Can You Flush Tissues Down the Toilet? (Try This Instead)
We’ve all been in the situation where you just blew your nose, and now you’re standing in the bathroom contemplating whether you actually can flush tissues down the toilet. Well, the answer might surprise you.
You should not flush used or unused tissues down the toilet under any circumstances. They can cause some serious plumbing issues in your pipes, causing you a whole lot of trouble that could easily have been avoided.
So, if you can’t flush your used tissue down the toilet, how do you dispose of it? Well, that’s why we’re here. We did all the research for you and compiled this article to detail the risk of flushing a tissue and what you can do instead.
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
Flushing your tissue down the toilet could cause a blockage in your plumbing system. These are always a hassle to clear, and sometimes you even need to call a plumber. Before you dial the number, though, you can try to clear the blockage yourself.
Products you could use if you have a blockage in your toilet:
1. Plunger – The age-old trusty toilet companion.
2. Drain Snake – A newer but simple alternative to a plunger
3. Drain Clog Dissolver – A potentially non-damaging alternative.
If you’re in a pinch, you might think flushing your Kleenex or used tissues in the toilet is a good idea because tissues and toilet paper are more or less the same things, right?
Well, actually not. Although both are made of wood pulp, tissues are much thicker than toilet paper. In addition, toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water, whereas facial tissues are not.
When you flush toilet paper, it almost immediately starts to break down, and by the time the water enters the sewage system, it’s completely dissolved. In contrast, tissues won’t break down as quickly and sometimes get stuck in your pipes.
Let’s look at possible plumbing problems you could face if you flush your facial tissues.
Possible Plumbing Problems
Since tissues don’t break down the same way as toilet paper, it’s easy to imagine how much damage a few tissues can do.
Our pipes in our homes are not extremely big, so when you flush a few tissues thinking nothing of it, you could probably create a blockage.
Signs of a blockage in your plumbing include:
- The water drains extremely slowly after flushing
- The water level in your toilet bowl rises
- Unpleasant smells
- A strange gurgling sound coming from your toilet
If you notice any of these signs, it’s safe to assume that your toilet is clogged – time for the trusty plunger!
Press the plunger to the bottom of the bowl and press down a few times to create pressure. Release the plunger and check if the water starts to drain faster. If it doesn’t, repeat the process.
If you can’t seem to get the clog dissolved, you need to contact a plumber. The clog might be further down the pipes where a plunger won’t help much. A plumber would have the right tools to diagnose a clog and dissolve it for you.
So, to prevent all this effort, it’s best to throw your tissues away and leave the toilet paper in the toilet bowl. You should also take careful note of the plumbing system wherever you are.
Don’t flush anything (feminine hygiene items included) besides toilet paper down a toilet with a septic tank, as it can also get clogged and become a real mess to clean up – gross.
What About Paper Towels
Similarly to tissues, you should never flush paper towels down the toilet. Paper towels are designed to be quite absorbent since we use them in the kitchen to clean up spills or messes.
When you try to flush a paper towel, it will start to absorb the water in your pipe and expand until it’s blocking the whole pipe.
Paper towels should only be used in the kitchen and disposed of by throwing them in the trash can.
You might also enjoy our post on Whether You Can Eat Toilet Paper
Tissues Vs. Toilet Paper
As we mentioned, toilet paper and tissues are both manufactured by the same process. However, there is a key difference.
The amount of sodium sulfate added in the process influences the strength and softness of the paper.
Tissues are engineered to be soft and delicate on our noses to make them as comfortable as possible to use. Have you ever had to use toilet paper to blow your nose during a cold and ended up looking like Rudolf, the red-nose reindeer? Yeah, me too.
This is because toilet paper is not designed to have that same soft texture. On the other hand, toilet paper is designed to dissolve quickly and effectively in the water.
All in all, toilet paper and tissues have their own designated uses, and although they are similar in appearance, they are not the same product and should not be used interchangeably.
Accidentally Flushed Tissues
So, you know that flushing tissues are a no-go, but you accidentally threw one in the toilet without thinking (it happens to the best of us). So, now what?
To dissolve a tissue in a toilet bowl, boil water on the stove and pour it into your bowl. This should dissolve the tissues a lot easier.
If you’ve already flushed the tissue, get your trusty plunger or drain snake to clear any potential blockages.
Used tissues are great for your compost heap since they are made of paper (which composts well) and are also rich in carbon.
You can expect tissues to decompose within two weeks, depending on various environmental factors.
As we’ve discussed, you should never dispose of your used tissues in the toilet. It can cause all kinds of plumbing problems.
If you have a compost heap or compost box in your yard, you can throw used tissues onto the heap – just be sure to secure it so that a wind gust doesn’t blow it away.
We definitely recommend recycling tissues or starting a compost heap in your garden since it really helps the environment.
However, if you don’t have a compost heap or box, you can simply throw used tissues into your trash/waste.
You might also enjoy our post on Why Toilet Paper Smells Bad
Tissues and toilet paper have many similarities, including their manufacturing and main ingredient. However, their disposal methods are not similar.
You should not flush your tissue down the toilet unless you really want to test out your new plunger.