The Only Toilet Paper You Should Ever Buy!

If you’re having any sort of plumbing problems the first thing you need to look at is the kind of toilet paper you’re buying. Switching toilet paper brands is the secret  to resolving clogged pipes that most plumbers know about – *but don’t tell you*. 


In today’s political climate it’s easy to pinpoint the differences between all of us.  Fundamentally though, we’re all the same in the most important ways. We love our family, we strive to be good and we have all watched, frozen in place, as the toilet water starts rise instead of sink after flushing a big one. 

Nothing can set you into fight or flight mode like a blob of poo slowly lifting higher and higher toward the rim of the toilet bowl. 

How does a dignified person prevent this sort of thing from happening?  By being aware of a couple of tips.

2 things that can cause toilet backup.

  • Using the wrong toilet paper
  • Using an older model of a low flow toilet.

Toilet Paper

So let’s talk about the toilet paper. Because everyone likes to talk about toilet paper right?  If you’re an especially fancy speaker I’m talking about toilet tissue or bathroom tissue. 

The most important quality for your toilet paper isn’t if it has lotion, is thick, is soft, or is on sale. The MOST important thing is …

Does your toilet paper dissolve?

Toilet paper that doesn’t dissolve just sits in a clump in your plumbing.  And if it gets caught on something like a jagged edge or corner in your pipes it will stay there for a longggg time, allowing more and more paper to get stuck and caught on it, creating, eventually a big mass of undissolved toilet paper blocking your sewer line.

And then one day you’ll flush the toilet and instead of the water in the toilet bowl going down, it will start to move UP.  Towards you. As you stare in horror, desperately trying to remember what to do (turn the water supply to the toilet off immediately) you’ll wonder why, WHYYYYYYYY is this happening to YOU?

It’s happening because your toilet paper doesn’t dissolve in the pipes. At least that’s the likely culprit.


They don’t dissolve and will eventually cause a clog. 

The Toilet Paper Test.

 I tested 5 various brands of popular toilet papers like Charmin, Cottonelle, Kirkland brand (from Costco) as well as lesser known brands like cheap store brand toilet papers and Cascades.


To run the test I put 2 sheets of each toilet paper into its own clear glass vessel and then added 2 cups of water to each.


20 minutes later I stirred each one vigorously to see how well they had broken down.



The Toilet Paper Test Results.

After sitting in water for 20 minutes and then being stirred vigorously to replicate flying down plumbing pipes, only ONE type of paper dissolved.

The Cascades brand toilet paper for the win. ✔️

All of the other toilet papers including Charmin, Cottonelle and Kirkland brand failed the test. Some of them were particularly stubborn and didn’t dissolve at all while others just didn’t dissolve completely.

Why is this?

More than the brand, in this case Cascades, the reason for a toilet paper dissolving well is behind how the toilet paper is made and what it’s made of.  Cascades is made with recycled paper.

Any toilet paper made with 100% recycled paper will dissolve almost completely. It is the best toilet paper to use.

Instead of being made up of long, strong fibres, recycled paper has short fibres that easily break apart into short little pieces.

The tinier the pieces are, the less likely they are to get caught on the edges, rough spots or corners in your plumbing. No getting caught means no clogging means no running from the bathroom being chased by a lava-like flow of poo.

What exactly is recycled toilet paper made of?

Recycled toilet paper isn’t made up of used toilet paper. It’s made up of post consumer recycled content (PCR).  The bad part of that is the fact that this includes papers that  have BPA in them. 

Things like credit card printouts and lottery tickets are made with paper that has BPA. Those things are then added to the other papers that consumers recycle (like cardboard) and end up getting BPA  into the recycled paper.

HOWEVER the amount of BPA is minimal (we’re talking parts per billion) and if you’re going to weigh pros and cons, the pros of using recycled toilet paper far outweigh the cons. The BPA in recycled paper is insignificant compared to what we come into contact with on a daily basis.

Take a look at some of the results of the toilet paper test.

