If you live in a house with a septic tank, you know that its maintenance and upkeep is very different from a conventional sewer connection. To keep a septic tank working well between upgrades and repairs, you need to make sure you use septic safe toilet accessories, including toilet paper. With that, the question arises, what is the best toilet paper for septic systems?
For starters, septic safe toilet paper needs to dissolve much quicker than conventional toilet paper to keep the septic system free of clogs and blockages. The best toilet paper for septic systems also meets some other criteria, for instance, being dye-free or bleach-free, to ensure it does not harm the good bacteria in your septic tank.
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|Scott Rapid-Dissolving Toilet Paper|
|Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Soft Toilet Paper|
|Caboo Tree Free Bamboo Toilet Paper|
Best Septic Friendly Toilet Paper Comparisons and Reviews
With many septic safe toilet tissue on the market, it isn’t easy to know which product is the right fit for your needs. To aid you in the process of selecting toilet paper for your septic system, we have searched high and low on the internet and compiled this quick and to-the-point list.
For more information on septic systems, septic safe toilet paper, and how to select a toilet paper for your septic tank, take a look at the buying guide section of this article.
If you are looking for toilet paper that promises to prevent clogs and dissolve quickly, then you need to look no further than at the Scott Rapid Dissolving Paper. This toilet tissue comes in rolls of one-ply sheets, is Clog Clinic tested, and safe for use in both septic systems and sewer systems.
The manufacturers claim that their Rapid Dissolving Tissue breaks down four times faster than conventional septic safe toilet paper does, hence attempting to prevent toilet paper clogging issues altogether. The green-conscious consumer would also be happy to learn that the material sourced for manufacturing Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet tissue is ethically and responsibly sourced and is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.
The following pros and cons table summarizes the most popular user opinions.
The Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet Tissue is a popular name amongst frequent travelers on recreational vehicles and boats. Sourced sustainably and with a breakdown rate four times faster than rival brands, it offers excellent functionality as a septic friendly toilet paper.
The Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Active Toilet Paper is stronger, thicker, and more absorbent than other national leading brands. The unique cleaning ripples texture is a soft texture, designed to clean more effectively and remove more per sheet.
The Cottonelle toilet tissues are made with water and renewable plant fibers, making them 100% biodegradable. Additionally, the materials used to manufacture the toilet paper are sourced from responsibly managed and grown forests. Although the Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare toilet paper is one-ply, each sheet is three times thicker than competing leading brands, so you should have no trouble with the sheet’s thickness.
In addition to being responsibly manufactured, it is also eco-friendly because it is paraben-free, dye-free, and scent-free.
Cottonelle offers similar functionality toilet paper in two different product versions, Ultra ComfortCare for two-ply cushioned tissue and Ultra GentleCare, in which the toilet paper is aloe-infused.
Knowing that septic tank friendly toilet tissues need to dissolve rapidly, you would expect them to be made with thinner sheets and be a little more challenging to use than conventional toilet paper. However, with Cottonelle, you have to sacrifice none of the comfort because even the one-ply option from the brand is three times thicker than a standard one-ply toilet paper sheet.
The Cleaning Ripples texture and overall thickness of the Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare toilet paper make it one of the best septic safe toilet paper options. Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare also gives competition to some non-biodegradable and non-dissolvable toilet paper brands.
Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo toilet paper is made from bamboo and sugarcane, both of which are fast-growing grasses, providing a sustainable alternative to cutting down trees to manufacture toilet paper.
Trees take around 30 years to fully mature, while bamboo matures in a few months, making Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo toilet paper eco-friendlier compared to traditional tree-based bath tissue and saving more trees.
With that, the Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo toilet paper is 100% biodegradable and hence, septic tank friendly. You can use them in homes with septic tanks instead of sewage connections, RVs, boats, camping, and other travel. Furthermore, the toilet paper disintegrates quite rapidly after flushing, saving you from the worries of a clogged septic tank.
