How to Dissolve Toilet Paper in Septic Tank

Septic tanks are a necessary component of residential living. They help to process waste from sinks, toilets, and showers before it is flushed into the municipal sewer system. One question often arises is how to dissolve toilet paper in a septic tank. To answer this question, we must first understand how septic systems work and what purpose they serve. 

How to Dissolve Toilet Paper in Septic Tank

What is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a device that holds the wastewater from homes that are not connected to a municipal sewer system. Typically, there is one septic tank for every 1000 square feet in the area. The tank can be made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic and has two chambers,

anaerobic and aerobic, where bacteria break down solid wastes into liquefied, non-contaminating liquid. The tank has a start and stops switch with a float that raises or lowers depending on how much wastewater is inside the tank.

Septic tanks are designed to process wastewater from your home or business. The most important part of the system is the drainfield, which consists of gravel-filled trenches covered by clay soil pipe (or perforated pipes). This area allows for water to pass through while solid materials sink to the bottom, where bacteria can break them down.

How does Septic Tank Work?

Septic Tank Is Buried Underground

A septic tank is buried underground or in a concrete foundation and holds all the waste from your home. The most common type of septic system consists of a large concrete or fiberglass tank with an access lid and a drain field that carries the sewage to the soil. These systems are used in many countries throughout the world. 

Each of the homes in a septic system has its own waste pipe that connects to the main tank, where microorganisms break down solid wastes. This may take between 8 and 10 days. When it is all done, the flow out of your home will be less smelly and less greasy.

It is possible for tanks to fail, which causes the septic system not to work properly. On a typical day, your tank is probably not full yet, so it will be able to handle this new waste load for a little while.

8 Simple Ways to Dissolve Toilet Paper in Septic Tank:

1. Flush the toilet.

Let the water swirl around in the bowl long enough to break up the clumps of paper. Then let it drain from the tank and into a pail or bucket below. This should dissolve most pieces with only one flush.

2. Siphon out the toilet.

It is possible to siphon out the toilet and flush the paper at a different time. This will work best with two people, one ready to remove any clogs if they occur. Hold the hose underwater in the back of the seat to siphon out the bowl until you can’t get any more water flowing through it. Then move the hose over to the side of the tank, where you can drain it into a bucket.

3. Turn off Water Using a Shut-off Valve.

Be sure the toilet is in the upright position before doing this. Then, open the hot and cold valves on both sides of your toilet so that there are no leaks from one line to another when you disconnect the water supply.

4. Remove Float Ball and Flush.

Turn off the water, open the tank’s overflow pipe, then loosen the screws that hold on its float arm and remove it from inside the tank. When you’ve removed as much paper as possible, turn on the valve once more and flush out the toilet.

Remove It From Inside the Tank

5. Use a Plunger.

This will help push down on the paper and mush it around so that it dissolves faster. But, naturally, this will only work if the water has already been drained.

6. Boil down the water.

Some people say that boiling down your toilet water can dissolve it faster. As you let the water boil, strain out larger pieces as they rise to the top of the pot with a metal mesh strainer. You can also use food coloring in the bouillon if you want, making it easier to see.

7. Use Dish Soap.

Put a few drops of these into the toilet and turn on the water for a minute or two so that it cleans off as much paper as possible. If you want, you can use an old toothbrush to scrub away the remaining pieces of paper, but it’s unnecessary.

8. Use Enzyme Cleaner.

Enzyme cleaners are very good at separating organic matter and breaking it down. Just use one tablespoon in the toilet and flush well. Make sure that you use a non-foaming cleaner, though.

Things to Consider When Maintaining Your Septic Tank

1. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures occur, allow at least one inch of space between the wastewater’s surface and your tank’s cover to avoid damage to the septic system.

2. Do not drive or park heavy machinery over your drain field.

3. Avoid putting grease down your sink or tub drains as it will accumulate in your pipes and cause backups. Grease can be disposed of in old coffee cans or any other waterproof container, placed into the trash for regular garbage pick up, or taken to a hazardous waste disposal site.

4. Do not flush cooking oil, baby oil, alcohols, medicine bottles, and acetaminophen (Tylenol) down the drain.

Replacing Old Septic System

5. Replacing old septic system parts is very important to keep your septic system working properly and efficiently, especially when you have a failing part.

6. Do not use bleach or any other harsh chemicals or cleaners down your drains, as they will cause your pipes to corrode quickly. It is also suggested that you use drain cleaners sparingly.

7. Do not dispose of unwanted medications by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash. Instead, take unused medicines to a local drug store for proper disposal.

8. Do not take long, hot showers as it will use up the oxygen in your tank water and slow down the septic tank’s ability to break down sewage effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Long Does it Take for Toilet Paper to Break Down?

With its various chemicals and toilet paper, Treated sewage can be a nasty mix, one that you want to get out of your septic tank as quickly as possible. However, when using the toilet, even greener than greener brands may disintegrate too quickly in the septic system of a home that is overly dependent upon on-site wastewater management.

Other toilet paper brands may dissolve too slowly or not leave your pipes clear enough to allow the flow of wastewater to continue moving. There are options other than flushing this waste down your pipes as quickly as possible with water.

How do You know if Your Toilet Paper is Dissolving?

Before we discuss how to dissolve toilet paper in the septic tank, let us talk about how to know if they are dissolving. We should be concerned, not just because it’s ugly and unsanitary, but also because it’s causing damage that has to be repaired. It is vitally important that all solid waste goes into the septic tank, not the drainage field.

Doing so will create a serious problem that is expensive to repair (re-lining the leach field being one of the most common solutions). The easiest way to tell if your toilet paper is dissolving in the septic tank is by inspecting toilet paper fibers when cleaning the septic tank. If they are present, they are not dissolving, and you should consider switching to a different toilet paper or tissue product brand.

Can Too Much Toilet Paper Clog a Septic System?

 Too Much Toilet Paper

The short answer is no, and the toilet paper will not clog the septic system. However, toilet paper does dissolve, which is why there are sewage treatment plants where we flush our TP down (and other undesirables), so they can treat it, recycle what they can,

and dispose of the rest. The same goes for dishwashing liquid, body wash, and all the other non-biodegradable items we flush down our toilets daily.

What clogs septic systems is grease and oil from cooking, hair particles, diapers (both children’s and adults’), medicines, paper towels, plates/cups made of polystyrene foam or plastic liners, feminine products, etc. Grease and oil are the enemies of a septic tank because they congeal at the bottom of the tank, forming sludge, which eventually clogs your septic drain field lines.


If you have a septic system, it is important to know how to dissolve toilet paper in the septic tank. There are two ways that this can be done by using a chemical or adding water and waiting for the tissues to disintegrate on their own. The first option may not always work because of the lack of sufficient bacteria needed to break down tissue fibers quickly enough.

Water will usually do the trick with time; however, if there is too much fiber build-up from years worth of use, then heavy equipment needs to be used as part of an expensive deep cleaning process. Once dissolved, you should never flush anything other than human waste into your septic system again without consulting a professional about it beforehand!

Read our other article – How to Embroider on Toilet Paper

Jennifer Branett
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