Can You Put Tissues in the Toilet?

Can You Put Tissues in the Toilet?

Whether you use tissues to remove makeup, blow your nose or for some other purpose, you have to dispose of them effectively. The best place is the trash bin. But, some people will use the toilet as a means for tissue disposal because the manufacturer indicates they’ll dissolve in water.

So, can you put tissues in the toilet? For a quick answer, no, you can’t put tissues in the toilet. It’s just not a good idea to do this. However, if it’s only one and if you know your sewage system is solid, then you technically shouldn’t have a problem. But, this is in no way a guarantee.

We’ll tell you all about why it’s a bad idea to put tissues in the toilet and examine the potential hazards it can cause. Also, we’ll show you some alternatives you can use and other means to avoid disaster.

Why Is It a Bad Idea to Put Tissues in the Toilet?

While flushing one or two tissues down the toilet may not have any negative effects, making a consistent habit of it will eventually have you calling the plumber. This is because, even though a manufacturer makes the claim their tissues will dissolve in water, you can’t trust that with any amount of certainty.

Even if the tissues do dissolve, they won’t do it immediately on contact. This means they may use some biodegradable material, such as cellulose, but the binder to make them stronger will not breakdown right away. This is what poses a risk to plumbing and sewage systems.

When you put the tissue in the toilet, you’re taking a gamble of whether the pressure will carry it away or not. And you won’t know that until a backup occurs, unfortunately. It means that if the tissue lodges in the pipes, everything else you flush will adhere to and clog the passageway.

Municipal or Environmental Problems

Another thing you may not be aware of is how your local sewage treatment facility will also have to deal with it. They literally spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year dealing with all the issues associated with non-flushable items. This, in turn, causes filters and equipment to clog, gumming up the works.

The negative result equates to frequent sewage overflow. This can also adversely affect the environment such as local lakes, rivers, aquatic life and other wildlife. Additionally, it poses a serious risk to the health to your neighbors, including children, and raises repair expenses to an unnecessary degree.

Is It Okay to Put Tissues in a Toilet with a Septic Tank?

While septic tanks are a personal waste management device, you will still cause problems for yourself by putting tissues in a connected toilet. Indeed, you should exercise even more caution because you could cause yourself a lot of undue trouble.

Septic tanks require extra care, albeit excellent for homeowners in areas without a municipal sewer system. But, most people are aware they cannot put things like tissues down a septic system. This is because most paper products, even those advertised as dissolvable or flushable, present a great danger to these devices.

What Happens

Tissues will baffle the inner mechanisms of the septic tank along with clogging pipes. Therefore, only organic waste should go into the toilet. Wiser and keener homeowners prefer people not use toilet paper at all, but this is where installing a bidet, or automated water rinse, can be a lovely alternative.

This is because even toilet paper can sink down to the bottom of a septic tank. Any paper product can create a layer of sludge that will eventually require more frequent pumping just to keep the sludge within a manageable limit.

So, for septic tanks, do not flush tissues or typical toilet paper. Either install a bidet or get a toilet paper brand advertised as “safe for septic tanks.” Do not use plush or multi-plied papers, since these will require more breakdown time for a septic tank.

Should You Worry If a Tissue Accidently Gets Put into a Toilet?

While you shouldn’t have too much concern if a tissue accidentally flushes down a toilet, you do want to be a little more careful. If luck is on your side, nothing will happen. But, it’s not uncommon for a clog to occur. Therefore, if you can, try to retrieve it. Such will be especially important if you have a septic tank.

This means you’ll have to put on long rubber gloves that go up to your elbows or biceps and dig it out. If you can’t see it, there are some other ways you can retrieve the piece of tissue:

  • Use an old wire hanger and undo it so that it becomes a straighter device with a hook on the end.
  • Use a plunger. The suction this creates will force the tissue to surface.
  • Use a drain snake
  • Use a wet/dry vacuum
  • Use hot water to pour down the drain. The pressure and heat should get it to flush.

Where Should You Put Tissues Instead of into a Toilet?

There are only two solutions for disposing a tissue rather than putting it into a toilet. The first is disposing of it in your compost pile if you have one and only if the tissue comprises biodegradable materials. The other option is the trash bin you keep in the bathroom.

What Are Some Alternatives if You’re Out of Toilet Paper?

If you run out of toilet paper there are some alternatives you can try. Peruse the list below and determine which one will be best for you, your situation and the toilet in question.


While we urgently press that you don’t flush tissues down the toilet, there are some rare caveats here. Once you’ve done wiping yourself, allow the tissue to sit in the toilet bowl for an extended period of time, such as an hour.

If it doesn’t appear translucent and broken down the next time you check it out, you’ll have to fish out the tissue and throw it away. Otherwise, you can flush it and pray for the best.

Recycled Paper

Recycled paper that’s plain without glossiness and printed inks can work in the event you run out of toilet paper. Avoid using things like magazine pages and newspapers. The slick surface and colored ink will come off onto your sensitive bits, which will cause a sever health issue. However, do not flush this down the toilet. Your only option here is to toss it into the trash bin.


If you’re in a pinch and run out of toilet paper, you may be able to use a cloth or other type of clean, unused rag. This could be from an old t-shirt, a face towel that’s on the fritz or other such material you won’t care about throwing away. As with all other suggestions, though, put this in the trash and not down the drain.


If you’re a history buff and want to make your toilet experience something akin to the ancient Romans, try using a sponge. After all, their design and engineering lends itself to absorbing and wiping away dirt and moisture quickly. You just want to ensure that it’s clean and that there’s no abrasive scrubber attached.

Depending on the soil level, you can throw this out in the garbage or you can clean it when you’re done to reuse another time.


Of course, when all else fails, you could opt for some water. It’s sanitary, efficient and affordable. Plus, there’s no issues with it gumming up your plumbing, sewage or septic tank. Simply take a cup and pour it over where you need it to go.

Install a Bidet

A bidet is an excellent solution if you find yourself often running out of toilet paper. Sure, the initial investment may be somewhat pricey, but it will end up paying for itself in the end. Instances of clogged toilets lower dramatically and people even claim they are far more effective than any amount of toilet paper.

There are stand-alone models or attachments you can install onto the toilet. Either way, you can’t go wrong having one of these since it’s the best way to guarantee your toilet won’t clog because of things like toilet paper or tissue.

How Do You Fix a Severely Clogged Toilet?

If your toilet clogs severely because of tissue or even toilet paper, don’t try to fix this yourself unless you absolutely know what you’re doing. While you could try a drain snake, some hot water or plunger to see if it will unclog on its own, don’t do anything more than these if you’re not having any success.

Always call a plumber to come and handle it. While it may seem like an annoying and/or unnecessary expense, understand that these people are highly trained with certification. They will have the best tools to get the job done right along with the knowhow to fix it appropriately.