This toilet paper comes as a two-ply option, unlike other septic tank toilet tissues, which come in 1 ply sheets. Despite being two-ply, these tissues present no clogging issues. The Caboo toilet paper is hypoallergenic, chlorine-free, BPA-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free, and non-GMO. So, it ticks all your boxes.
In short, I would like to say that the Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo toilet paper is an excellent choice of septic safe toilet paper for the environmentally-conscious consumer. It provides everything you could want from septic friendly toilet paper while checking multiple eco-friendly boxes. The only slight downside to this toilet paper might be that it is a little rougher in texture than conventional toilet paper. But, given that it is made using bamboo and sugarcane and is also chemical-free, it is understandable that you lose out on the softness a little.
Seventh Generation is known for bringing eco-consciousness into the world of cleaning, paper, and personal care supplies. Their toilet paper is no different. The construction material for Seventh Generation toilet paper is 100% recyclable. 50% of the constituent material comes from post-consumer recycled paper. Seventh Generation Toilet Paper is climate pledge friendly and also FSC certified.
This kind of paper is ideal for slow toilets in RVs and boats that use septic tank systems for many reasons. Firstly, the tissue is two-ply. The packaging of Seventh Generation White Toilet paper is also recyclable. Finally, the toilet paper is chemical-free and fragrance-free.
The company claims, “If every household in the U.S. replaced one 24-pack of 240-sheet virgin fiber toilet paper with this product, we could help save over 4,900,000 trees.”
In conclusion, this Seventh Generation toilet paper is ideal for septic system users looking to switch to something recycled and low-footprint. Known for their products being non-toxic to people and pets, the company meets most of the climate-conscious and eco-conscious requirements. This paper is whitened without chlorine or bleach, making it safe for the good microbes in your septic tank. It is available in both one-ply and two-ply options, with one-ply being better for your septic tank and two-ply being a little softer to the touch while still not being bad for your septic system.
Another toilet paper brand suitable for septic tanks is White Cloud; specifically, their White Cloud Strong and Soft 2 Ply Toilet Paper. This toilet paper is septic safe while still being soft and strong. Although White Cloud toilet paper is a little more expensive than other septic-safe brands, it offers the added benefit of being sensitive-skin friendly.
White Cloud toilet paper is hypoallergenic, and dermatologist approved. If you have very sensitive skin, you might struggle with the conventional recycled or rough texture of septic safe toilet paper. White Cloud paper solves that problem for you by giving you a soft textured toilet tissue that still dissolves quickly in your septic tank and avoids clogging.
Despite the slightly higher price tag, White Cloud septic safe toilet paper lasts a reasonably long time, because each pack comes with either 6 or 12 Mega rolls. Each Mega roll is about four times the size of a standard septic tank friendly toilet paper roll. The bigger size means you use fewer sheets per use, and one pack lasts you much longer than a conventional roll. White Cloud has also been reviewed positively by ConsumerReports, which is a trustworthy reviewing service that’s pretty strict about what they approve of, so you can take their word for it if ours don’t convince you.
There is little left to ask for from a septic safe toilet paper brand when it provides all the features that White Cloud does. White Cloud rolls are some of the best toilet tissues for septic tanks on the market. Their marketing revolves heavily around how comfortable they are and how suitable they are for users with sensitive skin while also being septic-safe and sewer-safe. So you don’t have to worry about choosing between comfort and an unclogged septic system you can have the best of both worlds!
Angel Soft toilet paper is famous for its softness and strength. This particular brand of toilet paper is available at a more affordable price than its competitor brands, so it is a decent choice if you’re looking to buy budget friendly toilet paper that still works well for septic systems.
This toilet paper is of a medium thickness (between Scott Toilet Paper and Charmin Toilet Paper) to offer the best middle ground functionality of being comfortable and quickly dissolving in your septic tank.
Angel Soft toilet paper rolls come packaged in boxes that are easy to open and access. The rolls are also available in multiple sizes Double rolls and Mega rolls offer bigger sheets of toilet paper than conventional toilet rolls, so they last you longer.
