Septic Safe Toilet Paper
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If you have a septic tank, using the right toilet paper is important for maintaining your septic system. Toilet paper that doesn’t break down can accumulate and cause clogs, leading to a dreaded messy or expensive repair. Septic-safe toilet paper dissolves quickly and completely to prevent plumbing problems.
Beyond being safe for the septic system, you also want the toilet paper to be soft, strong, and pleasant to use. Read on for the qualities to look for in the best toilet paper for septic tanks and learn more about the top picks for keeping your system clog-free.
- BEST OVERALL: Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Soft Toilet Paper
- RUNNER UP: Angel Soft Toilet Paper
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Scott 1000 Sheets Per Roll Toilet Paper
- BEST BIODEGRADABLE: Scott Rapid-Dissolving Toilet Paper
- BEST RECYCLED: Seventh Generation White Toilet Paper 100% Recycled
- BEST BAMBOO: Caboo Tree Free Bamboo Toilet Paper
- BEST LARGE ROLL: Presto! 308-Sheet Mega Roll Toilet Paper
- BEST FOR RVs/BOATS: Aqua-Soft Toilet Tissue – Paper for RV and marine
- BEST SCENTED: Angel Soft Toilet Paper with Fresh Lavender Scent
- ALSO CONSIDER: Freedom Living RV Toilet Paper
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Toilet Paper for Septic Tanks
Ultra-plush toilet paper may feel luxurious and soft, but it often isn’t the best pick for septic tanks since it takes longer to break down. One of the most important features to look for is easy dissolvability, which will prevent the toilet paper from accumulating and causing clogs in the system. Ahead are the features to look for in a septic-safe toilet paper.
Dissolvability is one of the key features to look for in a septic-safe toilet paper. Septic-safe toilet paper is often labeled as such since it dissolves quickly enough for most septic systems to handle. To be sure, you can also test the toilet paper yourself by mixing a few sheets into a large cup of water and observing how readily it dissolves.
Even if not labeled as such, recycled and biodegradable toilet papers also tend to be septic safe because of how they are made. Recycled toilet paper has a better chance of dissolving completely because it is usually made of shorter, recycled fibers that break up more readily than long, strong fibers used in new toilet paper.
While all toilet paper is technically biodegradable, biodegradable toilet paper breaks down faster than standard rolls. This toilet paper type also requires less water to break down and tends to take up less space in a septic tank once it’s dissolved.
Septic tanks contain anaerobic bacteria that break down waste. Many common chemicals, like bleach, solvents, and some cleaning products, can disturb the delicate balance in the septic tank and affect waste breakdown.
For this reason, it’s best to avoid highly chemically treated toilet papers. Since too much bleach can affect the decomposition process, and toilet paper is frequently bleached to get its white color, chlorine-free toilet paper is a better choice.
Again, consider opting for biodegradable or recycled toilet paper. Another benefit of biodegradable and recycled toilet paper is that it tends to require fewer chemicals to process, so it’s less likely to leach substances into your system.
Toilet paper that punctures and tears is annoying and unpleasant to use. Make sure to consider the toilet paper wet strength, which is how well the paper holds up to tearing when wet. The ideal toilet paper for septic tanks has a high enough wet strength to finish the job without tearing, but a lower wet strength than standard toilet paper to break down quickly once it’s flushed.
One-ply and two-ply toilet paper are the most common picks for septic system use, and both are suitable. One-ply tends to be less strong, but it is safer for septic tanks since it’s thinner and dissolves the fastest. Two-ply papers tend to be stronger, more comfortable to use, and can still be septic-safe. For many users, two-ply toilet paper is the ideal in-between for both comfort and dissolvability.
Thicker toilet papers tend to be more absorbent, but they can do a number on a sensitive septic system. It’s best to avoid ultra-plush papers that resemble a paper towel more than a toilet paper—these toilet paper types can have trouble dissolving.
Although ultra-thick toilet paper is often more porous and pleasant to use, it can clump up instead of breaking down once flushed. When toilet paper starts to collect and clump, that’s when the problems start, and it can create excessive buildup or start blocking drainage. Instead, opt for a septic-safe toilet paper that is thick enough to be absorbent but designed to dissolve soon after flushing.
