In the age of technology and more options for consumers to choose from than ever before, one head-scratching puzzle in the world of plumbing has been deciding which toilet paper is best for making sure you have no unnecessary/preventable septic troubles. From flushable wipes to one-ply paper, and everywhere in between, the question can be daunting. The answer? We got you!
Not all choices for toilet paper provide the same proof of promise! The National Sanitation Foundation has a specific designation of “septic-safe” toilet papers. The best toilet papers for your septic system will be a combination of a few or all of the following traits: chemical-free (including scent-free), biodegradable, recycled, and/or reasonably thick. The worst toilet paper choices that could potentially cause a future headache are those that are scented, colored, quilted, triple-ply, or the dreaded “flushable” wipe. These papers are often too strong to break down easily. Let’s look at some reasons why these choices could lead to future trouble.
Scented/Colored: While these two characteristics may bring some extra flair to your restroom decadence, they could also be the cause of wear and tear on your septic tank. The chemicals that make these papers such a delight can be harmful to the microbes and bacteria in your tank. Dyes and perfumes may also be irritating to the skin.
Quilted: These papers contain an adhesive that is extremely slow to break down in septic systems. Because this causes the paper to be less biodegradable, it may lead to clogs and blockages.
Triple-Ply: The luxurious choice, no doubt, but also a pain in the sense that this amount of plush, thickness can take an extended amount of time to break down. The extra comfy cushion for the tush’ can be another cause for future clogs and blockages.
“Flushable” Wipes: Ah, the crème de la crème of septic nightmares. No matter how these little buggers are marketed, they will never (read: NEVER!) decompose or breakdown in any septic system. They will sit in the water taking up space, causing septic levels to rise & potentially leading to backups / blockages, even leading to solids being forced into the drain field. When this happens, you can count on catastrophic troubles! It is our professional recommendation that these types of disposable wipes be thrown away rather flushed away.
Now for a few characteristics to look for when choosing the best paper that won’t rile up your septic tank! First and foremost, the paper needs to be biodegradable. Compostable paper makes it easier to break down and prevent clogs. Scott Rapid dissolve, Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Soft, Bamboo/Tree-Free Paper, 2-Ply Seventh Generation, are all generally great recommendations depending on personal preferences. You will want to watch for biodegradable options that are reasonably thick (not TOO thick, or TOO thin), highly absorbent, and chemical/dye- free.
Remember, just because the label says, “Septic Safe,” does not necessarily guarantee that the paper is, in-fact, not going to cause you pain and suffering later on. Choose wisely!