Angel Soft Toilet Paper is an excellent choice of toilet paper for septic tanks, offering a comfortable user experience and quick disintegration after flushing for a less hefty price tag than competitor brands. Angel Soft bath tissue is not as soft as, say, Charmin, but that is because the product aims to be as septic friendly as possible while doing its best not to sacrifice user comfort and experience. In addition, to remain septic-friendly, the toilet paper has to be kept free of chemical treatments that might add thickness or softness.
So, if you’re looking to purchase septic tank friendly toilet paper on a budget, you might be looking for Angel Soft’s varieties of septic safe toilet paper.
Angel Soft toilet paper has been mentioned on our list before, but this product is their scented version of septic system friendly toilet paper. Angel Sot Lavender Toilet Paper has a lavender scent applied to its tube to help keep your bathroom smelling floral and clean.
This toilet paper is the brand’s thickest toilet paper while still being standard sewer safe and septic system-safe. It breaks down quickly and easily post flush and is certified to SFI sourcing standards. (SFI = Sustainable Forestry Initiative).
Angel Soft Lavender Toilet Paper is also available in versatile sizes (Regular and Double Rolls), but it is not available in Mega rolls. The regular rolls fit a standard bathroom toilet paper holder. As previously mentioned, it is the tube that is scented, and not the paper itself, so it shouldn’t irritate your skin upon use. To further quell your concerns about scented toilet paper being irritants, Angel Soft Lavender Toilet Paper has been through consumer safety testing and deemed non-irritating.
When initially looking for septic friendly toilet paper, you might not have considered scented options at all. However, for RVs and boats that have smaller bathrooms, to begin with, a scented toilet paper can add a lot to the overall freshness of the toilet. It is reasonable to be concerned about scents being irritating, but Angel Soft Toilet Paper has been tested and claims to be safe for use. It is also relatively soft, and excellent if you are on a budget but don’t want to buy lower quality or grocery-store toilet paper.
Bamboo toilet paper is almost synonymous with texture, but with Betterway, you get the softest tree-free toilet paper and a completely clear eco-conscience. Betterway Organic Bamboo Toilet Paper currently holds the softest bamboo toilet paper title on Amazon and comes with a 100-day switch guarantee.
To sing more praises of this toilet paper’s features, it is three-ply; yes, three-ply, giving you strong toilet paper, with twice the absorption of conventional toilet rolls. The toilet paper sheets are three layers of Lint-Free tissue, with neat-tear technology. Neat-tear technology allows the paper to rip cleanly instead of fluffing up when ripping like toilet paper commonly does. Each toilet tissue sheet is twice as long as regular toilet paper, meaning you get more paper per roll and use up fewer sheets per use.
Also, the Betterway Bamboo toilet paper is gentle on sensitive skin, being completely scent-free, dye-free, and hypoallergenic. Betterway also goes the extra mile for the environment by making the packaging completely recyclable and plastic-free. Responsible Forestry Certified, biodegradable and compostable, there isn’t anything more you could want from a septic friendly toilet paper in terms of being good to the planet.
If you’re willing to splurge a little so that you don’t have to choose between softness and going tree-free, Betterway is one of the best septic-safe toilet paper options out there. Septic friendly and biodegradable, Betterway’s Organic Bamboo Toilet Tissue rolls exist so you can help save trees with your toilet paper purchases. Sixteen million trees are used in the manufacture of toilet paper every year- and with a single tree taking over 30 years to mature, we could very well wipe out our forests for just toilet paper unless we’re careful and find alternatives.
Betterway bamboo is hand-harvested, and bamboo is fast-growing and more sustainable than trees. You don’t just get the mental peace of knowing it is kind to the environment, you get phenomenal toilet paper out of it.
What to look for when buying toilet paper for septic systems?
What actually makes toilet paper good for septic systems? This section of the article discusses septic systems, how septic-safe toilet paper works, and how to choose a septic-friendly toilet paper for your tank.
