Can you Flush Tissues Down the Toilet?


Many people believe you can flush tissues down the toilet just as you would with toilet paper. This is mainly because they appear quite similar on the surface; they are white and made of paper-like fabric.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Much like paper towels, tissues are different than usual toilet paper.

Because of this, even the so-called flushable wipes can cause a significant issue if they end up in the sewer system. Let’s explore this topic in more detail.

What Can Happen if You Flush a Tissue or Paper Towel?

Flushing tissues down the toilet can be a terrible idea. First, tissues are meant to be used for wiping snot, tears, and sweat and collecting water from various surfaces.

In addition to these, there are also baby wipes, which, while they may be very tempting to flush due to their unpleasant smell, are made to be even water resistant than the ordinary ones.

Since tissues are less water soluble than toilet paper, they can get stuck in the toilet pipes and the greater sewer systems, just as paper towels can.

Furthermore, facial tissues are sometimes not made out of paper but instead consist of a combination of cotton and polyester, both of which stay intact when flushed.

As a result, such a wipe or tissue is highly likely to clog your toilet bowl, as it can neither dissolve quickly nor pass through the pipe without getting glued together with the grease and waste already in the pipes.

What Are the Differences Between Tissues, Paper Towels, and Toilet Paper?

With the possible exception of flushable wipes, tissues are made to have the potential to contain water. Some, like wet tissues, are even sold with cologne in them.

Therefore, they are non-flushable items and should not be allowed into sewage systems under any circumstances.

On the other hand, toilet paper is made to be thrown into toilets and designed to dissolve in the waste water found in the sewer pipe.

Furthermore, its lesser consistency makes it far less capable of containing human waste, so you can quickly dispose of it by flushing it down the drain without worrying about clogs.

In the end, while a tissue or paper towel may appear similar to toilet paper on the surface, they are vastly different: you can and should flush toilet paper but attempting to flush tissues can be a terrible idea.

What To Do With Used Tissues and Flushable Wipes?

So, if you are not going to flush tissues that you just used, what exactly can you do with them?
The answer is much the same as is with toilet seat covers or other paper products that aren’t flushable or can get stuck in your plumbing: throw them into the garbage can.

First, tissues and wipes are rarely overly dirty or give off an unpleasant odour, so you can dispose of them without making your bathroom smell bad.

Furthermore, by throwing tissue paper into the bin you avoid the risk associated with flushing them, potentially saving yourself a huge plumbing expense caused by clogged sewage pipes.

Alternatively, you can seal used tissues in a plastic bag and throw them away that way if there is no garbage bin available, as is often the case in public toilets.

How Not To Clog Pipes With Tissues or Wipes?

Toilet drains are made to flush human waste and toilet paper, not tissues. That being said, if you have no alternatives to wipe yourself when in the toilet, can you flush tissues without causing a clog to form?

It is possible to avoid blockages in the plumbing, but you will need to be careful. Don’t flush too many tissues at once, and flush the toilet multiple times.

Doing this will reduce the risk of them getting stuck in the pipes and causing the sewer system to fail.

How To Remove a Tissue Clog From Your Sewer Lines?

If you do flush tissues down the toilet and they cause a clog, you are going to need to find a way to remove them from the pipes before you can flush the toilet again.

The good news is that, while still difficult to remove, wipes and tissues are not as annoying to deal with as paper towels as they are quite a bit smaller.

That being said, here are some of the methods you can use to remove tissues and other items stuck in the sewage.

Using Your Hands

While extremely gross, there is nothing stopping you from wearing a pair of rubber gloves and pulling the tissue clog out of the toilet drain manually.

This will only work if the clog is right on the surface, however, so if the tissue got into the pipes, you are going to find a different way of unclogging them.

Using a Toilet Plunger

Most people will have a toilet plunger in their bathroom. This tool exploits the difference in pressure by creating a vacuum when pressed, then uses that pressure to dislodge the clogs in the pipe and fix the problem that way.

That being said, not every clog can be resolved with a toilet plunger. If it is particularly deep in the system or large enough, this tool may not make much of a difference.

Using a Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake is a handy metal cord that twists and turns inside your pipe and can break the clog deep within it. It is effective even against clogs in the wall section of the sewer system, something that cannot be accomplished by using the aforementioned methods.

Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

Sometimes, using a chemical drain cleaner can help break the clog and make your toilet flushable again. This isn’t as effective with tissues as it is with paper towels, however, as many tissues are made out of cotton or polyester and are more resistant to being dissolved.

Thus, it is the best to combine this method with a plumbing snake for optimal results.

Contact a plumber

Finally, if all else fails, you can get a plumber to take a look at your toilet or bidet.

While it will rack up extra expenses, especially if he decides to remove the bidet seat or even the entire bowl, it will also save you time and effort expended on trying to break and flush the clog yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Flush Tissues In the Toilet?

It is technically possible to flush tissues, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. It is a much better idea to throw them in the trash can instead, as that way you aren’t risking a clog forming.

Can I Use Tissues Instead of Toilet Paper?

If you absolutely need to, then feel free to do so. That being said, you really shouldn’t do it in a regular situation, as flushing tissues down the toilet can easily result in a clog.

The only things that are intended to go down the toilet are toilet paper and human waste, everything else should be thrown in the trash bin instead.

Are Kleenex Tissues Flushable?

While the manufacturer will tell you to flush these tissues whenever you want, the truth is that many plumber visits were caused by clogging toilets with Kleenex.

Therefore, avoid flushing these tissues down the toilet whenever possible.

How Many Tissues Can You Flush Down the Toilet?

Do not attempt to flush more than one or two tissues at a time because this can result in a clog. Many tissues, especially high-quality ones, are made of cotton or polyester instead of paper, making them completely unsolvable in water.

Therefore, if you are forced to throw tissues down the toilet for some reason, flush as frequently as possible. The water bill will be a much lesser expense than the potentially flooded bathroom would be.

Conclusion

Flushing tissues down the toilet is a very bad idea for much the same reasons you shouldn’t flush paper towels. Not only that they won’t dissolve, but they can also cause a clog deeper in the pipe if flushed successfully.

As a result, flushing tissues should be your last resort, something you do only when it is impossible to throw them into the garbage bin. Walking to the bin, after all, is much easier than dealing with a flooded house.

Smith Edwards

Smith Edwards is a licensed plumber and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years.

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