7 Best Toilet Paper for Septic Systems: For Fast Breakdown
Last Updated on September 6, 2023 by toilethaven
A septic system is designed to naturally break down the waste from your house using bacteria in a septic tank. A well-designed and utilized septic system can last for many years. Choosing good toilet paper for your septic system is one sure way of ensuring that it is operating at peak performance.
When you flush the toilet, the waste, water, and toilet paper mixture flows through the drainpipe and into the septic tank. This organic waste is broken down by the anaerobic bacteria inside the septic tank.
The purified water (effluent) is sent out of the septic tank via a series of pipes, where it is released back to the ground. A sludge, which is basically solid waste, settles at the bottom of the tank, waiting to be sucked out.
At the top of the septic tank is the scum, which is anything you shouldn’t flush, like oils, grease, dental floss, wet wipes, etc.
The type of toilet paper you use will, therefore, directly affect how your septic system works. The best toilet paper for your septic system is one which will easily break down and settle at the bottom of the septic tank, preventing drain clogs and scums.
Flushable wipes are not a good option for septic systems. They don’t break down easily therefore contributing to scum, and could very easily clog the drainpipes.
In short, septic-safe toilet paper will need to be biodegradable, recycled, or both. All toilet paper will eventually break down, but some do so faster and with less water than others. Recycled toilet paper is friendlier to the septic tank bacteria as it contains fewer chemicals.
A good septic tank toilet paper should also be strong enough that you don’t use a lot of it to get the “work done”. This reduces the amount of sludge and also prevents drain clogs. Apart from toilet paper, you will also need to use septic-safe toilet cleaners for your septic system.
The Best Toilet Paper for Septic Systems are:
|1. Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper||Best dissolving|
|2. Seventh Generation Toilet Paper||Best recycled|
|3. Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Soft Toilet Paper||Best thickest|
|4. Angel Soft Toilet Paper||Best-budget|
|5. Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo Toilet Paper||Best Eco-friendly|
|6. White Cloud Toilet Paper||Best for sensitive skin|
|7. Preference Embossed Toilet Paper||Best embossed|
1. Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper
- Specially made for use in RVs, boats, buses and similar applications
- Breaks down four times faster than the leading bath tissue brand
- Soft, absorbent sheets are gentle on skin
The Scott rapid dissolving toilet paper is specifically made for use in septic systems as well as other toilets like RV toilets and boat toilets where fast toilet paper dissolving and disintegration is key.
The main reasons why I highly recommend the Scott rapid dissolving toilet paper for your septic systems are:
- It is specifically made for septic systems
- 100% biodegradable
- Non-scented and free of perfumes
- Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
- It breaks up four times faster than ordinary toilet paper
- Clog-clinic tested
- Soft and gentle on the skin.
One pack of the Scott Rapid Dissolving septic-safe toilet paper contains four rolls, each roll with 231 sheets. You will hardly ever go wrong with this toilet paper.
2. Seventh Generation Toilet Paper
- Seventh Generation 2-ply bathroom tissue designed for softness and strength
- Chlorine free made with 100% Recycled Paper*, no added dyes, inks, or fragrances
- Eco friendly toilet paper whitened without chlorine bleach
The Seventh Generation toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper. It is then whitened without chlorine bleach, making it septic-safe as it will not harm the billions of microbes in the septic tank.
It is manufactured in Wisconsin and Arizona in the United States as well as Quebec and Canada using materials recycled in North America.
As is the norm with toilet paper made from recycled paper, you will notice that the Seventh Generation toilet paper is not the softest in the market. It is also thinner, especially when you pick the 1-ply sheets option, but you can also decide to go with the 2-ply, although the 1-ply is the best one for septic systems.
In a nutshell, here is why the Seventh Generation toilet paper is good for your septic system:
- Whitened without chemicals
- Thin and absorbent
- Made with 100% recycled paper
- No added dyes, fragrances, or ink
- It is good for the environment
Not only is this toilet paper safe for your septic-safe, but it is environment-friendly, too. It will also avoid clogs in low-flow toilets as well as camper vans and boat toilets.
Each pack contains 24 rolls, with each roll having 20 sheets.
3. Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Soft Toilet Paper
- 24 FAMILY MEGA ROLLS: Cottonelle Ultra Clean Toilet Paper with Active CleaningRipples Texture, 24 Family Mega Rolls (4 packs of 6); 388 sheets per roll .
- TOILET PAPER WITH CLEANINGRIPPLES TEXTURE: Cottonelle Ultra Clean toilet tissue removes residue that can cause irritation, removes odor-causing bacteria, and is designed for sensitive skin.
