Worst Toilet Paper For Septic Systems (Don’t Buy This!)


Have you ever wondered what the worst toilet paper for plumbing or septic systems is?

Septic tanks decompose waste from your home using bacteria. Most septic tanks can last many years, especially if you select a good toilet paper for them.

Even though you might think all toilet papers are the same, they are actually very different. The materials they are made from and the thickness can all affect your septic tank’s longevity.

Since septic tanks can be expensive to repair and replace, you certainly want to do what you can to make it last.

So, what is the worst toilet paper for plumbing or septic systems? The following 4 worst toilet paper types for plumbing or your septic tank you need to avoid:

–           Flushable Wipes

–           Ultra-Soft Toilet Paper

–           Thick Toilet Paper

–           Dyed Toilet Paper

More About Septic Tanks

To better understand why you have to select your toilet paper carefully, it’s best to understand septic tanks and how they work. As we already said, septic tanks decompose waste using bacteria.

There is much more to the story, though.

Every time you flush your toilet, the waste, water, and toilet paper will flow through the drain pipe and land in the septic tank.

Anaerobic bacteria inside the septic tank will then break down this organic waste. Through a series of pipes, purified water, more technically referred to as effluent, is released into the ground.

Read also: How Do I Unfreeze My RV Black Tank? (Step by Step)

Meanwhile, sludge, which is basically the solid waste from the toilet, settles to the bottom of the septic tank, waiting to be removed. The top of the septic tank has scum.

This includes things you don’t flush, such as oil, grease, and wet wipes.  The scum is what causes problems.

“Since the waste from your toilet settles to the bottom of the tank, you want the toilet paper to aid in this decomposition process.

In other words, you want to select a toilet paper that easily breaks down, becomes that sludge, and settles to the bottom.”

If not, it will stay at the top of the septic tank, which leads to scum and drains clogs.

Read also: Best Portable Camping Toilets for Vans, Cars, and RVs (11 Facts)

Why Does Toilet Paper Type Matter

Because septic tanks are pretty powerful, you might not think it matters what toilet paper you use. This cannot be further from the truth. It’s important to select a septic-safe toilet paper so that it will last for many years.

There are two main reasons why carefully selecting toilet paper matters for the longevity of your septic system.

Most obviously, you want to select a toilet paper that can break down easily. If it does not break down easily, it can lead to clogs in your septic tank.

This clog can occur either inside the toilet, trap, drainpipe, or the tank itself.

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

As you know, any type of clog can cause a lot of issues down the line. The last thing you want to do is select toilet paper that causes clogs, unless you want to call a plumber constantly, which we are assuming you don’t want to do.

“Another reason that selecting the right toilet paper is crucial for the septic tank’s longevity is that certain toilet papers are better for the septic tank bacteria than others.”

In order for septic tanks to work, the bacteria must be healthy.

If you select a toilet paper with a lot of chemicals, the bacteria will be harmed, leading to a slower decomposition process.

This could also lead to more clogs and expensive repairs. In contrast, selecting a septic-safe toilet paper will help nourish the bacteria so that it can decompose the waste faster.

4 Worst Toilet Paper Types For Your Septic Tank

Now that we have learned all about subject tanks and why selecting the right toilet paper matters, let’s take a look at the 4 worst toilet paper types for septic tanks.

1.      Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes are easily the worst type of toilet paper to use with a septic tank. We know. Flushable wipes are technically not toilet paper, but most people use them the same way.

Even though flushable wipes claim to be flushable, they are terrible for septic tanks.

It is very difficult to break down flushable wipes, meaning that they lead to a lot of scum inside the tank.

This will harm the bacteria inside the septic tank and slow the decomposition process. Not to mention, flushable wipes easily clog drain pipes.

2.      Ultra-Soft Toilet Paper

Another toilet paper type that is not safe for septic tanks is ultra-soft toilet paper. This may be shocking, but it makes a lot of sense as to why it is terrible for a septic tank.

Because the materials used to make ultra-soft toilet paper are difficult to break down (which is why the paper is comfortable), they can lead to a lot of damage inside the septic tank.

Unlike flushable wipes, ultra-soft toilet paper is much less likely to cause clogs in the drainpipe because the paper does break up easily. What makes it dangerous for septic tanks is that it doesn’t decompose quickly.

This can cause a lot of damage if you use ultra-soft toilet paper for a long period of time.

3.      Thick Toilet Paper

Similar to ultra-soft toilet paper, you don’t want to use thick toilet paper for a septic tank either. The thicker the ply, the more difficult it will be to disintegrate.

