Debunking the Myth: The Truth About Flushing Paper Towel Down the Toilet

Have you ever wondered if it’s safe to flush paper towels down the toilet? Many people assume that since toilet paper dissolves in water, flushing paper towel down toilet would do the same. However, this common misconception can lead to serious consequences for both your plumbing and the environment.

In this article, we will explore the difference between toilet paper and paper towels, the potential consequences of flushing paper towel down toilet, what to do if you’ve accidentally flushed them, proper disposal methods, and tips for preventing future toilet clogs. So, if you’ve ever found yourself contemplating whether or not to flush that paper towel, read on to discover the truth behind this everyday dilemma.

The most important facts in a nutshell

  • Flushing paper towels can have consequences such as blockages and plumbing issues, as well as negative environmental impacts.
  • If you accidentally flush paper towels, take immediate action to try and remove them. If unsuccessful, it may be necessary to call a plumber.
  • Proper disposal of paper towels involves placing them in the trash. Consider using eco-friendly alternatives to reduce waste. Additionally, following plumbing maintenance tips and avoiding flushing items that can cause clogs can help prevent future issues.

flushing paper towel down toilet

1/9 The Difference Between Toilet Paper and Paper Towels

Is it possible to dispose of paper towels in the toilet ? Absolutely not. Unlike toilet paper, which dissolves easily in water, paper towels are built to be sturdy and absorbent .

Flushing them down the toilet can lead to clogged pipes and costly plumbing repairs . Furthermore, the production and disposal of paper towels have devastating effects on the environment, such as deforestation, habitat destruction, and greenhouse gas emissions. To safeguard both our plumbing systems and the planet, it is crucial to opt for appropriate materials and explore eco-conscious alternatives.

2/9 Blockages and Plumbing Issues

Flushing paper towels may seem convenient, but it can cause major plumbing issues. Unlike toilet paper, paper towels don’t dissolve easily in water and can easily block the pipes. Over time, the residue from these towels can accumulate, leading to reduced water flow and more blockages.

To prevent blockages caused by paper towels, it’s important to regularly inspect and clean your toilet pipes. It’s also best to only flush toilet paper and avoid flushing any other items. By doing so, you can ensure the smooth operation of your plumbing system and avoid expensive repairs.

Instead of flushing paper towels, consider disposing of them in the trash or using environmentally friendly alternatives. By taking these precautions, you not only protect your plumbing but also contribute to the preservation of our environment.

Are you struggling with low hot water pressure in your bathtub? Check out our article on how to fix low hot water pressure in bathtub only to find out some helpful solutions and get your water flowing properly again.

flushing paper towel down toilet

The Dangers of Flushing Paper Towels Down the Toilet

  • Flushing paper towels down the toilet can cause serious blockages in your plumbing system. Unlike toilet paper, paper towels are designed to be more durable and absorbent, which means they are less likely to break down in water.
  • When paper towels get flushed down the toilet, they can create a blockage in the pipes leading to your septic tank or sewage system. This can lead to costly repairs and potential damage to your home.
  • Not only can flushing paper towels cause plumbing issues, but it also has a negative environmental impact. Paper towels are not designed to break down in water like toilet paper, which means they can end up clogging sewer systems and polluting waterways.

3/9 Environmental Impact

In a world where the impact of our choices is more apparent than ever, it’s crucial to consider the consequences of our everyday actions. Take, for instance, the seemingly innocent paper towel. Its significance goes far beyond its convenience.

The profound environmental toll of paper towels is truly staggering. Every year, millions of trees are mercilessly felled to meet the insatiable demand. This rampant deforestation not only disrupts delicate ecosystems but also contributes to the ever-looming threat of climate change.

But the damage doesn’t stop there. The disposal of paper towels in landfills releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that further fuels the flames of global warming. Yes, that’s right – even the simple act of tossing a paper towel in the trash indirectly contributes to the crisis we face.

Yet, amidst this bleak reality, there is hope. There are eco-friendly alternatives – a glimmer of light in the darkness. Enter reusable cloth towels, a simple switch that can make a world of difference.

By washing and reusing these towels, we can eliminate the need for disposable paper towels altogether. And let’s not forget about bamboo towels, crafted from a sustainable resource and equally effective in their purpose. Imagine the impact we could make by embracing these choices.

By thinking twice before reaching for that paper towel, we become agents of change, guardians of the planet we call home. Together, we can reduce deforestation, shrink greenhouse gas emissions, and pave the way for a brighter future for generations to come. So, my dear reader, I implore you – consider the weight of your actions.

Choose the path of sustainability, and let us protect our beloved Earth from the ravages of our own making. The power is in your hands.

4/9 Immediate Actions to Take

Should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate predicament of flushing paper towels down the toilet, swift action is paramount to mitigate further harm. The initial step entails promptly cutting off the water supply to halt the incessant flow. This can typically be accomplished by locating the shut-off valve near the commode.

