What Toilet Paper Should I Use for Septic Tanks?

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Toilet paper's thickness has little effect on how well it dissolves.
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For those of us with septic tanks, all toilet paper products are not created equally. You may be tempted to purchase any old toilet paper, but you need to use the best toilet paper for septic tanks. Of course, keep in mind what works for you and your body, but next time it's your responsibility to pick up the toilet paper, think of your toilet and septic tank too.

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The best toilet paper for septic tanks is biodegradable toilet paper, recycled toilet paper and septic-safe toilet paper.

Septic Tank Basics

According to Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup, after you do your business and flush the toilet, the contents travel to your septic tank. Solids, like toilet paper, sink to the bottom of the septic tank and form a sludge that builds up. Before you freak out, most of the time, natural bacteria will decompose the sludge, but if you're purchasing toilet paper that isn't good for your septic tank, you'll need to get your septic tank pumped more than usual.

Although you need toilet paper that will dissolve into small particles so the sludge doesn't take up a lot of space, there are other factors to consider when it comes to your septic tank and the toilet paper you use.

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Biodegradable Toilet Paper Benefits

According to Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup, the best types of toilet paper for septic tanks are biodegradable toilet paper, recycled toilet paper and septic-safe toilet paper. Biodegradable toilet paper, like Bim Bam Boo Organic Bamboo Toilet Paper and Silk'n Soft Bamboo Toilet Paper, requires less water to break down and will dissolve quicker.

The only cons about biodegradable toilet paper are that some are rough and can be more expensive. Still, there are soft ones on the market, like Betterway Organic Bamboo Toilet Paper.

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Consider Recycled Toilet Paper

Another popular choice is recycled toilet paper. Recycled toilet paper, like Scott Essential Professional 100 Percent Recycled Fiber Bulk Toilet Paper for Business, has fewer chemicals. According to Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup, chemicals like bleach can disrupt the natural bacterial balance in septic tanks. If the bacterial balance is disrupted, then your sludge won't break down quickly.

Septic-Safe Toilet Paper Caution

Last, you can buy septic-safe toilet paper. The only negative about septic-safe labeled toilet paper is that many toilet paper brands mark their tissue septic safe, but they're not actually septic safe. A popular toilet paper brand that markets itself as septic safe and actually is septic safe, is Charmin.

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According to Charmin, Charmin Ultra Soft Cushiony Touch Toilet Paper is septic safe and tested to make sure that it settles in septic tanks and undergoes biodegradation. Although Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup recommends that you avoid flushing baby wipes or other types of wet wipes, according to Charmin, Charmin Freshmates Flushable Wipes are thin and septic safe.

Septic Tank Problems

According to Paradise Septic, if you want to limit the number of times your septic tank is inspected, you should be careful with what you flush down your toilet. Toilet and sinks are not garbage cans, and what you flush down your toilet can clog the tank.

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Paradise Septic cautions against flushing items like egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit skins or other types of food waste cannot naturally break down in a septic tank. To extend your septic tank's longevity, you should get it inspected every three years to avoid massive repairs, replacement and clean-up bills.

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references & resources

Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer and her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, Popsugar, Complex, Gurl, The Kitchn, HelloGiggles, Revelist, and Food 52.