This makes sense simply because there is more product that needs to be broken down.

Not to mention, thick toilet paper often is made with glue that holds the layers together. These glue types are very difficult to break down and can lead to clogs in the drain pipe.

This means that thick ply toilet paper can both cause clogs and slow decomposition within the septic tank.

4.      Dyed Toilet Paper

The last toilet paper type we do not recommend for septic tanks is dyed toilet paper. In the 60s and 70s, toilet papers were dyed different colors to make the bathroom really colorful.

Although the colors were eye-catching, they included a lot of chemicals that severely damaged the bacteria within the septic tank.

Luckily, most toilet paper today is white, but not all. If you find dyed toilet paper, it is best to go with the traditional white color so as not to harm the bacteria inside the septic tank.

Better Toilet Paper Alternatives

If you have been using one of the previously mentioned toilet papers, you should opt for a different type instead.

Switching to a different toilet paper can help to save you money in the long run. Here are the better alternatives we recommend.

1.      Septic-Safe Toilet Paper

Whenever buying any toilet paper, it’s always important to select a type that is septic-safe. Many toilet paper types will actually say “septic-safe” on the outside of the container.

If you see this, you can trust that the toilet paper you are using will not damage your septic tank.

Septic-safe toilet paper will be made from easily dissolved materials that are relatively free of chemicals.

This will help to prevent clogs and not damage the bacteria.

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

2.      Recycled Toilet Paper

Toilet paper made from recycled materials is one of the best options for septic tanks. Recycled materials have already been broken down and are designed to be broken down in the future.

Because of this fact, they break down within your septic tank rather easily.

Recycled toilet paper may be a bit more expensive, but it will save you a lot of money in terms of your plumbing bill.

Most recycled toilet paper is also whitened without chemicals, thin, and 100% recyclable, making it great for your septic tank from every angle.

Recycled toilet paper isn’t very difficult to find anymore. Most large grocery chains now offer recycled options.

The Seventh Generation brand is our favorite because it is relatively easy to find, affordable, and 100% recyclable.

Read also: Can I Use RV Toilet Paper in My House? (Is It Safe?)

Bamboo Toilet Paper

Similar to recycled toilet paper, bamboo toilet paper is a great alternative. This eco-friendly option will be expensive too, but it will save you in plumbing bills.

Plus, it is better for the environment. Bamboo toilet paper is 100% biodegradable, making it super easy to break down inside the septic tank.

Bamboo toilet paper is more ethically made, free of fragrance, free of chlorine, and hypoallergenic. All of these features make it easy to disintegrate and will not harm the septic tank bacteria.

Plus, it won’t cause any allergens. Aside from being expensive, the other downside is that it is not the softest option and may be more difficult to find.

If you are interested in bamboo toilet paper, we recommend Caboo. Caboo is a brand made from bamboo.

This is a bit expensive and isn’t very comfortable, but it comes with the other benefits of bamboo toilet paper.

Thin Toilet Paper

The last alternative is thin toilet paper, which is probably obvious. Thinner toilet paper, as we already learned, is easier to disintegrate and will not lead to clogs.

Just because toilet paper is thin does not mean it has to be uncomfortable, though.

For example, Angel Soft is a great toilet paper brand that tends to be thin yet is popularly loved for its more comfortable feel.

This is just one example that proves selecting a septic-safe toilet paper does not lead to sacrificing comfortability or quality.

Embossed toilet paper could also be a great option for thin toilet paper. Not everyone loves embossed toilet paper, but it can be preferable to some people.

If you are looking for an embossed option, we recommend the Preference brand.

Read also: Is Charmin Toilet Paper safe for RV? – What You Need To Know

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right toilet paper can be a hassle, especially if you have a septic tank. Even though septic tanks are pretty powerful, choosing the wrong toilet paper can cause you to waste a lot of money in the long run.

At the same time, you don’t want to select a toilet paper that is uncomfortable to use.

Generally speaking, avoid ultra-soft, thick, or dyed toilet paper. All of these options lead to clogs and slow down the decomposition process.

You especially should not use flushable wipes because they severely damaged the bacteria and lead to serious clogs within the drainpipe.

Instead, opt for septic-safe toilet paper types. Bamboo and recyclable toilet paper can break down pretty quickly. Thin toilet paper types are also a great option.

With all of these types of toilet papers, remember you don’t have to sacrifice comfort or quality when selecting a septic-safe option.



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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