The Best Toilet Paper for Septic Systems
A lot of toilet papers claim to be septic safe but not all septic safe toilet paper are created equal. Before we get into what features to look for when looking for septic-safe toilet paper, let’s take a gander at how septic tanks actually work.
How do Septic Tanks work?
A septic tank is an underground chamber, typically made of concrete, through which wastewater flows for basic treatment in areas where there is no direct sewage connection. Inside the septic tank are microbes that perform anaerobic processes and break down solid waste to a certain extent.
When you flush the toilet in a septic system, the waste, wastewater, and toilet paper flow through the drainpipe and into the septic tank, where it breaks down due to action by the bacteria inside the tank. The cleaned water (effluent) is sent out of the septic tank through pipes, releasing it back to the ground. The sludge, a mix of the remaining solid waste, settles at the tank’s bottom and needs to be pumped out when the septic tank is cleaned.
So, what could potentially mess up your septic tank?
Anything that you flush that isn’t biodegradable will sit at the top of the septic tank water. This includes oil, wet wipes, etc., and cause the septic system to clog. This layer that settles on top of the tank is also called ‘scum.’ So, flushable wipes, for example, aren’t as easily broken down by the septic tank bacteria and remain in the tank, potentially clogging the drainpipes.
A septic tank, if maintained and regularly pumped, can last you several years. One of the critical factors that go into deciding your septic tank’s health is what flows into it, and that includes toilet paper. To be brief, septic safe toilet paper should be biodegradable, recycled, or both. All toilet papers eventually break down, but some break down faster and with less water and more efficiently through the septic tank’s microbes. Papers that are treated with fewer chemicals are less harmful to the microbes, hence breaking down faster. These faster dissolving options are what you should be using, but there are some other factors to consider as well.
Knowing how a septic tank works, let’s talk about the best kinds of toilet paper for septic systems. The main thing to know is that to suit your septic system, you need to use a toilet paper that dissolves in the septic tank.
There are two main types of septic-safe toilet paper:
Biodegradable Toilet Paper
Biodegradable paper disintegrates in a much smaller amount of water than conventional toilet paper. It also dissolves quicker than traditional alternatives, making it a good fit for most septic systems.
However, as good as it is for a septic tank, biodegradable toilet tissue is not the softest or most comfortable kind of toilet paper on the market. It can also be a tad more expensive than conventional toilet paper because more care is involved in the manufacturing.
On a good note, many brands have made it their mission to provide biodegradable toilet paper that ensures minimal sacrifice in the comfort department. You can read through our product reviews in the article’s former section to get to know about some of them.
Recycled Toilet Paper
Recycled toilet paper tends to be free of chemicals like chlorine and bleach. These chemicals are disruptive of the microbes’ anaerobic processes in your septic tank carry out to break down waste. So, a recycled toilet paper prevents disorder in the natural bacterial balance in your septic tank.
The fibers in recycled toilet paper are shorter than in regular toilet paper and break apart more easily, making them quicker at disintegrating in septic tank water. Like biodegradable paper, however, recycled toilet paper often comes with a slight roughness to its texture.
So if all toilet paper does eventually dissolve, why is it so vital that you opt for specifically “septic-safe” toilet paper? Well, although all toilet paper will eventually disintegrate, if you use regular toilet paper in a septic system, you risk clogging your drainpipes.
Sewage systems can afford to use slow dissolving toilet paper because the waste is all flushed away into a vast array of pipes and storage tanks, away from the main house/RV/boat/site of the toilet. In a septic system, however, you only clean out the septic tank after certain intervals. If you get your septic tank clogged, you risk being unable to use water in your bathroom, kitchen, or other parts of your home or recreational vehicle.
Taking care of your septic system by making the switch to toilet paper that is good for septic systems saves you on the long term cost of plumbers and upkeep.
