Paper Towel Clogged Toilet: How to Fix It and Prevent Future Clogs

Are you dealing with a clogged toilet caused by paper towels? You’re not alone. Many people have faced this frustrating situation, and understanding why it happens is key to preventing it in the future.

In this article, we will explore the difference between toilet paper and paper towels, practical steps to unclog a toilet clogged by paper towels, pro tips to prevent toilet clogs, alternative DIY methods to unclog toilets, and answer common questions about paper towel clogged toilets. Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, knowing how to handle this issue can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress. So, let’s dive in and learn how to tackle the paper towel clogged toilet problem head-on.

In three sentences: The essentials in a nutshell

  • The text provides information on why paper towels clog toilets and the difference between toilet paper and paper towels.
  • It offers practical steps to unclog a toilet clogged by paper towels, including gathering necessary tools, using a plunger and a toilet auger.
  • The text also includes pro tips to prevent toilet clogs caused by paper towels and alternative DIY methods to unclog toilets.

paper towel clogged toilet

1/11 The Difference Between Toilet Paper and Paper Towels

While toilet paper and paper towels may appear similar, they possess distinct characteristics. Paper towels excel in their thickness and absorbency, making them perfect for tackling spills and cleaning tasks. Conversely, toilet paper prioritizes softness and comfort for bathroom use.

Moreover, the manufacturing processes of these two products vary. Paper towels undergo creping, a process that enhances their absorbent qualities. On the other hand, toilet paper undergoes embossing, which grants it a textured and soft feel.

It is crucial to note that paper towels cannot serve as a substitute for toilet paper. Their resistance to dissolving can lead to plumbing complications, such as pipe clogs and sewer line issues. To summarize, toilet paper and paper towels differ in terms of absorbency, thickness, manufacturing processes, and their impact on plumbing systems.

Remember to utilize toilet paper for its designated purpose and dispose of paper towels correctly to avoid any plumbing mishaps .

If you’re curious about the effects of flushing paper towels, check out our article “The Risks of Flushing Paper Towels” to learn more about the potential plumbing issues and environmental impact associated with this practice.

2/11 Step 1: Gathering the Necessary Tools

When faced with a toilet clogged by paper towels, there are a few necessary tools to have on hand. Begin by acquiring a plunger with a flange, as it will provide a superior seal and enhance the plunging process. Additionally, consider utilizing a toilet auger to dismantle tenacious obstructions and venture further into the plumbing system.

It is crucial to exercise caution and avoid causing damage to the delicate porcelain surface. Lastly, ensure the availability of rubber gloves, as well as either a bucket or plastic bag to maintain cleanliness. Armed with these essential tools, you will be prepared to conquer the clog and reinstate the steady flow of water.

Are you aware of the potential consequences of flushing paper towels down your toilet? In this video, we explore what happens when you make this common mistake and the reasons why it can lead to a clogged toilet. Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of plumbing mishaps.

YouTube video

3/11 Step 2: Utilizing a Plunger for Initial Attempts

In the battle against a clogged toilet caused by paper towels, plunging is your weapon of choice. But don’t just plunge aimlessly; there’s a method to ensure victory. Step one: create a strong seal between the plunger and the toilet bowl.

This seal is essential for generating the necessary pressure to dislodge the clog. Make sure the plunger is fully submerged in water and covers the entire drain opening. This traps the air and maximizes the force.

With the seal secured, it’s time to plunge with vigor. Push down firmly and then pull up forcefully, creating a powerful suction that can break up the clog. Repeat this motion, alternating between strong pushes and pulls.

After a few attempts, evaluate your progress. Flush the toilet and observe the water flow. If it drains smoothly and quickly, congratulations!

You’ve successfully defeated the clog . But if the water continues to rise or drains sluggishly, it may be time to explore other methods, like using a toilet auger . Always remember, a strong seal and proper plunging technique are key in battling a toilet blockage caused by paper towels .

Stay determined and patient , and soon your toilet will be back to its normal, functioning self.

paper towel clogged toilet

4/11 Step 3: Incorporate the Use of a Toilet Auger

When faced with a stubborn toilet blockage caused by paper towels, a toilet auger emerges as the ultimate hero. Mastering the art of using this tool is crucial. Begin by gently inserting the auger into the toilet bowl, ensuring it goes as deep as possible.

