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What would we do without the luxury item of toilet paper?  None of us truly saw its value until 2020, but what a wonderful item it is, right?  However, as much as we appreciate toilet paper, it can be a stinker (no pun intended…) at causing problems with your septic system.

Here’s why…

Right out of the gate, all toilet papers claim to be septic safe which unfortunately they are not.  As a new homeowner living on septic, this can cause you issues.  How do you know what toilet paper is good when they all claim to be?  Toilet paper that is more expensive, quilted and 3 ply has a tendency to maintain its integrity even after it gets wet.  This becomes a problem in two ways.  One, when it reaches the baffle region of your septic tank and two when it doesn’t make it all the way to the septic tank but stops in the line on its way down.

Let’s deal with problem number one.  All septic tanks have a region known as the baffle.  It is a box-like area around the incoming line of the tank.  It exists to stop excessive splashing as water drains into the tank.  When nice, thick, cushy toilet paper reaches the baffle, it likes to stop and stay for a while.  Because thick toilet paper maintains its structure, a toilet paper vacation at Hotel Baffle blocks the incoming line from the house.  This leads to back-ups.  Most of the time when a customer calls with a back-up issue it is because the baffle is plugged with thick toilet paper.

Problem number two is toilet paper getting caught in the line.  Here again, the more expensive, quilted toilet paper gives us problems.  Thick toilet paper is heavier, it is thicker and it takes more power to move it down the line.  This coupled with water-saving toilets compounds the issue of getting that heavy toilet paper to the tank.  First one piece doesn’t make it all the way down, then it catches another piece, then another, and before long you have a nice little clog somewhere in the line between your house and tank.  

Both of the above scenarios can be solved by using cheaper, lesser ply toilet paper.  When cheap toilet paper hits water, it tends to break down IMMEDIATELY into tiny pieces.  Tiny pieces don’t clog lines or baffles.  This makes for a much happier home.

So, what do you do if you don’t know if your toilet paper is cheap enough? Flimsy enough?  I thought you’d never ask….You can try the toilet paper test!

Take about 8 sheets of TP and put them in a jar of water.  Shake the jar for a bit and see how your toilet paper reacts.  If it breaks down, you have a winner!  If it maintains its structure, switch brands.  

It is hard to recommend the best brand simply because brand makers are always changing.  The best rules to follow though are cheap prices and lesser ply.  Then if you are still unsure, try the toilet paper test.  I do not write this to make you give up your favorite brand but to save you from a nasty mess that nobody wants in their home!

If you have more questions, feel free to call me at 402-475-2462 or check out our website at and click on the TIPS button!  You will find a video of the toilet paper test at the top!