Toilet paper comes in a variety of roll sizes and with a variety of different labels, from regular to mega rolls. However, there is no standard sizing when it comes to toilet paper, so it’s important to consider other ways to calculate cost-effectiveness and figure out the best size for you.
Looking at the sheets per roll can help determine whether a brand of toilet paper is worth the cost or not. But also keep in mind the quality of the toilet paper; sheet size and thickness will affect how many sheets are needed for each wipe.
Also consider your intended use and available space when choosing roll size. If you have a smaller toilet paper roll holder, limited storage space, or if the toilet paper is going in an RV or a boat bathroom, a smaller roll size is better. If you’re stocking up a high-traffic bathroom, a larger roll size may be more convenient.
No one enjoys using rough or abrasive toilet paper, especially on a daily basis. For your comfort, choose a septic-safe toilet paper that is soft and pleasant to use.
Keep in mind that many ultra-soft toilet papers are not suitable for septic systems. While they feel luxurious to use, their plush surface is usually made from thick and long fibers that tend to break down slower than other toilet paper types. Instead, look for a septic-safe toilet paper that is soft enough for daily use, but not so plush that it won’t break down. Two-ply toilet paper may offer more comfort than one-ply versions for day-to-day use.
Our Top Picks
The best toilet paper for septic tanks strike a balance between comfort and dissolvability. It breaks down easily to prevent plumbing problems down the line, but it’s also soft, absorbent, and strong. Ahead are the top toilet paper picks for septic tanks that are pleasant to use, affordable, and easily dissolvable to maintain a clog-free system.
For a soft yet still durable toilet paper that dissolves quickly and is gentle on delicate septic tanks, consider the Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare, which comes in a large pack of 24 mega rolls. Shoppers looking specifically for the most dissolvable product for an RV or boat trip should check out the Scott Rapid-Dissolving Toilet Paper, specially designed to dissolve quickly.
How We Chose the Best Toilet Paper for Septic Tanks
Toilet paper is a surprisingly varied product that, when comparing brands, will feel almost completely different from one roll to another. Our research looked at the best options in the market for toilet paper specifically designed to dissolve more quickly than the ultra-thick, almost towel-like options that some shoppers gravitate towards. For delicate septic systems that don’t fare well with clogs or blockages from 3- or 4- ply rolls, shoppers need to consider sacrificing some softness and thickness for a product that will dissolve quickly and avoid clogging.
Our list of recommendations gathers the top products in this category, offering a range of choices that are suitable for RVs, boats, camping, and other delicate septic systems. We made sure to include both 1- and 2- ply options, depending on how much users are willing to sacrifice comfort for dissolvability. We also included options for family-sized packs with up to 36 rolls, as well as smaller packs for those with less storage space.
When you have a septic tank, you need to be careful of what you put down the drain—including what you flush down the toilet. By using a suitable toilet paper for septic systems, you can avoid possible plumbing issues like clogs and blocked systems. If you have more questions about choosing the right septic-safe toilet paper for your home, consider the following frequently asked questions and answers below.
Q. Do I need special toilet paper for the septic system?
While you don’t need a special toilet paper for septic systems, it’s important to use a toilet paper that dissolves easily. When in doubt, look for a toilet paper labeled “septic safe.”
Q. What is wet strength?
Wet strength is a measure of how well paper holds up to tears and punctures when wet.
Q. Can I use two-ply toilet paper with a septic tank?
Yes, septic-safe two-ply toilet paper is available and is safe to use in septic systems.
Q. How long does it take for toilet paper to decompose in a septic tank?
Decomposition time will depend on the type, thickness, and ingredients in the toilet paper, as well as the conditions in the septic tank. Ideally, toilet paper should start dissolving within seconds once flushed, but it may take longer to decompose.
Q. What is the worst toilet paper for septic tanks?
The worst toilet paper for septic tanks is one that doesn’t break down easily; it will contribute to the scum at the bottom of the tank, which can result in a more frequent need to pump the septic tank or cause blockages.
Q. Are flushable wipes OK for septic tanks?
No, flushable wipes do not dissolve and should not be flushed down septic systems.