- GENTLE SUSTAINABLE TOILET PAPER: Soft, premium 1-ply toilet paper is septic-safe and 3x stronger** to keep your hands protected and clean as you wipe.
The one thing that stands out about the Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare soft toilet paper is its strength. Featuring their CleaningRipples Texture, Cottonelle toilet paper wipes away at once without smearing.
It is 3 times thicker and, therefore, 3 times stronger than ordinary toilet paper. You, therefore, only need to use a few sheets for a complete clean. This is good for your septic system as more toilet paper usage contributes to frequent clogs as well as increases the sludge level.
Cottonelle septic-safe toilet paper is also two times more absorbent than other toilet paper, meaning that it breaks down easily. You can opt to buy the regular-sized rolls or the mega rolls, but that will be determined by the size of your toilet paper holder.
The pros of Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare, soft toilet paper, are:
- 1-ply 3 times thicker toilet paper.
- Only a few sheets need to be used.
- It’s biodegradable
- Made with plant-based fibers, therefore septic-safe, clog-safe and sewer-safe
- Soft and gentle on the skin
4. Angel Soft Toilet Paper
- ANGEL SOFT toilet paper delivers softness and strength at a good value
- Long lasting rolls with 425 plus 2-ply sheets per roll
- Quality toilet paper for the whole family at a price that won’t break the bank
Angel Soft toilet paper is well known for its softness and strength. Another advantage of these toilet paper rolls is that they are cheaper compared to other big brands but still manage to do the job as well as them, if not better.
It is not as thin as the Scott toilet paper sheets, but it’s also not thick like some other toilet paper brands, which tends to clog drains a lot and does not break down easily. Each of its 2-ply rolls contains 429 sheets; hence, it is long-lasting.
If you need septic-safe toilet paper that is strong, soft, and inexpensive, then Angel Soft toilet paper is the one for you. It may not be as soft as Charmin toilet paper, but that’s because Charmin is thicker and treated to be soft, which is all that septic-safe toilet paper should not be.
5. Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo Toilet Paper
- TREE FREE TOILET PAPER made from sustainable grown bamboo, a fast growing grass, making our bamboo toilet paper a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional tree based bath tissue.
- BIODEGRADABLE, SEPTIC SAFE toilet paper, safe for all disposal systems including motorhome, and marine sanitation systems. The perfect rapid dissolve rv toilet paper for campers, and boats.
- GENTLE ON SENSITIVE SKIN, our eco friendly toilet paper is hypoallergenic, BPA-free, fragrance free, paraben free, lint free, non-GMO project verified, and uses an elemental chlorine free bleaching...
Caboo tree-free bamboo toilet paper is an eco-friendly 2-ply sheet toilet paper made from sustainably grown bamboo and sugarcane. Bamboo and sugarcane are fast-growing grasses, which gives a better alternative than trees, which take longer to grow.
This toilet paper is, therefore, 100% biodegradable, making it safe for septic tanks as well as other applications in the leisure industry like camping and boating.
Its other pros are:
- Hypoallergenic – will not cause an allergic reaction
- BPA free
- Free of chlorine
Apart from being eco-friendly and chlorine-free, Caboo toilet paper disintegrates fast after flushing, which is what you want from toilet paper when you are on a septic system.
Caboo toilet paper is not the softest toilet paper on the market. If you have very sensitive skin, maybe this one might not be the best option for you.
I, however, think that it would be very hard to have very soft toilet paper when your raw materials are not conventional wood, especially when the toilet paper is chemical-free.
6. White Cloud Toilet Paper
- Ranked #1 Best 2-Ply Toilet Paper by a leading consumer publication, so you know it's a brand you can trust. Note : Design/Package may vary
- Cloud Cushion Technology for that extra soft toilet paper feel you want, with the absorbency and strength you need
- Mega rolls are like having 4 toilet paper rolls in 1, which means fewer roll changes
White Cloud is another decent 2-ply sheet of toilet paper. I like the fact it is a septic-safe toilet paper but still soft and strong. What you may not like about it is that it is a little pricier than other toilet paper brands.
It is, however, a hypoallergenic and dermatologist-approved toilet paper, giving you the assurance that it will not irritate your sensitive skin.
Although one pack of this toilet paper might be expensive, the fact that each pack comes with either 6 or 12 Mega rolls means that it is going to last long.
For some reasons I can’t understand, I have noted that stores like Walmart are not stocking up the White Cloud toilet paper. Your option, therefore, is to order online, which is convenient anyway.
If you don’t mind spending a few more dollars on toilet paper, then the White Cloud toilet paper is one brand you will want to consider.
If it helps, this toilet paper is rated as the best toilet paper by Consumer Reports. They don’t get many things wrong at Consumer Reports; hence, you can take their word for what it is worth.
