What Is The Worst Brand of Toilet Paper (You Should Avoid!)


Have you ever wondered what the worst brand of toilet paper is? Look no more. We´ve got you covered.

It is a sad truth that the things we enjoy most are most probably the worst for us and your toilet paper is no different. The softest, most luxurious toilet tissue brands are most likely to be the worst for your environment and, in some instances, your health.

It is hard to tell the brands apart when they often fail to divulge their ingredients clearly. 

The worst toilet paper brands you should avoid include Charmin Ultra, Cottonelle Ultra, and Quilted Northern for biodegradability. Scented and ultra-soft labeled toilet paper is the worst brand for allergic reactions, while top-selling brands such as Kirkland, Up ; Up Soft ; strong, and Angel Soft got an F sustainability rating from the NDRC.

Strict international regulations have lessened the likelihood of dioxides and BPAs and the various chemical threats in most off-the-shelf brands despite the warnings that persist in the media.

However, some brands are worse than others, and here are some facts to help you avoid some of the worst brands on the market. 

What are the Worst Toilet Paper Brands for Your Health?

The bleaching process used to whiten and soften toilet tissues is the main reason why toilet paper has been associated definitively with both environmental and human health risks.

Up until the mid-1990s, tissue producers were still using elemental chlorine in the bleaching process. 

Elemental chlorines emit a chemical called dioxin, which is toxic but persistent, which means that they degrade slowly and thus build up, contaminating the food chain and ultimately humans.

These toxins, including BPAs, have been definitively linked to several health issues in humans. 

We may take in dioxin by air, water, and meats such as dairy, fish, and meat, and dioxin contamination has extensive consequences in the human body, including:

  • Congenital disabilities
  • Allergies
  • Reproductive defects.

With greater awareness of the dangers of toxins hidden in toilet paper, the international production laws regulate compounds in toilet paper production.

These chemicals include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pentachlorophenol (PCP), other semi-volatile chlorinated organic compounds (VOCs) in toilet tissue papers.

Tissue pulp companies were put to task to reduce and eliminate these harmful toxins and transitioned to new elemental chlorine-free processes as follows.

Read also: What Are The Best Certified Septic Safe Toilet Paper (Biodegradable)

Toilet Bleaching processes

The Elemental Chlorine Free Process (EFC) is commonly used in kraft pulp processing, reducing dioxin rather than the more harmful elemental variant of chlorine. However, it is not dioxin-free, as pointed out by The Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC.) NDRC suggests that this process still emits dioxides that affect water sources, air and impacts fish and animal life and humans.

Recycled papers typically use the Processed Chlorine Free Process(PCF ), which means that the recycling process was free of chlorine and its byproducts. Instead of chlorine, this process uses oxygen-ozone and hydrogen peroxide as their whitening agents.

This process is less harmful to the environment and animals but may still contain trace elements of the original bleach derivatives from the recycled paper.

The Totally Chlorine Free process(TCF) uses pulp that has not had any contact with chlorine or chlorine derivatives or has not been bleached at all and is the least harmful of the types of toilet paper. 

What Is the Worst Toilet Paper Brand for the Environment?

Environmental protection agencies have implicated The toilet paper industry in the extensive deforestation of the Canadian arboreal forest.

There are also links to increased carbon emissions and potentially toxic byproducts dangerous to wildlife and humans. Sadly, Virgin fiber is the most common source of tissue pulp found extensively in the Canadian arboreal forest region and the southeastern United States. 

The production of virgin wood pulp is a water-hungry process and causes hazardous airborne pollutants such as formaldehyde and acrolein. these byproducts are associated with:

  • Respiratory upset
  • Eye nose and throat irritation and allergies
  • Potential cancer
  • Increased levels of sulfur dioxide.

The NDRC stated that typically North American toilet paper contained as much as 40 percent Northern bleached softwood kraft NBSK from Canada. In comparison, paper towels hold up to 75 percent of this virgin wood.

When the NDRC posted its 2019 rating of the top American toilet brands who made up the bottom of their list, they gave these brands an F rating.

  • Charmin Ultra (Procter ; Gamble)
  • Kirkland (Costco)
  • Angel Soft (Georgia-Pacific)
  • Scott ComfortPlus (Kimberly-Clar)
  • Quilted Northern (Georgia-Pacific)
  • Presto (Amazon)
  • Aria (Georgia-Pacific)
  • Fiora (Asia Pulp and Paper)
  • Quilted Northern EcoComfort (Georgia-Pacific) 
  • Up ; Up Soft ; Strong (Target.)

It is best to look for ‘non-bleached and 100% percent degradable and of the tree-free variety. Tree-free toilet paper typically makes use of bamboo or sugarcane, which are a type of grass.

Rapid dissolving toilet paper commonly used in RV and Marine toilet tissue is also an environmentally-conscious option and friendly to your septic tank and plumbing as well. 

Read also: Is Costco Toilet Paper RV Safe? (ALL FACTS)

What are the Worst Toilet Brands for Your Septic Tank?