Slowly turn the handle in a clockwise direction, guiding the auger through the clog. Remember, patience is key – avoid excessive force or haste, as this may harm the toilet. While operating the toilet auger, keep a vigilant eye for signs of progress.

Look out for a decrease in water level, the soothing sound of water draining, or a relieving release of pressure. These are indications that the clog is gradually dissolving. In such moments, continue rotating the auger until victory is achieved and the clog is vanquished.

Always bear in mind that preserving the integrity of your toilet is of utmost importance. Be gentle and avoid scraping or scratching the porcelain, as it could lead to costly repairs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions diligently to ensure safe and proper usage.

By embracing the toilet auger as your unclogging ally, you can conquer paper towel blockages with ease. Emphasize technique, safeguard your toilet, and celebrate the signs of successful unclogging.

Did you know that paper towels were originally invented as a way to prevent the spread of germs in public restrooms?


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.


5/11 Step 4: Removing the Toilet Auger

Once you’ve triumphantly unclogged your toilet with a trusty toilet auger, it’s crucial to give it a thorough cleaning. This not only ensures its durability but also keeps your bathroom squeaky clean. Start by rinsing the auger with hot water to eliminate any residue or debris.

Then, use a gentle detergent or antibacterial solution to scrub it down, making sure to clean every nook and cranny, including the handle and spiral end. Rinse once more with hot water to get rid of any cleaning solution. To protect yourself from bacteria and germs, don a pair of protective gloves while handling the auger.

Take care to avoid any mishaps or damage to your toilet or surrounding surfaces. After cleaning and drying the auger, store it upright in a designated spot in your bathroom or utility room. Ensure it’s safely out of reach of children or pets to prevent any accidents and to maintain its pristine condition.

By following these simple steps, you’ll keep your toilet auger in tip-top shape and your bathroom sparkling clean.

paper towel clogged toilet

6/11 Proper Disposal of Paper Towels

Protecting Plumbing Systems: A Small Change for Big Impact Imagine a world where toilets never clog, where plumbing systems flow effortlessly, and where paper towels never threaten to disrupt our daily routines. It may sound like a dream, but with a small change in our habits, we can make this vision a reality. Did you know that flushing paper towels down the toilet can have disastrous consequences?

Unlike their delicate counterpart, toilet paper, paper towels are thicker and more absorbent, posing a significant risk of clogging. But fear not! There’s a simple solution to this problem.

Instead of mindlessly tossing paper towels into the toilet, let’s take a moment to consider their proper disposal. By placing them in a trash bin with a plastic bag, we can prevent clogged toilets and protect our precious plumbing systems. It’s a small action with a big impact.

But how do we spread the word and ensure everyone understands the importance of responsible disposal? Education and awareness are key. By sharing this knowledge with friends, family, and coworkers, we can collectively reduce the number of clogged toilets caused by paper towels.

Let’s embark on this journey of change together. Let’s preserve the functionality of our toilets and safeguard the sanctity of our plumbing systems. By making a simple adjustment to our habits, we can prevent a world of plumbing woes.

Together, let’s create a future where clogged toilets are nothing but a distant memory .

How to Deal with a Clogged Toilet Caused by Paper Towels

  • Did you know that paper towels are not designed to dissolve in water like toilet paper? This is why they can easily clog toilets when flushed.
  • The main difference between toilet paper and paper towels is the way they are made. Toilet paper is specifically designed to break down quickly in water, while paper towels are made to be more durable and absorbent.
  • If you find yourself with a clogged toilet due to paper towels, the first step is to gather the necessary tools. You will need a plunger and a toilet auger.
  • Using a plunger is a common method to unclog toilets. It creates pressure and suction to dislodge the clog. Give it a few firm plunges to see if the clog can be cleared.
  • If the plunger doesn’t work, try using a toilet auger. This tool is designed to break up and remove clogs that are further down the pipe. Insert the auger into the toilet bowl and rotate the handle to break up the clog.
  • Once you have successfully unclogged the toilet, make sure to remove the toilet auger carefully to avoid any mess. Clean the tool thoroughly before storing it.
  • To prevent future toilet clogs caused by paper towels, always dispose of them in the trash bin. Never flush paper towels down the toilet as they can easily cause blockages.
  • It’s important to remember what not to flush down your toilet. Besides paper towels, avoid flushing items like wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, and cotton balls, as they can also cause clogs.