From left to right:

Charmin Ultra Soft looked like a standard premium toilet paper.  Its packaging claimed that it’s a “no plunger” toilet paper.  Meaning it won’t clog your pipes.  Presumably that means it will dissolve easily. It did dissolve better than other premium brands, but it still didn’t dissolve entirely.

Cheap Store brands can break down but sometimes it’s just because they’re very thin, 1 or 2 ply papers. People are in love with their bums, so nobody wants to sacrifice bum chaffing for healthy plumbinb pipes.  Even worse, 1 ply can tear apart WHILE you’re using it.

Cottonelle with Aloe and Ripples was the thickest, most premium brand and it did NOT dissolve at all.  This paper would clog your pipe in days if you already have trouble with old, rusty pipes. It’s no wonder; the Cottonelle looked more like a blanket than toilet paper. 



Kirkland Brand toilet paper (above) remained completely intact after sitting in water for 20 minutes but it dissolved fairly well after whirring it around with a spoon.

Cascades (the 100% recycled fibre) toilet paper had started to dissolve just from sitting in water (as shown in the photo below) with no agitation.  After agitating there were no pieces larger than a dime left.



Buy toilet paper that says it’s made from 100% recycled material.  No matter the brand, it should dissolve completely in your pipes. 

If you  have real trouble with your plumbing backing up or clogging, do a test yourself with any new toilet paper.

Testing Toilet Paper.

  1. Rip 2 sheets off and place them in a jar.
  2. Add 2 cups of water and wait 20 minutes.
  3. Stir the jar.  If the paper has dissolved with no large pieces it won’t clog your pipes.

Extra Tips

  • Obviously if you have a septic system, THIS is the kind of paper you should be buying as well.
  • The amount of toilet paper you use isn’t the issue. Even if you limit yourself to 3 squares a day, if you’re using a paper like Cottonelle that doesn’t dissolve at all, it’s going to build up over time and clog.
  • If your toilet is a low flow toilet from when they were first introduced, pay attention to it. If it doesn’t seem to be flushing well it probably isn’t. Replace it with a newer model that has a higher MaP (Maximum performance rating). You can click here to read about MaPs.
  • If you notice your toilet bubbling when you’re having a shower YOU ARE IN EMERGENCY MODE. You are only a couple of flushes away from your toilet, bathtub or sink filling with backed up crap. Get your pipes snaked by a plumber IMMEDIATELY if  you notice this happens.

Do NOT be afraid to install a new toilet. I’ve done it a few times. Granted, I’m a handy kind of person but almost anyone can install a toilet.

If you have the strength to lift it, everything else is a breeze. I’ve done a whole easy to follow step-by-step tutorial with video on how to remove and install a new toilet.

The toilet I installed is an American Standard Studio with a MaP of over 1,000 and it has enough suctioning power that if you flush it while sitting down, it could turn your belly button from an outie into an innie.

I hope this information helps you at some point in your life. Speaking as someone who has lived through the horrors of a plugged toilet and thousands of dollars in sewer line repairs I would like to save you from what I went through.  

This kind of information can save lives.

Or at least wallets and bathroom floors.

And maybe lives, actually.  I’m sure there’s a person out there who has had a heart attack after seeing the $10,000 estimate for replacing their sewer lines.  When really … all they needed to do was buy better, dissolvable toilet paper. 

Several years ago I paid thousands of dollars to replace my sewer lines. A year later my toilet backed up AGAIN.  

No one told me this by the way. Not one of the several contractors, plumbers or sewer line repair people that came to my house during a year long fiasco with my plumbing EVER mentioned that it could just be my toilet or my toilet paper.

Until one guy. After visiting my house for the third time he told me to switch toilet paper. He could see it hadn’t dissolved and had hooked onto the rough surface of the old sewer pipes. He also told me to get a better toilet with more flushing power.

If he had told me that during his first visit I would have saved thousands and thousands of dollars.

I guess the turd time’s a charm.

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The Only Toilet Paper You Should Ever Buy!