Following this, endeavor to dislodge the obstruction by employing a plunger. Persevere and exercise patience, for rectifying the issue may necessitate several attempts. Should the plunger prove ineffective and the blockage persists , it becomes imperative to enlist the assistance of a seasoned plumber.

Equipped with both the expertise and specialized tools, they are adept at resolving the predicament without exacerbating the damage to your plumbing system. Bear in mind, attempting to rectify the situation independently may engender complications and ultimately result in exorbitant repairs. When in doubt, it is prudent to entrust the task to the professionals, ensuring a swift and effective resolution.

In conclusion, should you inadvertently flush paper towels down the toilet, prompt action is vital. Cease the water flow, employ a plunger, and if necessary, seek the aid of a professional to prevent further damage and expeditiously rectify the problem.

flushing paper towel down toilet

Flushing paper towels down the toilet can lead to serious plumbing issues. In this video, we explore the consequences and potential damages caused by this common mistake. Find out what happens when you flush paper towels down your toilet in E38 S3.

YouTube video

5/9 When to Call a Plumber

Recognizing the right time to enlist the help of a plumber can be a game-changer. Not only can it save you precious time, but it can also spare you from unnecessary expenses and stress. Keep an eye out for these telltale signs:

1. Stubborn Blockages: If your sink or toilet persistently clogs, despite your best efforts, it’s a clear indication that something more serious is going on. Don’t hesitate to call a plumber to address the issue before it worsens.

2. Sluggish Drains: If water takes longer than usual to drain or you notice pooling around the drain, it could be a sign of a clog or a problem with your pipes. A plumber can swiftly resolve the issue before it becomes a major headache.

3. Decreased Water Pressure: When the water pressure throughout your home drops significantly, it’s likely due to a leak or a plumbing malfunction. A plumber can pinpoint the source of the problem and restore normal water pressure.

4. Unpleasant Odors: Foul smells emanating from your drains or toilets might signal a sewer line problem. Waste no time in contacting a plumber to prevent further damage and potential health hazards. Acting promptly when faced with plumbing issues can save you from costly repairs down the line.

Avoid using chemical drain cleaners, as they can exacerbate the problem. Instead, entrust the job to a professional plumber equipped with the necessary expertise and tools. Remember, a skilled plumber can spare you headaches and ensure your plumbing system stays in optimal condition.

Don’t hesitate to seek assistance when you notice any of these warning signs.

If you’re dealing with the frustrating issue of having no water to your toilet supply line, check out our article on “No Water to Toilet Supply Line” for helpful tips on troubleshooting and resolving the problem.

flushing paper towel down toilet

Materials and Flushability: A Comparative Table

Material Flushable Non-flushable
Toilet Paper Easily dissolves in water Safe for flushing
Paper Towels Does not dissolve easily Do not flush
Tissues Dissolves in water Safe for flushing
Wet Wipes Does not dissolve easily Do not flush
Sanitary Pads Do not dissolve easily Do not flush
Tampons Do not dissolve easily Do not flush
Cotton Balls Do not dissolve easily Do not flush
Dental Floss Does not dissolve easily Do not flush
Condoms Does not dissolve easily Do not flush
Baby Wipes Do not dissolve easily Do not flush
Cotton Swabs Do not dissolve easily Do not flush
Band-Aids Do not dissolve easily Do not flush
Medication Do not dissolve easily Do not flush

6/9 Proper Trash Disposal

In order to protect our precious environment, responsible waste disposal is absolutely essential. When it comes to paper towels, we have the power to make a positive impact by embracing recycling. Instead of carelessly discarding them, let us take the initiative to separate them for recycling.

Another option to consider is composting. Did you know that paper towels are biodegradable? Yes, they can be broken down in composting facilities, effectively diverting them from landfills and transforming them into nutrient-rich soil.

For those seeking a truly sustainable choice, reusable cloth towels are the way to go. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but they also prove to be a wise investment in the long run. Simply wash and reuse them countless times, minimizing the need for single-use paper towels.

Through these small yet significant changes, we can all contribute to a healthier environment. Let us unite in the mission to recycle, compost, or make the switch to reusable cloth towels, paving the way for a more sustainable future. Together, we hold the power to make a difference, one paper towel at a time.

7/9 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Paper Towels

Embracing an eco-conscious lifestyle involves exploring sustainable alternatives to paper towels. A remarkable option is bamboo towels , harnessing the rapid growth of bamboo while minimizing pesticide and fertilizer usage. These towels are not only absorbent, soft, and long-lasting, but also offer a compelling substitute for traditional paper towels.

Another environmentally friendly choice lies in the use of cloth napkins. Boasting elegance and charm, these napkins can be easily laundered and reused , effectively reducing waste and contributing to a greener future. When utilizing public restrooms, it is worth considering the utilization of air dryers instead of paper towels.