7/11 What Not to Flush Down Your Toilet

In the intricate world of plumbing, a grave mistake lurks in the shadows, waiting to wreak havoc upon unsuspecting souls. Flushing baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, and cotton balls/swabs down the toilet may seem harmless, but alas, appearances can be deceiving. These mischievous items, unlike their delicate counterpart, toilet paper, refuse to disintegrate and instead conspire to obstruct your precious pipes.

To spare yourself the agony of costly repairs, I beseech you to cast these villains into the depths of the trash can where they rightfully belong. Remember, dear reader, only the noble toilet paper shall grace the watery realm of your plumbing system, preserving its harmonious functionality.

If you’re dealing with the frustration of flushing paper towel down the toilet, check out our article on how to avoid this common plumbing issue to save yourself from potential clogs and costly repairs.

paper towel clogged toilet

8/11 Homemade Drain Cleaners

Embark on a journey to effortlessly unclog your toilets with the magic of homemade drain cleaners. Crafted from everyday household items such as baking soda, vinegar, and hot water, these concoctions possess the power to conquer stubborn blockages and restore the flow of water. As you delve into this enchanting realm of DIY solutions, don’t forget to equip yourself with gloves and protective eyewear, adhere to instructions diligently, and avoid any reckless mixing.

Embrace the beauty of natural and non-toxic alternatives, sparing your wallet and granting you tranquility. Embrace this transformative experience and witness the extraordinary benefits unfolding before your very eyes!

How to Unclog a Toilet Clogged by Paper Towels: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Gather the necessary tools to unclog a toilet clogged by paper towels.
  2. Utilize a plunger for initial attempts to unclog the toilet.
  3. Incorporate the use of a toilet auger if the plunger doesn’t work.
  4. Remove the toilet auger once the clog is cleared.
  5. Properly dispose of paper towels to prevent future clogs.
  6. Avoid flushing items that should not be flushed down the toilet.
  7. Consider alternative DIY methods to unclog toilets, such as homemade drain cleaners.
  8. Learn about common questions related to paper towel clogged toilets, such as whether paper towels can be dissolved in toilets or if a toilet can unclog itself over time.

9/11 Hot Water and Dish Soap Method

When faced with a stubbornly clogged toilet, many turn to a popular DIY solution: using hot water and dish soap. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Gather your supplies: a bucket or large container, hot water, and dish soap. Make sure the container can hold enough water for the toilet bowl.

2. Fill the container with hot water, ensuring it’s not boiling to prevent any damage to the toilet bowl. Add a generous amount of dish soap to aid in breaking down the paper towels.

3. Carefully pour the mixture of hot water and dish soap into the toilet bowl. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, allowing the paper towels to soften.

4. Grab a plunger and plunge vigorously, dislodging any remaining clogs and encouraging the paper towels to move through the pipes.

5. Flush the toilet to see if the clog has been cleared. If the water drains effortlessly, congratulations! The method has worked.

If not, don’t lose hope – you can either repeat the process or explore alternative solutions. Remember to exercise caution while handling hot water and dish soap, avoiding boiling water and being mindful of any potential splashes. With the right approach, this method can effectively unclog a toilet obstructed by paper towels.

10/11 Can Paper Towels Be Dissolved in Toilets?

In times of need, reaching for a paper towel may seem like the easiest solution. However, the consequences of flushing them down the toilet are far from convenient. Unlike toilet paper, paper towels possess a strength and absorbency that makes them resistant to breaking down in water.

This seemingly harmless act can lead to disastrous consequences for your plumbing system. The impact on septic systems is a major cause for concern. These systems are designed to break down organic waste, such as human waste and toilet paper.

However, paper towels do not easily disintegrate and can obstruct the pipes leading to the septic tank. The result? Costly repairs and potential damage to the entire system.

But it doesn’t end there. Flushing paper towels can also wreak havoc on sewer lines. These lines are specifically designed to handle human waste and toilet paper.

When paper towels are flushed, they can become entangled in obstructions or create their own blockages. This nightmare scenario can lead to backups, leaks, and even burst pipes. To avoid such plumbing disasters , it is crucial to dispose of paper towels properly.