7. Preference Embossed Toilet Paper
- Preference is now Pacific Blue Select
- DELIVERS the softness, quick absorbency, durability and thickness patrons appreciate
- SAFE for all standard sewer and septic systems
Preference 2-ply embossed toilet paper by GP PRO (Georgia-Pacific) comes in a case containing 80 rolls, with each roll having 550 sheets.
I would consider this a high-end toilet. The manufacturer goes through the pain of wrapping every single roll before being packed in the case. That, to me, is what I would consider professionalism.
The Iris Floral emboss on each sheet not only looks classy but also feels great on the hand and, ultimately, on your rear end. If you are, therefore, looking for a septic-safe toilet paper that does more than just the obvious, then this is the one to go for.
The Georgia-Pacific Preference toilet paper is also compliant with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for recycled fiber content.
Other advantages of these toilet paper are:
- Soft and gentle on the skin.
- Quick absorbency.
- Strength and durability
Again, the reason for the low ranking of this toilet is its cost. The price of the Preference toilet paper is more than most of the other toilet paper in the market and, as such, is not ideal for everyone.
Why a Septic-Safe Toilet Paper Matters
Septic systems are installed in areas without sewer lines and are an effective way of treating home waste naturally. Taking good care of your septic system, which involves using septic-safe toilet paper, will see your system lasting for decades.
If, instead, you decide to do the contrary, you will need to constantly call in plumbers to fix one problem after the other. As you and I both know, plumbers are not exactly cheap.
There are 2 main reasons as to why you should choose a septic-safe toilet paper. These are:
1. To Maintain Healthy Bacteria
Waste inside the septic tank is broken down by bacteria, allowing the sludge to settle down and the effluent to flow out. You must maintain healthy bacteria for optimal performance of the entire system.
Toilet papers that contain chemicals like chlorine and dyes will harm the bacteria, slowing the decomposition process. As such, the effluent will not flow out as fast as it should, which can, in return, result in drain clogs and very expensive repairs.
2. To Prevent Clogs
Toilet paper that does not dissolve and break down easily is not ideal for septic systems. One of the most common problems with such toilet paper is drain clogs.
The clog might happen inside the toilet at the toilet trap or way down in the drainpipe. It is easier to unclog a clogged toilet trap than to dislodge a clogged way inside the drainpipe.
You might not even notice you have a clogged drainpipe until your toilet starts backing up. Backing up happens when the sewage flows back to the toilet or, even worse, to your shower, bathtub, or sink.
The thing with clogged septic drains is that unlike toilets connected to the sewer lines, you cannot use drain cleaners to unclog them as that would be harmful to the bacteria. It, therefore, becomes very expensive to fix them.
The Worst Toilet Paper for Septic Systems
Knowing what type of toilet paper to avoid, especially when you are on a septic system, is vital. Some of these toilet papers are advertised as being the best, but those are just gimmicks. In reality, they are very bad for your plumbing as well as your septic tank.
The following are the worst toilet papers for a septic system:
1. Ultra-Soft Toilet Paper
This will come off as surprising to most people, but the so-called “ultra-soft “toilet papers take longer to break down compared to other toilet papers. What do you think makes them that soft?
The so-called ultra-soft toilet paper also tends to clog drains more than other types of toilet paper. While they definitely feel nice on the body, these toilet papers are not the best for your septic systems.
This is not to say that the roughest toilet paper is the best one for septic tanks. Not at all. You can still get toilet paper with a decent softness that breaks up pretty easily. Such is what you need for your system.
2. Colored Toilet Papers
Colored toilet paper was a hit in the 1960s and the 1970s when all bathrooms were generally very colorful. The use of colored toilet paper has, however, drastically reduced (In the United States), and almost all toilet paper is now all white.
Colored toilet papers are, however, still available in the market. If you are on a septic system, you should definitely never use these toilet papers.
The dyes on colored toilet paper will be very harmful to the bacteria in the septic tank, affecting the overall performance of your septic system.
3. Thick Toilet Paper
Toilet paper roll sheets are either 1-ply, 2-ply or 3-ply. 3-ply toilet sheets are the thickest and probably what you want to avoid for your septic system.
Thick toilet paper takes longer to disintegrate while inside the septic tank than thinner ones. Another disadvantage of thick toilet paper, some of which are glued together, is that they are the most responsible for clogging drains.
Thick toilet paper is, however, not always bad. The essence of thick toilet paper is to make sure that you only use a few sheets. It is also less likely to break up easily in your hand as you use it.
The problem comes about when you use a lot of thick toilet paper, which is what most people do. In contrast, when you have very thin toilet paper, you will be forced to use more sheets folded together, which in reality is not different from thick toilet paper.