  1. Ev Wilcox says:

    Just found Cascades on Amazon for $31.00 for 48 rolls, Prime shipping. So those of us in America can get it. The problem with some tissue is if it is thin you use a lot more to accomplish your objective! Yes, it may dissolve better, but you will pay for that feature. I will contemplate trying the Cascade brand, but I don’t think the others in this house will be too accepting.
    On another note-how is your cat that had all the dental work doing? My friend also had to have most of her cat’s teeth extracted. Thanks Karen. Oh, and indeed your TP is hanging correctly! Yay!

    • Shannon says:

      We have been using it for a few years and no one complains. I don’t find that I use any more than thicker, non-recycled TP

  2. Catherine says:

    You have inspired me to put one square of my toilet paper in a wine glass. It broke down only after stirring. So Cascade it is on the next trip to the grocery store.

    • Karen says:

      As long as it completely breaks down you’re O.K. Catherine. (without going crazy with the stirring) You just want to make sure once it flushes that it dissolves to the point where it can’t get caught on things like tree roots or rough spots in the pipes. Cause that’s what causes clogging. ~ karen!

  3. Jan says:

    Holy horses……..where did you get that timer/watch!? I have been looking everywhere for one that would remind me,while in the garden, that something is cooking in the kitchen. Really don’t want to burn down my house….hate when that happens. Oh, and I am testing the tp right now.

  4. Catherine Vosper says:

    And which one leaves the least amount of little “toilet paper pills” in yur bits?

  5. Mary Robinsin says:

    What good news. We have always used Cascades because it is a recycled product, but also because they are a very responsible company and very generous to the community.

  6. Wyldecent says:

    Good to know but I wonder what is the best for those of us who use toliet paper with recycled content? There’s a new project for you :-)

    • Karen says:

      You’re a skimmer aren’t you Wyldecent? :) …. “But the Cascades toilet paper dissolved to almost nothing after a few stirs.

      Because it’s made from 100% recycled fibres, those fibres are very short and they break apart into short little pieces as the toilet paper dissolves. This is a good thing. The tinier the pieces are the less likely they are to get caught on the edges or rough spots or corners in your plumbing making clogs almost impossible.” ~ karen!

  7. Suzanne R says:


  8. Maureen Locke says:

    No Cascades in NS, or none that I’ve ever seen. I even had to google it to see what it looked like. Nope, never seen it. Second choice??

  9. ronda says:

    my local movie theatre even has Cascades in the washrooms!

  10. MichelleR says:

    I’ve been using Cascades for a few years because it was a recycled product.

  11. Carla says:

    I don’t have a septic system but my 1956 fixer upper had the original sewer pipe and I think they were made of clay. . .anyway by 2013 it had managed to collapse, maybe due to age or material or tree roots. Yes it was close to $10,000 plus they absolutely ruined a big chunk of my front yard digging a whole so big it looked like I was installing a swimming pool. During the time of the great back up I was told to use Scott’s one ply tissue.

  12. Mandy says:

    Relieved!!!stupid iPad!

  13. Mandy says:

    More importantly I am relived that your roll is hanging the right way!

  14. Anne says:

    Cascades it is for me! Waiting for the final verdict, thank you. Not sure how blogs work, but would like you to know that I have bought the Netfear Router, several Blue Q items and a Rough Linen Valentine Pinnafore because of you. Not once was I asked who referred me.
    Love all I got, have to say, when the Pinnafore was all said and done, it was close to $200!! An expensive apron. Good thing is that I love it and will justify the decision.

    • Karen says:

      Why did the pinafore end up being so much Anne?! Was it because of the exchange (stupid, stupid exchange) or were you hit with some crazy broker fees? ~ karen!

      • Anne says:

        It was the exchange and a $25 broker fee to get it across the border to BC! Like I said, I love it, so I’ve justified it completely. Just couldn’t do that on a regular basis. Still drooling over the comforter covers, maybe when our dollar gets a bit better.

