clogged toilet with paper towel

How To Unclog A Clogged Toilet With Paper Towel

Paper towels are easy-to-use items that folks use regularly. Even though you can employ cloth towels to tidy up huge messes, paper towels come in handy for everything else. 

Perhaps you’ve constantly tossed paper towels into the dumpster, but being eco-friendly makes you examine your daily routines in the hope of seeing what areas to tweak. It makes you consider tossing paper towels into the toilet and flushing them, hoping to be more environmentally conscious. 

Although toilets drain waste and toilet tissue, it is vital to realize that they sometimes fail to flush everything. Paper towels can block toilets, and knowing why may be the first step in resolving the problem if it arises. 

This piece explains why paper towels pose a threat to your drain lines, how to avert the challenges of disposing of paper towels in the toilet, and frequently asked questions surrounding the topic. 

Will Paper Towels Eventually Dissolve In Toilet?

Toilet paper, unlike paper towels, disintegrates readily in water. Paper towels are thicker and designed to absorb moisture without dissolving. If you flush paper towels, they’ll block toilet drains. 

How Do You Dissolve Paper Towels in Pipes

When you find the toilet bowl has gotten significantly clogged, you can employ bleach to clear it. Go through the easy-to-follow steps below to unclog your drains:

  • Pour 2 or 3 cups of bleach into your toilet bowl, then wait for 10-15 minutes to give the undiluted bleach time to get into the trapped paper towels. 
  • Breaking down the paper towels would be a breeze after 10 to 15 minutes. You may now use hot water to flush the toilet.

However, if you use a septic tank, you can bleach, but don’t exceed the recommended amount. If you do not follow this advice, you may destroy the microorganisms in the septic system.

The microorganisms in the septic system aid in waste decomposition, and their absence will cause the septic system to malfunction. 

It’s worth mentioning that a mixture of bleach and ammonia (which may have been present in your prior cleaning) can produce toxic fumes. The toxic fumes can cause significant damage to the pipes. 

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Can You Flush Paper Towels?

Since paper towels don’t break down readily in water, they are not flushable. 

Paper towels, like tissues, are designed to absorb water but not disintegrate fast when in contact with water. Consequently, if you flush them down your toilet, they may cause a blockage in the toilet trap or farther down the drain line. 

Paper towels constitute cellulose fiber found in plants like cotton, wood, and so on; and can quickly absorb spills. They are incredibly absorbent owing to the existence of this composition.

According to studies, experts feel you can flush ordinary human excrement, such as urine, poop, drool, vomit, and tissue paper. They are flushable and will not block your pipes. 

Paper towels barely dissolve once they come into touch with water. Instead of breaking down, the paper towel would absorb moisture. 

Assume you have numerous 11×11 damp paper towels in the drain lines. The damp paper towel will undoubtedly hurt your toilet plumbing system. 

Therefore, experts advise against disposing of used paper towels in the toilet and flushing them. If possible, dump used paper towels in a trash can. 

What Happens When You Flush Paper Towels?

Several homeowners believe using paper towels in their bathroom is better than tissue paper. But, not many of them know how this risks their toilet drains.

Paper towels are difficult to break down due to the components employed in their production. It contrasts with the composition of the toilet paper, which disintegrates speedily. 

Paper towels frequently become entangled in the curve around the lowest portion of the toilet. As a result, a clog forms, which can cause a variety of plumbing problems within your lavatory.

Furthermore, flushing paper towels will trap them within the main stack, causing them to remain within the drain rather than the toilet itself. Clogging is inevitable when this occurs.

The obstruction caused by flushing paper towels will cause the toilet to flush slowly at first. A complete blockage ensues if you continue using the lavatory without unclogging-and this could cause your toilet to overflow. 

If your property has a septic tank, paper towels can badly harm the piping. Paper towels can cause blockages in sewage pumps. 

The sewage pump dissolves garbage and feeds it into the septic organ. When these entanglements develop, your sewage pump will clog and would impede flushing. 

Paper towels might even linger in septic tanks with other waste material without disintegrating. Paper towels, as earlier mentioned, do not degrade quickly because of the properties included in their manufacture. 

See also Toilet paper that doesn’t leave toilet paper

What To Do When You Have A Clogged Toilet With Paper Towel

The paper towel has no place in the toilet, meaning you should dump it in a trash bin after usage. But if you tossed it into the toilet bowl and flushed it only for it to clog your drain line, here are a few ways to sort it out: 

1) Use A Plumbing Auger

The plumbing auger is a lengthy cleaning cord featuring a plastic elbow sleeve affixed to avoid damaging the ceramic. You can use it to take out multiple paper towels should they block your toilet. 

Stick one tip of the toilet auger down the loo and turn the other end using your hand. The movement should loosen any junk in your plumbing.

The shortcoming of this approach is it can only clear nearby clogs. 

2) Use A Plunger

A plunger pushes and pulls air through your piping. For minor blockages, this suffices to dislodge the impediment.

3) Use A Wire Hanger

Unclogging a toilet with a wire hanger is a DIY approach that entails converting a wire hanger into a plumbing snake.

Wrap a little cloth around the hook to keep it from hurting the pipe, then use it to unclog the drain. Experts recommend you wear a rubber glove while undertaking this task to avoid toilet infection. 

4) Use Sewer Jetter

This approach requires you to break the clogged section and flush contents using a Sewer Jetter. 

5) Contact A Professional

If none of the solutions discussed work, contact professional plumbers. They always have the proper equipment to deal with arduous blockages.

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How To Dispose of Paper Towels

Now that you know that flushing paper towels will clog your toilet, the two methods discussed below will help get rid of them:

1) Compost The Paper Towels

Adding used paper towels to a compost pile in your home benefits your garden and keeps them from the garbage dump. Professionals categorize paper towels as brown substances, which means they are high in carbon. 

However, it’s important to remember that it isn’t always a brilliant idea to decompose paper towels, for instance, after cleaning a chemical spill. If the paper towels contain chemicals or have a specific coating, adding them to the compost won’t do you any favors. 

2) Throw Them Away

For most folks, this stands out as the best option. Most people do not compost at home, either owing to space restrictions or a lack of motivation. 

If the two constraints describe you, then the best alternative is to discard the used paper towels in the garbage. 

Read also Toilets that can flush golf balls

FAQ on Clogged Toilet With Paper Towel

1. What Can You Use to Dissolve Paper Towels?

You can use bleach to dissolve paper towels, disinfect, and freshen your toilet. Pour 3/4 cup bleach into your lavatory, and flush it repeatedly with hot water. 

It can, however, go a step further by assisting in the disintegration of paper towels. 

2. How Long Does It Take A Paper Towel To Dissolve?

Dissolving paper towels in water takes about eight days. It takes one to four minutes for toilet paper to dissolve in water, but it might take up to six weeks for face tissue sheets to disintegrate. 

The ability of paper towels to soak liquid is one feature that distinguishes them and makes them a must-have kitchen hygiene item.

Final Thoughts

Paper towels absorb water and thus do not dissolve well in them. Therefore, avoid throwing and flushing paper towels in the loo. 

If the paper towel has outlived its usefulness, dump it in a trash bin; unless you would like to add them to your compost pile.

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