While they may require a bit more time to effectively dry your hands, air dryers significantly reduce energy consumption and waste generation . By seamlessly integrating these alternatives into your daily routine, you can actively contribute to the well-being of our planet while diminishing your reliance on paper towels. So, why not embark on a journey with bamboo towels, cloth napkins, or air dryers?

Your small changes possess the power to create a profound impact for generations to come.

flushing paper towel down toilet

Fun Fact: Did you know that flushing just one paper towel can take up to 2 weeks to break down in the sewer system?


My name is Warren and I am a professional plumber licensed and insured in the State of California. I have been in the business for over 10 years and have undertaken small and large projects including bathroom renovation, toilets, garbage disposals, faucets, sinks and kitchen plumbing jobs. This site is based on my experience with toilets. I have installed the best brands and models in all sizes and shapes. I hope this helps you with the unbiased information that you need to make the right decision. …weiterlesen

8/9 Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Maintaining Your Plumbing: Tips for a Clog-Free Toilet In the realm of plumbing, prevention is key to avoiding the dreaded clog. By taking a proactive approach to maintenance , you can ensure the smooth operation of your plumbing system and bid farewell to those pesky blockages . Here are a few expert tips to guide you on your quest for a clog-free toilet:

1. Illuminate and investigate. Grab a trusty flashlight and embark on a voyage of inspection.

Examine your toilet pipes for any signs of buildup or debris. Should you spot any visible obstructions, remove them promptly.

2. Beware of chemical drain cleaners . While they may seem like a quick fix, these potent concoctions can wreak havoc on your pipes over time. Instead, opt for natural alternatives or enlist the help of a professional plumber .

3. Embrace the drain trap. This ingenious contraption acts as a guardian, capturing hair and soap scum while allowing only pure water to flow freely. Investing in a drain trap is a wise decision that will safeguard against future clogs.

By embracing these simple yet effective tips, you can bid farewell to toilet clogs and keep your plumbing system in pristine condition. Remember, regular maintenance is the key to avoiding costly plumbing mishaps. Show your pipes some love today, and they’ll thank you tomorrow!

flushing paper towel down toilet

Proper Paper Towel Disposal: A Simple Guide for a Cleaner Environment

  1. Do not flush paper towels down the toilet.
  2. Dispose of paper towels properly in the trash.
  3. Consider using eco-friendly alternatives to paper towels.

9/9 What Not to Flush: A Comprehensive List

Avoiding plumbing issues and costly repairs is crucial, and one way to do that is by being mindful of what you flush down the toilet. Here are a few things you should never flush. First on the list are wet wipes.

Unlike toilet paper , they don’t break down easily and can lead to clogged pipes . Next, cotton balls and swabs. These seemingly harmless items can get stuck and cause backups .

It’s best to dispose of them in the trash. Lastly, dental floss. It may seem harmless, but it can wrap around pipes and create blockages.

Dispose of it in the trash or explore alternative disposal methods. Remember, flushing these items can have costly consequences and harm the environment. By following this simple list, you can maintain a healthy plumbing system and protect our precious waterways.

If you’re curious about the effects of flushing paper towels down the toilet, check out our article “Flushing Paper Towels” for some important information and tips on proper disposal.


In conclusion, it is clear that flushing paper towels down the toilet is not only a common misconception but also has negative consequences. From potential blockages and plumbing issues to the environmental impact , it is important to understand the difference between toilet paper and paper towels. If you’ve accidentally flushed paper towels, it is important to take immediate actions and consider calling a plumber if necessary.

Proper disposal of paper towels involves using proper trash disposal methods and considering eco-friendly alternatives . To prevent future toilet clogs, regular plumbing maintenance and avoiding flushing items that shouldn’t be flushed are key. Overall, this article provides valuable information and guidance for readers who are searching for answers about flushing paper towels down the toilet.

For further information on related topics, we recommend exploring our other articles on plumbing maintenance and proper waste disposal.


What happens if you flush paper towels down the toilet?

Paper towels do not break down in the sewer system, regardless of their location. In fact, they actually expand when they become wet. This expansion occurs once they enter the sewer system and they remain at their maximum absorption size. As a result, this poses a risk of causing blockages in both the sewer service line and the main sewer.

Is it okay to flush one paper towel down the toilet?

According to various experts, it is important to only flush down your toilet pee, poop, vomit, and toilet paper. While paper towels or napkins may seem like a viable alternative to toilet paper, it is not advised to flush them. It is crucial to remember that these items can cause blockages in the plumbing system and lead to costly repairs. Therefore, it is best to dispose of paper towels and napkins in the trash bin instead of flushing them down the toilet.

What chemical dissolves paper towels?

To safely dissolve paper, mix 1 part muriatic acid with 10 parts water. Take care while combining the acid with water to avoid splashing, as the reaction is exothermic. Once prepared, submerge the paper in the diluted acid solution and let it dissolve completely.

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