Testing for the Best Septic-Safe Toilet Paper
If you are still unsure about the toilet paper to use on your septic system, you can easily test out several brands at home. This method tests the rate at which toilet paper dissolves and disintegrates in water. It simulates a septic tank, only that, in this case, there are no bacteria (lots of them) for a full simulation.
- Buy a roll of each toilet paper brand you want to test.
- Look for a mason jar or any other clear container.
- Put in about four sheets of one toilet paper brand.
- Fill the jar with water up to the ½ full mark.
- Put on the lid and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds.
- Check out the condition of the toilet paper after that. Has it disintegrated into smaller pieces, or is it still intact?
- Repeat the same with the other toilet paper brands
- Compare the results.
Needless to say, the toilet paper that disintegrates/breaks down into small pieces easily/the most is the one you should consider septic-safe. You will at least be sure that it will not clog your pipes and that it will decompose as fast in the septic tank.
This test is, however, not foolproof. If, say, you are testing a 1-ply toilet paper against a 2-ply toilet paper, of course, the 1-ply toilet paper will break down easily/faster.
As you and I both know, you are likely to use more sheets from a 1-ply toilet paper than from a 2 or 3-ply toilet paper. Testing like for like would yield better results.
Apart from the rate at which toilet paper breaks down, there are other things you might want to consider, such as brand, size, raw materials, affordability, comfort, etc.
Best Septic-Safe Toilet Paper Alternative
If you want to stop using toilet paper completely, bidets are the best alternatives. Bidets use water from your toilet supply to help you clean yourself, which I must say is more thorough than toilet paper. They are also great for the sake of the environment.
There are different types of bidets for you to choose from. These are:
- Stand-alone bidets
- Bidet toilets seats
- Bidet attachments
- Hand-held bidet sprayers
- Bidet bottles.
1. Stand-Alone Bidets
Stand-alone bidets are the oldest types of bidets. They look like toilet bowls but without seats. I would, however, not recommend stand-alone bidets since you will need to rip off your floor to install them, which is not cheap at all.
Another disadvantage of stand-alone bidets is that they take up more bathroom space, which is not something most people have in plenty. Washing on a stand-alone bidet is also somehow tedious.
2. Bidet Toilet Seats
Bidet toilet seats are fantastic. They look like ordinary toilet seats but have a nozzle at the back which is used to wash your posterior as well as feminine parts.
There are electric and non-electric bidet toilet seats. Non-electric-bidet toilet seats do not need an electrical power outlet in the bathroom and only offer limited functions like cleansing but not drying. You will, therefore, need a towel for that.
Electric bidet toilet seats are, in my opinion, the best alternative to toilet paper, especially for people on septic systems. They offer more functions such as:
- Warm water cleansing
- Heated toilet seat
- Warm air drying
- Pulsating wash
- Oscillating wash etc.
They are, however, more expensive than non-electric bidet toilet seats. I wrote a detailed review of the best bidet toilet seats a while back. These are the very best bidet seats to consider.
3. Bidet Attachments
Bidet attachments work just like bidet toilet seats but are limited in their functions. They are installed between the bowl and your existing toilet seat.
Bidet attachments have an arm with a dial, which you normally use to control the nozzle positions as well as other functions. They are very budget-friendly since they only cost a fraction of what bidet toilet seats go for.
If a bidet attachment is something that you would consider, check out the Tushy Bidet Attachment. It is my favorite bidet attachment.
4. Hand-held Bidet Sprayer
Hand-held bidet sprayers have a bidet head similar to that of a shower, a bidet hose, and a T-valve. The T-valve is installed at the toilet water shut-off valve to create a junction such that water flows to the tank and also to the bidet head.
When you are ready to clean yourself, you pull a trigger on top of the bidet head to allow water to flow out.
Bidet sprayers are also inexpensive and very practical. You will, however, need to use a towel or toilet paper to dry yourself after cleansing.
I would recommend the Purrfectzone Bidet Sprayer to anyone interested in such.
5. Bidet Bottle
Bidet bottles or portable bottles are simple bidets that comprise a bottle with a nozzle at the top. They are a great alternative to toilet paper, especially for people who are always on the go.
The Brondell GoSpa bidet bottle is a particularly good one.
Finding a septic-safe toilet paper should be a priority for anyone on a septic system if they don’t want to spend big bucks on maintenance. Even after finding the best toilet paper for a septic system, you should always minimize usage to keep your tank and plumbing in healthy condition.
For those looking to get rid of toilet paper, bidet toilet seats are a fantastic alternative. They are comfortable and gentler on the skin, especially if you have conditions like hemorrhoids.