What Type of Toilet Paper Should You Be Using?

Image: a man holding many rolls of toilet paper, cover image for What Type of Toilet Paper Should You Be Using?
You may not give it much thought, but certain types of toilet paper are better for your plumbing systems than others. Believe it or not, choosing the right paper for your toilet system can help prevent clogs in the future.

Here are some tips to help you determine what type of toilet paper should you be using.

Why Toilet Paper Matters

When it comes to toilet paper, a higher price doesn’t always mean better quality. For example, it doesn’t matter if you use commercial-grade toilet paper or a cheap store brand. If you use too much too often, it will eventually clog your pipes and cause problems.

Image: toilet paper rolls against a blue background.
The problem is that most people don’t realize how much toilet paper they’re using or how often they should be replacing their supply. The average person uses about four sheets of toilet paper per trip, which can add up quickly.

Too much toilet paper flushed away can eventually cause a build-up in the pipes, leading to a clog and expensive plumbing maintenance.

Toilet Paper Factors to Consider

Whatever brand you use, there are four main criteria to keep in mind when choosing your toilet paper:

How Fast it Dissolves

By definition, toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water and break down quickly — but not all brands are created equal. You’ll want to look for a brand that dissolves in 30 seconds or less. This way, you can flush the paper and not clog your pipes.

Image: a roll of toilet paper that's almost done.
If you’re not sure whether your current brand of toilet paper dissolves fast enough, try this test:

Put a small amount of water into a glass container and add one piece of toilet paper. Wait five minutes, and then stir the mixture with a fork or spoon. If there are still pieces of wadded-up paper floating around, count yourself lucky that your pipes aren’t clogged yet — but make sure to switch brands.


Chlorine-free toilet paper is a great option for people with septic tanks and pipes. The chemicals in regular toilet paper and the pipes can lead to a buildup of limescale and affect the performance of your pipes and septic tank.

Chlorine-free toilet paper is made from recycled materials, which means it’s better for the environment. But the main benefit of chlorine-free toilet paper is that it will not cause as much damage to your septic tank or plumbing system.


The ply of a toilet paper roll is determined by how many sheets are twisted together to create a single roll. For example, a two-ply roll is made of two sheets twisted together, which gives it more strength and durability. As a result, Three-ply is stronger than two-ply, while one-ply has even less strength.

Image: tweet and meme about the great TP shortage of 2020.


Eco-friendly toilet paper is made from natural fibers, such as recycled paper and bamboo. It’s also often compostable and biodegradable.

Why Ply Matters

1-ply and 2-ply toilet paper is much thinner, which means you use less of it when you wipe. This means less waste in your septic tank and plumbing system.

Using 3-ply toilet tissue is bad for your plumbing system because it’s much thicker than 1 or 2-ply toilet paper. A clog can form in pipes if too much thick paper gets caught up in them, so using 1-ply is better for preventing clogs and backups in your home’s pipes and drains.

Toilet Paper That Can Hurt Your Plumbing System

Some forms of paper should never be flushed down your toilet.

Flushable Wipes

When you flush a wet wipe or other flushable wipes, it can clog your pipes. The result of this is an expensive plumbing maintenance bill. In addition to associated costs, it can also cause backups and overflows that could result in property damage and health risks.

Extra Soft

Extra soft toilet paper is just that, extra soft. This type of toilet paper shouldn’t be used in your toilet because the vast numbers of fibers can clog your plumbing system.

Image: a child playing with a roll of toilet paper.

3 or 4-ply Toilet Paper

The most common cause of toilet blockages is the use of too much toilet paper. This can lead to unfortunate consequences, including flooding and even sewage being released into your home. The best way to avoid this is by using low-ply toilet paper.

Image: a gloved hand holding a plunger with a toilet in the background.

The Best Type of Toilet Paper to Use

Check the packaging. If it says “flushable,” then you’re good to go. Remember to use only as much as you need. Only a few squares are needed when flushing your toilet. More than that can cause problems with your plumbing system, especially if you have older pipes or an older septic tank.

Have an issue with your home’s pipes? Call the Bell Bros sewer professionals. We’re here for all your Sacramento and East Bay plumbing maintenance needs.