type of toilet paper for your septic tank. Some types dissolve faster compared to others. You can always test toilet paper to check how fast it can dissolve. Moreover, choose one or two-ply toilet paper because they are thinner and will dissolve much faster as compared to the three-ply ones.

unrolled toilet paper
Photo by Huu Thong on Unsplash

The Right Amount

To avoid clogging your septic tank, see to it that you use the right amount of toilet paper. Do not wad too much toilet paper when you use the bathroom. Fold five to six sheets of one or two-ply toilet paper to avoid clogging the toilet as well.

Is Flushable Wipes Safe for Septic Tanks?

Flushable wipes may not be safe for the septic tank. Take note that because a product is labeled as flushable, it is safe for the septic tank. Flushable wipes can cause clogging into the toilet pipes which also leads to septic tank issues. Flushable wipes are thicker and they take longer to dissolve compared to toilet paper.

Will Toilet Paper Clog My Septic Tank?

Toilet paper can clog your septic tank especially if you are using too much of it. Bear in mind that the wrong toilet paper can damage your septic tank. Avoid using quilted or thick toilet paper because they take a long time to break down and can cause backups in septic tanks.

toilet paper on toilet
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What Products can Safely Dissolve Toilet Paper?

If you have a clogged toilet, you can use baking soda, boiling water, and vinegar to help dissolve the toilet paper. Mix a cup of baking soda, a cup of vinegar, and 4 cups of boiling water in a bowl and pour it into the toilet. Wait for about fifteen to twenty minutes before you flush.

Can I Use Chemical Products on My Septic Tank?

You can use chemical products on your septic tank as long as they are labeled as safe for septic use. Take note that not all chemical products can be used on septic tanks because they can disrupt the ecosystem and harm the natural bacteria in the tank. When using a chemical product, follow the instructions and do not pour more than what is written on the label.

What Toilet Paper is Not Septic-Safe?

Any toilet paper that doesn’t degrade quickly and easily is not septic-safe. It will contribute to scum, clog your drain pipes, and damage your plumbing system. Non-recycled washroom papers that contain harsh chemicals are also not septic-safe. Harsh chemicals can disrupt the balance of microbes in the septic system and render it ineffective to break down wastes. We have also shared this article titled, bamboo toilet paper and septic systems. Learn more about the topic by reading the article.

Is Charmin Bad for Septic Tanks?

Charmin is tested and certified septic-safe, it will pass through the pipes easily, settle in the septic tank, and undergo biodegradation there. Its packaging contains the label, “no plunger”. This is the manufacturer’s assurance that the toilet paper will not clog your drain pipes. This pack of charmin toilet paper is a good option if you want to buy in bulk and save money.

Can I Use Regular Toilet Paper in My Septic System?

You can use regular toilet paper in your septic system, so long as it breaks down easily. You can carry out a simple toilet paper test to be sure that your chosen toilet paper is safe before using it. Watch out against scented and 3-ply toilet papers because they are unsafe for septic systems.


You have learned about the types of unsafe toilet paper for septic tanks. They include three-ply, quilted, and scented toilet paper. Instead of these options, you should use certified septic-safe, biodegradable, contractor-recommended, and recycled toilet paper. These are usually safe for septic systems and should cause no problems whatsoever.

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