The Best and Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems

Toilet paper is an essential part of any bathroom. Septic tanks happen to be a necessary addition as well. Septic tanks are responsible for the proper treatment and recycling of waste, so they need to stay in good condition too. Toilet paper that isn’t septic-safe will result in clogs and other major problems not only for this person but also potentially for those connected to their sanitation system; potentially even people living many miles away if the clog is bad enough.

The best toilet paper for septic tanks is biodegradable, recycled, reasonably thick and chemical-free. A septic safe toilet paper test determines how fast the toilet paper dissolves to avoid clogs. Septic friendly toilet paper is labeled ‘septic safe’ by the National Sanitation Foundation.

The best septic safe toilet paper is the Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper since it doesn’t have any harmful chemicals and dissolves very fast. This means it doesn’t clog up the toilet or affect the decomposing microbes in the septic tank. 

The Best and Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems

Worst toilet paper for septic systems 

The worst toilet paper for your septic tank is either quilted, triple-ply, scented or colored. Such toilet paper is strong and doesn’t break down easily. It has any of the following qualities:

Quilted toilet paper

Quilted toilet paper has an adhesive in between the layers of toilet papers. This adhesive makes it less biodegradable hence easily leading to clogs in the septic tank. Thick toilet paper also takes long to break down hence not septic safe. Once you notice bubbles from the toilet, you know it’s clogged.

Although quilted toilet paper looks and feels good, it doesn’t break down quickly in the septic tank. This causes all sorts of problems for your septic system leading to clogging. 

Triple ply (or higher) toilet paper

You only need 2 ply toilet paper to clean your bottom. Triple-Ply (ultra-plush) is not needed and will just take longer to break down in the septic tank. Triple ply has more than 3 layers so it takes much longer for this toilet paper to break down in the septic system. You’re better off just using more toilet paper with fewer layers than less of it with more layers. 

Scented toilet paper

The scent and color in your toilet paper may be wreaking havoc on your septic tank. Scented toilet paper is a common product that many people use to make their bathroom smell good, but it can also be quite harmful to the bacteria in your septic system. This toilet paper adds chemicals which may harm microbes in the septic tank.

Ultra-soft toilet paper

Ultra-soft toilet paper dissolves quickly in water but doesn’t decompose as fast. This means that the toilet paper will remain in the septic tank for a long time. In the case that there’s an overflow from your septic tank, the tiny bits of ultra-soft toilet paper will be there as well. 

As such, not all toilet paper is septic safe. If it’s quilted, scented, colored and with more than 2 layers, it’s likely not septic safe. Toilet paper made from bamboo and sugarcane is highly septic safe as it breaks down faster than toilet paper made from trees. Brands such as Cottonelle, Charmin, SeptiCare, Cascades, and Kirkland have some septic safe toilet paper though not all. 

Best septic safe toilet paper 

For toilet paper to be septic friendly, it needs to be biodegradable such that it takes a short time to break it down. Compostable toilet paper helps prevent clogs in the sewerage systems and includes the following brands:

Toilet paperMain feature
Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet PaperBest dissolving
Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Soft Toilet PaperBest thick  
Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo Toilet PaperBest eco-friendly
Preference Embossed Toilet PaperBest embossed
Seventh Generation Toilet PaperBest recycled
Angel Soft Toilet PaperBest budget-friendly
White Cloud Toilet PaperBest for sensitive skin

With that in mind, the best septic safe toilet paper includes the following:

1. Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper

The Best and Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems

This tissue is a single layer (1-Ply) and is highly absorbent, soft and safe for your septic system. It’s the best for buses, boats and RVs although you can very much use it at home. With each pack having 4 rolls each roll with 231 sheets, you have enough toilet paper to last several weeks on end. 

2. Seventh Generation White Toilet Paper

The Best and Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems

In a close second place is the 2-Ply Seventh Generation Toilet Paper. Given how soft and biodegradable it is, this toilet paper is septic safe and thus compatible with campers, RVs, boats and many others. It’s made with recycled paper and has no dyes, fragrances or inks which may reduce its ability to decompose once in the septic tank. 

3. Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Soft Toilet Paper

The Best and Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems

Cottonelle is septic safe since it has no fragrances, it’s very soft and highly absorbent. With the addition of the CleaningRipples texture, the toilet rolls are very economical in use. This toilet paper has been approved for use without causing clogs in sewers and other parts of the septic system. 

4. Caboo Tree Free Bamboo Toilet Paper

The Best and Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems

Caboo Bamboo toilet paper is 2-Ply and is made from bamboo and sugarcane both of which are fast-growing grasses. This makes the toilet paper highly sustainable and biodegradable since bamboo toilet paper is septic safe in general. It has no BPA, fragrance, paraben, lint, chlorine and is hypoallergenic and non-GMO thus safe for the skin and the environment. 

