Can You Flush Paper Towels In The Toilet?

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Last Updated on September 6, 2022 by acechapman

While paper towels may look a lot like toilet paper, should you use them as an alternative to toilet paper? What happens if you use your paper towels instead when you flush the toilet?

The simple answer to this question is NO. It is a bad idea to flush paper towels. Toilet paper does not dissolve or break down in the water. This can lead to clogs and sewage backups.

A few paper towels won’t clog the toilet. They won’t dissolve or break down as quickly as toilet paper but the flush water will take them to the sewer without any problems. However, continued use of paper towels can clog the toilet.

Although paper towels can dissolve in water, the high-quality pulp is used to absorb them. This means that they take a while to break down.

Flushing the paper towel accidentally, you can pour approximately a gallon of hot water into the toilet. Hot water will dissolve the paper towel and make it easy to break down.

For a toilet to unclog after using a paper towel, you should plunge for 2 to 5 minutes. Upgrade to a toilet auger if the plunger is not working. Sometimes, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar with hot water can easily dissolve the clog.

You can also use a paper towel to dispose of any toilet paper that is not in your bathroom. Additionally, you can use a sponge, cloth, or towel. Then you can go to the shower to clean up. However, installing a bidet may be the best option.


There is a way to see the difference between paper towels and toilet paper.

  • Fill two mason jars with water to the halfway mark.
  • Place approximately 4 sheets of toilet tissue in one jar, and one sheet of paper towel in another.
  • For about 10 seconds, shake the jars vigorously.
  • Then check the rate at which the water dissolves the jars.

The siphon effect occurs when flushing is done by looking at the bottom of your toilet bowl. 

The trap moves the wastewater and toilet paper up and then down. Although it may seem counterproductive to use this toilet design, toilets would not be able to siphon the waste.

Because paper towels are not very fast to dissolve in the water, they can become stuck inside the traps and cause a blockage. If this happens, your toilet may not drain properly. However, if the clog is partially cleared, it will drain slowly.

The force of gravity is the only way that waste in the sewer line drains out. This means there is not enough pressure to force the waste from the sewer line.

Other unwanted substances, such as grease from the kitchen, can make it worse. It will be difficult to remove the clog because grease collects around paper towels, creating a solid blockage.

can you flush paper towels


What should you do if your paper towels get sucked down the bow when you flush the toilet? You wouldn’t want the toilet to clog so you don’t want to take that risk. Prevention is always better than treatment.

  • Pour a gallon of hot water into the bowl. Hot water dissolves substances better than cold water, as you know. Don’t use boiling water to prevent the bowl from cracking.
  • Use a plunger to force water down the drain. Apply the vinegar and baking soda solution directly to the paper towel clog. Put a cup of baking powder in the bowl. Next, add 2 cups of baking soda.
  • After waiting for the reaction to stop for around 15 minutes, pour a gallon of hot water into the bowl and flush everything down the drain. This will ensure that your toilet is clean and clear from any clogs.

You can still use the above methods if you have a blocked toilet. However, if these don’t work, plunging will probably do the trick.

For 2 to 5 minutes, use a good plunger (flange plumber) to push the plunger hard. To ensure that the toilet is clean, flush it a few times.

Using a toilet snake, although you won’t need it, is a great way to unclog a toilet. You can also use toilet augers to remove the clog from the toilet by either shredding it or hooking it and pulling it out.

What Are The Other Things You Can’t Flush?

In desperate times, you need to take drastic measures. You might be wondering what other items are safe to flush if you run out of toilet paper. These are some things that you shouldn’t flush.

Baby wipes

Baby wipes should not be flushed. Even wipes that are labeled as flushable can clog your toilet and cause chaos. Baby wipes are not as easily dissolved as toilet paper. You should dispose of them in a trash can.

Cotton balls and Pads

Also, pads, cotton balls, tips, and other items don’t dissolve in water. You should throw them out, not flush them. They can cause serious damage to your entire plumbing system if they clump together.

Menstrual Products

Menstrual products are one of the leading causes of clogs. Many women find it embarrassing or bothersome to discard these products outside of the toilet.

They will often end up being flushed, which can cause clogs. Menstrual products don’t dissolve, but they also expand when they come in contact with liquid. They are bad for your plumbing.


You can use tissues in place of toilet paper. However, you can not flush tissues, as they don’t absorb as quickly as toilet paper.

This can increase the likelihood of clogging. If you have to use a tissue instead of toilet paper, keep a small trash container nearby.


You might not realize that nappies are very similar to menstrual products. They’re too large to flush and will only expand when they come in contact with water.

This greatly increases the likelihood of them becoming stuck in a drain. Therefore, you should not flush them.

can you flush paper towels


What do you do when you don’t have any toilet paper at home? There are many options that are practical and effective.

Surprisingly, a paper towel is one of the products that you can use. Yes!

You can dispose of the paper towel in the same manner as you dispose of sanitary products and diapers. It is a good idea for the bathroom to have a trashcan.

Wet wipes and baby wipes are other great products. You can dispose of the wet wipes in the trash bin and never attempt to flush them down your toilet.

Wet wipes can clog toilets worse than paper towels, and even more clogs. Even “flushable wipes”, which are often called flushable, may not be as flushable.

Another option is to use cloth toilet paper if you don’t mind. This means that each member of the family will have their own cloth, which can be used again and again after using the toilet.

If you don’t have any toilet paper and are using the bathroom, you can use your naked hand to clean the area.

You can also jump into the shower to clean up. Some people may find this tedious as it requires you to take a shower each time you go to the bathroom.

A bidet is a better option than toilet paper for a permanent solution. There are many types of bidets, including:

  • Stand Alone Bidets  
  • Bidet toilet seats
  • Bidet attachments
  • Bidet sprayers
  • Bottle and portable bidets

The electronic bidet toilet seat is my favorite. They not only clean you but also have a dryer which means you don’t need a towel or toilet paper to dry yourself.

Wrapping Up

Never flush paper towels. This will cause clogs in the toilet drain lines or sewer pipes and lead to sewage backup in your home.

You risk serious damage to your wallet or your property if you flush anything else other than toilet paper. Throw it in the trash can if you’re not sure if it is flushable. It is better to be safe than sorry.

A paper towel will not likely clog your toilet. However, flush it twice or three times. You will be able to flush the excess water out of your house, eliminating any possibility of clogs.

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