  15. Sharon says:

    My farmer husband retired, we bought an old house in town to renovate for a project. Rented out the farm ( 20 miles from town, it’s a septic system.) So the renters came to us and said they were moving out. Fine. We go out to the farm to see what’s what and find that we are now going to pay $5500 for a whole new system, something called a “lift station”…not to mention no water to the house. The basement floor has been stripped of it’s carpet over tile, too. We think it backed up on them – never thought about telling them what tp to use – and in an effort for us to not know…they just disappeared. :( I will say in the 30+ years he lived there, and the 5 I lived there after our marriage, we never had a problem – but of course we were careful with the tp useage and pumped the system regularly. Grrr! Next time I’m putting something in the rental contract!!

  16. Holly says:

    Karen is doing a great service by pushing so hard on this subject. My house is 18 years old. The plumbing contractor put two 90 degree angles in the sewer service line from the house to the street. (Instead of running it straight out!) Plus it has a dip in the line. I found this out when I had a sewer backup. On top of that, I had tree roots that had infiltrated the joints where the angles are. When he TV’d the line, he showed me, and there was toilet paper hung up in all the roots. I have to have it TV’d yearly, rotor-rootered out, and then a foam application that seeps into the tips of roots and keeps them from coming back as thick. $500 pop each time. He has warned me that if the joints go, I’m looking at ten grand. I am considering renting my house out and was just talking to my sister saying “how in hell am I going to mandate that the renters use a certain type of toilet paper?!.” Listen up, you don’t want it to happen to you.

  17. Lindy says:

    Can I come to the Awards Ceremony with you? Special award for public service to plumbing. It’s marvy. And not only the results (no such products here in la France Profonde, helas) but the photography. I want to buy some of those fab jars, set up the tripod and position my loo paper in bright natural light and see if I can get such luminosity.

  18. Nicole says:

    So what is to become of the other 47.99 rolls of Kirkland toilet paper?

  19. Dana says:

    My husband is sick to death of me monitoring his tp usage. As I suspected, we (he) use more than the national average for a family of 3. We buy the cheapest generic Great Value brand.

  20. Lynn says:

    Your post came hours late for me. I went to Costco this morning and bought Kirkland brand….. I’ll look for Cascade next time I’m there.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Since I read your first post on the toilet paper debate, my bathroom experiences have not been the same! I count blocks of toilet paper, check whether I am “rolling or folding”, read the ‘ingredients’ on packs of toilet paper in the supermarket (made from recycled paper / number of sheets per roll etc.), and so on, and so on… All I need is a purple hat and people will then KNOW I have gone crazy! :)

    • Teresa J says:

      You are not the only one, I have been doing the same thing!!!! And now it is Cascades for me! I am from BC and the commercials are on tv for it so I will definitely make a point of picking it up. Maybe Cascades could send Karen a thank you royalty!!! hint hint Cascades mgt!!!

  22. tracie says:

    Well, it may just be me, but I’m thinking it’s been too long between diy/craft posts…:)

    • whitequeen96 says:

      LOL! I remember the days when I thought about what mascara to wear or talked about international politics. And now it’s come to this! :)

      • Karen says:

        Oh! If that’s what you want to know ,L’Oreal Voluminous. ;) ~ karen!

      • Emma says:

        That is the BEST mascara!!

      • tracie says:

        Good to know, I’ll give that one a try. I keep getting clumpy ones no matter which one I go for. And sorry for my grumpy comment, lack of sleep is what I’m going with. That and menopause… :(

      • Linda says:

        For once I’m doing something right. Yay for me?

      • nancy says:

        What ever mascara you use, I discovered a fabulous and important thing. Tweezerman ilash folding mascara comb. Just when you decide you really do love and trust your mascara, it globs all up. So, you comb your globs and life is ok again.

  23. Bobbles says:

    I though the entire theory was that the higher percentage of recycled fibers, the less absorbent and soft it would be. When I was doing purchasing for a janitorial service, I could tell the TP with more recycled fibers because it felt like waxed paper. Cottonelle has been my favorite because it’s soft on my bum. Also my poor nether regions had an issue with Kirkland TP. It gave me a rash. I have an autoimmune disease so I am careful (and sensitive). I didn’t explore possible Kirkland potential after the single outbreak because…well, just because.