5. Freedom Living RV Toilet Paper

The Best and Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems

The 2-ply Freedom Living toilet paper is one of the best septic safe toilet papers since it dissolves in a few minutes once in water. It has no chemicals which might upset your septic system and thus one of the best for RVs, houses, boats and many others. 

Features of the best septic safe toilet paper

The best toilet paper for the septic tank has the following features:

Biodegradable

The faster the toilet paper breaks down, the better it is for the septic tank. For toilet paper to be biodegradable, it needs to have loose bonds in the paper and easily dissolve in water.

Reasonably thick

You don’t need the toilet paper to be more than 2 layers (2-Ply) to use it comfortably since thicker toilet paper takes longer to break down. Most of the brands mentioned above have a single layer of toilet paper that’s thick enough for use. 

Recycled 

Septic safe toilet paper needs to be made from recycled paper. This is because recycled paper has fewer chemicals and is easier to break down than other types of paper. 

No chemicals

Chemicals such as color, fragrances and bleach will negatively affect the microbes in the septic tank. These microbes are response for the decomposition of waste material and toilet paper. If affected by the chemicals, they will not perform well. 

Septic safe

Septic safe toilet paper should also have the ‘SEPTIC SAFE’ label on it from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). However, this can be misleading since not all toilet paper with this label are actually septic safe. Check the other qualities as well. 

Thin toilet paper

The most obvious quality of septic safe toilet paper is that it should be thin. This means that it should be thin enough to easily break down and dissolve but not so thin that it can be used in the toilet. 

The main benefit of using septic friendly toilet paper is that you will have fewer clogs in the septic tank directly resulting from toilet paper blockage. 

Septic safe toilet paper test

Test whether toilet paper is safe for your septic tank or not with the following steps:

  1. Fill ¾ of a clear jar with water. 
  2. Place 4 or 5 squares of the toilet paper in question into the jar. 
  3. After 20 minutes, cover the jar then vigorously shake it for 15 seconds. 
  4. Repeat with the toilet paper folded, wadded or folded.
  5. Check how much of the toilet paper is broken down. 

If most of the toilet paper is broken down, it’s septic safe. If more of it remains intact, it’s not septic safe. 

How to dissolve toilet paper in septic tank

When you have a clog in your septic tank or sewer line caused by the toilet paper, dissolve toilet paper using the following methods:

  1. Add a septic tank additive
  2. Plunge the toilet to dislodge and break up the toilet paper clog
  3. Use a drain snake to cut up the toilet paper into smaller pieces

This way, the toilet paper is much easier to naturally dissolve into the water in the septic tank. You can also unclog a toilet without a plunger if you don’t have one.

Toilet paper alternatives

There are many alternatives to toilet paper such as the following:

  • Bidets
  • Baby wipes
  • Reusable cloth
  • Sanitary pads
  • Washcloths and napkins
  • Flushable wipes
  • Socks
  • Rinsing in the shower
  • Leaves 
  • Other types of paper

However, the most septic friendly alternative to toilet paper are bidets. Bidets involve the use of water to clean your bottom when you use the toilet. 

There are 5 main types of toilet bidets as follows:

  1. Electric toilet seat bidets

Electric toilet seat bidets provide water to wash your bottom and other functions such as warm water, hot air drying and heated toilet seats. The Kohler Novita Bidet Seat is the best in this category. 

  • Toilet seat bidets

For toilet seat bidets, you replace your current toilet seat with the bidet. They offer various features such as directional spray control, washing nozzles for the front and rear, and control for the water pressure. The Alphe ONE Bidet Seat is one of the best toilet seat bidets. 

  • Bidet attachments

A bidet attachment fits under the toilet seat and gets it water from the toilet’s water supply. You can control the water pressure and direction with it. The Bona Bidet is one of the best bidet attachments. 

  • Bidet bottles

Bidet bottles are made of bottles with nozzles at their openings. It’s a great mobile bidet for those on the move with the Brondell GoSpa Travel Bidet being the best. 

  • Handheld Bidet Sprayer

The hand-held bidet sprayers come with bidets heads similar to those of a shower, and a T-valve and a bidet hose. You then install the T-valve at the shutoff valve to the toilet so that the water flows to both the toilet tank and the bidet sprayer. Pull the trigger on the bidet head to use it. The Pufffectzone Luxury Handheld Sprayer Kit is the best handheld bidet sprayer. You will have to replace the shutoff valve with one that accommodates the bidet.

As seen in the sections above, toilet paper needs to be easy to dissolve and decompose for it to be septic safe. This allows it to easily mix into the wastes without causing clogs in your home or other area with a septic tank. 

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