Reasons to Choose Septic-Safe Toilet Paper
Maintain Healthy Bacteria inside the Septic Tank
Toilet paper treated with chemicals and dyes will harm the microbes in your septic tank, disrupting their ability to break down waste and toilet paper and essentially messing up the entire functionality of your septic tank.
Keeping the bacteria in your septic tank healthy is vital for your septic system’s health and overall performance.
Prevent Clogs and Blockages
Toilet paper that isn’t chemically treated, but is too thick to dissolve in the septic water, will lead to clogs in your system. The clogs will prevent proper drainage of water and happen anywhere in the system from inside the toilet trap to the drainpipe.
If clogs are not prevented or removed, your toilet might eventually start backing up. This is when sewage flows back to the toilet. Backing up can also occur in showers, sinks, or bathtubs, and it is a nasty mess to fix because you can’t exactly pour drain cleaner down without harming the septic tank bacteria.
Clogged septic tanks need to be professionally fixed, and that is an expensive undertaking.
How to Determine if Toilet Paper is Septic Friendly (DIY)
Although testing toilet paper at home is not as extensive or thorough as professional testing by organizations like the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), it can still give you a reasonably good idea of what to buy and avoid.
To compare different toilet paper brands to determine which would be better for your septic tank, you need a few squares of toilet paper from each and a number of jars equal to the number of brands you’re testing.
Place four to five squares of toilet paper into each jar. Each brand gets its own jar. Fill the jars about three-fourths of the way full with water. Put the lid on the jars and shake vigorously for about ten seconds. This is to simulate flushing.
When you finish, take a look to see what toilet paper disintegrated into tiny pieces and what remained relatively intact. If the toilet paper has separated into small pieces, then that means it will probably dissolve well in your septic system. (The toilet paper that breaks down most quickly is the best toilet paper to avoid clogs.)
Be aware, however, that this test is not foolproof. And you want to consider whether you’re comparing one-ply sheets with two-ply sheets and biasing your results.
If multiple brands pass the dissolving test, then you can choose your favorite according to comfort, convenience, price, loyalty, or whatever personal preference you see fit.
The Compromise between Strength and Septic Safety
There is a bit of a compromise that you’re probably going to need to make if you are looking to switch to a septic tank safe toilet paper. Fortunately, it wouldn’t be a spike in price because septic-safe toilet paper is a little less soft and a little weaker than conventional toilet paper, so it also costs a little less when compared to luxury, thick toilet paper.
You can, of course, make the switch slowly. Which is to say, switch to a toilet paper that’s 50% recycled and mostly biodegradable, and then eventually move on to a 100% recycled, 100% biodegradable toilet paper.
Now you have a decent idea of what kind of toilet paper is suitable for your septic tank. But, you could actually save your septic tank much more efficiently by knowing what to avoid in toilet paper. The following section talks about the worst toilet paper you could put into your septic system.
Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems
Considering toilet paper that does not dissolve will clog up your system, you want to be especially careful of what features to avoid in toilet paper for septic tanks. Logically speaking, the worst toilet paper for a septic system would be the exact opposite of the best, i.e., weak and slow to break down.
Here is a general list of what to avoid in toilet paper if you’re looking to use it in a septic system. (Unless the toilet paper is septic tank safe and makes accommodations for these features, of course).
Conventional toilet paper gets harder to dissolve the more layers it has. Most septic-safe toilet paper is marketed as one-ply to improve solubility and degradation. But, some brands offer two-ply or three-ply sheets that degrade just as rapidly.
Quilted paper tends to have an adhesive layer between the toilet paper sheets. Adhesive could take longer to dissolve in your septic system.
Scented or Colored Paper
The addition of fragrance or dyes to toilet paper is done via chemical treatment, and chemicals can be toxic to the microorganisms in your septic system. So you want to be careful when choosing a septic safe toilet paper that comes with fragrance.
You also want to be careful when choosing toilet paper with color treatments. Very white sheets, for example, are achieved by bleaching the paper. Bleach is inherently harmful for the good bacteria in your septic tank.