    • Dagmar says:

      Oh Bobbles. I certainly hope you understand that each one of us is different, and had I had a rash or a bad experience-I would never had suggested the brand. ? It has worked for our family for as long as I can remember.

      • Bobbles says:

        Oh, absolutely! But last night I really rethought my use of Cottonelle. I’m going to get some other tissue and try them. Both solubility and rash-ability! I’d hate to be clogging up pipes when there’s another option.

  24. Kathy Hartzell says:

    Your column is making my day, maybe my week, my year, my life? I’m president of a public sanitation agency so I know about what happens in those pipes. And, I happen to have one house with a septic tank.
    So, now, I’ve got to find Cascades here in California. Good luck with that, she says!!!

    P.S. if you want to do yourself and the planet another favor – tell you readers never, ever, ever to flush “wipes” down the loo – not even those that say flushable. They lie. The wipes and the manufacturers…the wipes lie in the pipes, they clog the pipes. They cause huge sewer overflows and worse. The companies lie when they say they are flushable. Yeah, they flush. But then they don’t go where they are supposed to…..and don’t break down. So, enjoy my little homonymous humor, oh, I mean humour, and NEVER flush a wipe!!!

    • Mary W says:

      YEA! I told my daughter-in-law to stop using them in my toilet but she insisted the ad said flushable. Yeah, flushable for one foot of plumbing. Then not so much. She finally relented but my two grandsons think I’m a moron now. (Maybe that was her ultimate goal.) Anyway, she does the same with feminine products that say they are flushable. Ask the school janitors – they all say they clean clogs ALL THE TIME and post notices on each stall but no one pays any attention and they continue to unclog toilets with tampons in them. Someone aught to sue the manufacturers that advertise this under consumer truth in advertising. Maybe that would teach them a lesson. Class action – the lawyer could retire off it. Or go into the plumbing business which probably pays more since no one pays attention to stuff like that – only presidential candidate moronishness. Maybe we could get one of the loosing candidates to make a little skit for You Tube showing what happens when you flush unflushables. Priceless.

    • Karen says:

      This is true Kathy. :) It’s like flushing a piece of a tee shirt. It flushes but … that’s about it. ~ karen!

    • Carolyn Cowan says:

      We are renting out our home to a young couple who will purchase it next year.Her first month there, she clogged our septic with “flushable” wipes.We had to dish out the cashola for the septic guy who had to come and suction it out.We have a compost toilet where we are living off grid(not as gross as it sounds).I am going to drive to Canada if I have to to find this brand because someday, in my wildest dreams, I will have a leach field again.Compost toilets are simply too much work(although I am proud of the water we are saving).BTW Karen, you owe me new sheets because I was reading this post in bed, enjoying a cup of coffee and you are so funny that coffee came out my nose from laughing so hard.

      • Karen says:

        Hmm. I maybe can’t buy new sheets but a bottle of Oxyclean I might be able to handle. ~ karen!

      • Ashley says:

        Scott tissue works EXTREMELY well. It’s a tad more expensive, but not as expensive as a trip to Canada haha

    • Ashley says:

      Scott tissue is the way to go in the US.

  25. Paula says:

    Perfect as we have a septic; a very old septic. Thanks!

    • Michelle Mazzei says:

      Which type of Cascades is the best.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Michelle. They’ve changed their formulation in the past couple of years and added new products. Just make sure what you buy is the “Enviro”. I believe the last stuff I bought was the Cascades “Fluff” enviro. They also have “Tuff” Enviro. I retested the product and they still disintegrate like the original. The colour for the Enviro Cascades products are green. Hope that helps. ~ karen!

      • Susan says:

        Thanks Karen! I have a 110 year old house with cast iron pipes and well, you know…….ugh.

        I love your blog!

      • Karen says:

        Thanks Susan! Good luck with your pipes. ~ karen!

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