While American consumers seek the ultimate comfort in their toilet paper, the softer, plusher, and quilted the toilet paper, the worse it seems for your septic tanks.

Not only do some of the ‘luxury brands’ cause havoc on your plumbing system, but they are destructive to the environment as well.

Toilet paper that does not biodegrade has an environmental impact and adds to the pollution in our already choked oceans. 

The worst brands of toilet paper for septic tanks include:

  • Scented toilet papers contain chemicals that disrupt the balance of microorganisms that break down the paper in your septic system leading to problems in the long run.
  • Quilted toilet papers contain a greater level of adhesive compounds that lengthen the time it takes for the tissue to break down
  • Three or four-ply toilet paper is hard to dissolve
  • Extra plush toilet tissue with added softeners affects the breakdown of the tissue in your septic system. 

Some of the worst brands for your septic or plumbing system, in general, have been named regularly on sites that conduct tests have named:

  • Quilted Northern Ultra Plush and Soft and Strong

On shake tests conducted in glass jars, the Quilted Northern Ultra Plush was the worst-performing brand when it came to dissolving. The three-ply plush toilet paper remained in the water mostly fully intact, which may be hazardous to your septic system. when toilet paper does not break down, it also pollutes waterways and eventually our oceans. 

  • Cottonelle Ultra Comfort Care

Even though this brand is only two-ply, it fares relatively poorly in dissolving. The paper tends to clump and holds its shape longer than most other two-ply brands

  • Cottonelle with Aloe and Ripples 

Cottonelle has shown to be stubborn to break down and offers resistance to dissolving in water. The paper retains almost all its original shape after being soaked and then stirred. 

  • Charmin Ultra Soft, Ultra Strong, and Basic  

In a consumer reports test, the Charmin brands performed the worst in disintegration tests out of 21 toilet paper brands. The Charmin range also fared terribly in this extensive study where it showed the highest average time to disintegrate, second only to a French brand Floralys Extra Doux.

Read also: Is Kirkland Toilet Paper Septic Safe? (Explained)

Worst Toilet Paper Brands For Allergies

Sadly, the toilet paper packaging we find in our local stores does not divulge their production process or the chemical additives they use in the toilet paper.

Often sensitive users find out the hard way that the toilet tissue may cause allergic reactions. Although severe physical symptoms are relatively rare, allergic responses may include:

  • Vulvovaginitis a painful inflammation of the vagina and vulva linked to formaldehyde, benzocaine, chlorine, and lanolin. Often toilet paper is overlooked as a cause of this painful condition in women. 
  • Chemicals in scented toilet paper may disrupt the normal pH of the vagina leading to yeast infections.
  • Certain scented toilet tissue may contain chemicals that lead tourinary tract infections, particularly in women. This condition may be serious and lead to kidney infections that are potentially lethal. 
  • Allergic contact dermatitis on the hands from chloromethylisothiazolinone in moist toilet paper
  • Rhinoconjunctivitis is an allergic reaction that shows symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, red eyes caused by irritants in specific paper tissues.

Toilet paper Brands to Avoid For Allergies

  • Super plush or thick luxury brands that are typically three-ply or labeled extra strong.
  • Toilet papers that display “Ultra Soft” in their branding, often a sign of bleaching in production
  • Patterned, embossed, and “quilted” toilet paper varieties which often include adhesives in the manufacturing process
  • Toilet rolls that tend to leave a dusty or linty residue when used, which may indicate BPAs.

Worst toilet paper Brands for Wiping Comfort

It is a sad truth that often, the most luxurious toilet tissues are bad for the environment. However, eco-conscious toilet paper producers have come far in providing softness while sparing the environment, such as Seventh Generation 100% Recycled toilet paper.

Some brands mentioned online for low comfort levels are the following: 

  • Commercial toilet paper is rough and unpleasant and is found almost everywhere outside of homes. Typically one ply and abrasive, it is undesirable to use even though establishments offer it for free.  
  • Georgia Pacific Envision Toilet Paper has been nicknamed the great depression in toilet rolls’ and found in many hotels and office settings. The abrasive qualities of the toilet tissue are a source of much office discontent. 
  • Coles 100% Recycled Toilet Tissue fared poorly for roughness and the tendency to fall apart when used. However, it seems worth the slight discomfort for its sustainability and easy breakdown qualities.
  • Scott’s 1,000 Sheets Per Roll Toilet Paper is affordable, durable, and eco-friendly but does not fare well in the softness stakes.

As mentioned above, the most luxurious and soft brands are the most highly implicated in deforestation and damage to the Canadian arboreal forests, where they source their softwood virgin fiber.

Often the ultra-luxury brands carry a heavy cost, both budget-wise and to our waterways and natural environment. 

The Bottom Line

According to Statistica, America is second only to China in toilet paper consumption in terms of revenue, at 13.4 billion dollars in 2020 alone.

With emerging evidence of the devastating environmental impact, it makes sense to source toilet tissues that do not harm our planet and ourselves.

If one insists on using toilet paper over the other less traditional methods, then recycled toilet paper brands free of chlorine bleaching are the way forward if we wish to protect ourselves and our planet. 





Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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