Instead of flushing them, simply toss them in the trash. By doing so, you can ensure they are disposed of in a manner that won’t harm your plumbing system. Remember, it’s always better to prioritize safety rather than be left dealing with the aftermath of a toilet and plumbing nightmare.

paper towel clogged toilet

Comparison of Absorbency Levels: Toilet Paper vs Paper Towels (Tabelle)

Absorbency Level Toilet Paper Paper Towels
Absorbency Rating Medium High
Description of Toilet Paper Absorbency Designed for quick absorption and disintegration in water, suitable for personal hygiene and wiping surfaces Designed for heavy-duty absorption and durability, ideal for cleaning spills and drying hands
Description of Paper Towels Absorbency Designed for heavy-duty absorption and durability, ideal for cleaning spills and drying hands Designed for heavy-duty absorption and durability, ideal for cleaning spills and drying hands
Examples of Typical Uses for Toilet Paper Personal hygiene, wiping surfaces, removing makeup Light cleaning tasks, removing stains, drying delicate items
Examples of Typical Uses for Paper Towels Light cleaning tasks, removing stains, drying delicate items Cleaning spills, drying hands, scrubbing surfaces
Compatibility with Toilet Plumbing Systems Easily breaks down in water, safe for flushing Not recommended for flushing, dispose of in trash or compost
Potential Consequences of Flushing Paper Towels Clogs, pipe blockages, strain on sewage systems Clogs, pipe blockages, strain on sewage systems
Recommendations for Appropriate Use Use toilet paper for flushing, avoid flushing paper towels Dispose of paper towels in trash or compost, do not flush

11/11 Can a Toilet Unclog Itself Over Time?

Imagine a world where toilets possess the remarkable ability to miraculously unclog themselves. It may sound like a dream come true, but in reality, it can pose unforeseen challenges. Various factors such as the nature of the clog, the overall condition of the plumbing system, and water pressure can significantly impact the toilet’s self-unclogging prowess.

Therefore, if you find yourself encountering persistent clogs or sluggish flushing, it is imperative to take action. Neglecting the issue could result in severe plumbing complications , making it crucial to promptly address and resolve clogs to ensure the continued functionality of your plumbing system.

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s safe to flush paper towels down the toilet, check out our article “Can I Flush Paper Towels?” for all the information you need to know.


In conclusion, understanding why paper towels clog toilets is crucial for maintaining a functional and unclogged plumbing system. By differentiating between toilet paper and paper towels, we can avoid flushing the latter down the toilet. In the event of a paper towel clog, practical steps such as gathering the necessary tools, utilizing a plunger, and incorporating a toilet auger can effectively unclog the toilet.

Additionally, pro tips such as proper disposal of paper towels and avoiding flushing non-toilet-friendly items can prevent future clogs. For those seeking alternative DIY methods, homemade drain cleaners and the hot water and dish soap method can be effective solutions. Common questions about paper towel clogged toilets, such as whether paper towels can be dissolved in toilets or if a toilet can unclog itself over time, are also addressed.

This comprehensive article provides valuable insights and solutions for dealing with paper towel clogged toilets, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free restroom experience. For more helpful articles on plumbing maintenance and troubleshooting, we recommend exploring our other informative content on plumbing-related topics.


Will paper towels eventually dissolve in toilet?

Paper towels do not break down in the sewer system and can cause blockages. When they get wet, they expand to their full size and remain that way, which increases the risk of clogging the sewer service line or main. This can lead to costly repairs and inconvenience for homeowners. It is important to dispose of paper towels properly and avoid flushing them down the toilet to prevent these issues.

How do you dissolve a paper towel clog in the toilet?

To check if the clog in your toilet has been cleared, you can try flushing it after performing a simple method. This involves combining approximately one cup of baking soda with one cup of vinegar, and then pouring the mixture into the toilet bowl. Allow it to sit for a few hours or overnight. This mixture creates a chemical reaction that aids in breaking down any obstructions, including paper towels.

How much paper towels will clog a toilet?

Flushing paper towels down the toilet is not a good idea, even if you only do it in small quantities. Unlike toilet paper, paper towels are made to be stronger and more absorbent, which means they don’t break down as easily in water. As a result, they can easily lead to clogs in your pipes. So, it’s best to avoid flushing paper towels and dispose of them in the proper waste receptacle instead.

What chemical dissolves paper towels?

To safely dissolve the paper, mix 1 part muriatic acid with 10 parts of water. It’s important to be cautious while adding muriatic acid to water, as it can cause a reaction that releases heat and may lead to splashing. Once the diluted acid is prepared, carefully place the paper into the solution and allow it to completely dissolve.

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