An alternative is to add fragrance to the cardboard tube in the center of the toilet roll instead of the paper itself. This method keeps the fresh scent and avoids any chemical treatment caused problems.
Also, be aware of “ultra-soft” varieties of toilet paper. This is because most ultra-soft toilet paper is treated to be so or is too thick to dissolve efficiently. However, this by no means concludes that you need rough toilet paper to be able to use it in a septic system. Numerous brands offer comfortable-to-use toilet paper that is septic tank friendly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best toilet paper? & What is the best toilet paper for septic tanks?
The best toilet paper is the kind that is comfortable to use and effectively breaks down inside the septic tank after flushing. The best septic-safe toilet paper breaks down faster than conventional toilet paper. The faster dissolving is to prevent clogging and also to prevent your septic tank from filling up too fast. So, good septic toilet paper is dye-free, bleach-free, and easily biodegradable.
Does all toilet paper dissolve?
Eventually, yes. All toilet paper should dissolve, given that enough water surrounds it. However, the core requirement for a septic system is that the toilet paper dissolves as quickly as possible. Thicker toilet paper might eventually dissolve. But, if it builds up in your septic tank, it could cause clogging. Which, in turn, could mess up your drainage system before it has a chance to dissolve.
What happens if I use regular toilet paper in a septic system?
The main problem with using regular toilet paper is the rate at which it breaks down in your septic tank. Ordinary toilet paper takes much longer to dissolve than septic-friendly toilet paper does. This means your septic tank is likely to fill up quickly, and would need to be pumped more often to avoid the chances of over spilling. Consequently, having to pump out your septic tank more often could turn out much more expensive in the long term.
Suppose your regular toilet paper dissolves reasonably quickly but is heavily chemically treated. Then, it could damage the micro-organisms in your septic tank. This would disturb the overall functionality and increase the amount of sludge that didn’t break down.
What does septic safe mean?
Septic-safe is a term used to mean that a product is harmless to the optimized functionality of your septic tank and drainage system.
What breaks down toilet paper?
Inside your septic tank resides a delicate balance of micro-organisms that anaerobically break down waste and toilet paper. You need to ensure you do not use harsh chemicals in your septic tank, to keep these bacteria healthy. For example, drain cleaners and bleach.
What is an alternative to septic-safe toilet paper?
To extend the life of your septic system, you could consider reducing the overall use of toilet paper in your home. Then, what should you do if you’re trying to use less toilet paper?
You could consider bidets as an alternative.
Bidets as an Alternative to Septic-Safe Toilet Paper
You don’t necessarily have to invest in a stand-alone bidet. You can purchase add-ons that convert your regular toilet seat into a bidet. Bidets use water to help you clean up after you’re done using the toilet. Hence, reducing the overall need for toilet paper.
In conclusion, if you have a septic tank system in your house (or boat/RV), it is important that you invest in the right kind of toilet paper to extend your septic tank’s life. The wrong kind of toilet paper will not break down in the septic tank, and might even damage the septic tank bacteria for good. This will mean you would be spending thousands on getting your septic tank pumped and repaired too often. If instead, you use toilet paper that is specially designed to be used in septic tank systems, you could increase the time elapsed between septic tank cleaning, and lower costs and septic tank related worries.
Good septic tank toilet paper should dissolve quickly to prevent clogs, and be safe for the bacteria in the septic tank. Luckily, there are a lot of companies that manufacture specifically septic safe toilet paper. In this buying guide, we talk about what you should look out for in toilet paper for septic systems, and also give links to a few good product options.
Hi, I’m Jana, author and interior design enthusiast. I understand that turning a house into a space that reflects you is no small feat. However, if you have the right information to start with, you can make the process much easier and simpler. That’s why I like putting together handy guides and articles on home design and decor subjects, that you might not have known you needed to learn about until you have to choose them for your home. If you want to learn about products on the living space design market in order to choose what befits your home, this is the right place for you.