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.

If it turns out that you need a new toilet you should still use the paper I’m recommending here to prevent further problems. ALSO you can install your own toilet. It’s surprisingly easy.


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. Bill Hergenroeder says:

    Thanks you: “art of…” Your testing and research of toilet papers was right on. She loved that Charmin and used a lot of it. We are making changes about that problem. This is a 75 y.o. rancher. All modern PVC in the house and to the street. YET, there is a 20 foot length of old cast iron between house and street. This cast iron is prob. old and can “snag.”
    4 prof. clean outs here the past year= $ 1, 400. Our lines were camered with not strong evidence of problems. We are lucky to have a half bath toilet that does NOT pass the cast iron to the street. In summary, YES too much, wrong toilet paper was one of our problems.
    Thank you. Change TP, and flush with LOTS of water. Bill H.

  2. fran kaspe says:

    Thanks for an interesting post. I’m a user of Walgreens BIG ROLL. 1-PLY x 1,000 sheets per roll. A roll lasts me 2-3 weeks, not counting any diarrhea bouts.

    It’s now April 2020.

    Once this china virus “TP SHORTAGE” blows over, the pandemic has subsided, and stores get restocked, I plan to try a 2020 version of this test.

    It will definitely have Walgreens BIG ROLL (10 ROLLS/$5.00) as a test subject.
    I’ve happily used it for over a decade. With 1,000 sheets per roll, you could use
    “20 sheets-per-wipe” and get “50 wipes per roll”. [my Charmin ultra was 175 sheets-per-roll, which equals “17 wipes-per-roll” IF you use 10 sheets-per-wipe. CHARMIN GIVES LESS THAN HALF THE NUMBER OF WIPES PER ROLL.

    SUBJECTIVE** testing depends upon:
    1. sq inches of your buttocks area needing to be wiped
    2. how many squares of paper you need in order to avoid BUTT JUICE on YOUR FINGERS!
    3. are your kids just wiping clean and calling it good OR
    ARE THEY TRYING TO “BUFF & SHINE their hind sides.
    [whenever we start running low I tell the kids,”you only need to wipe-it-clean”. Stop trying to “BUFF & POLISH YOUR HINDSIDE TO A HIGH GLOSS, SHOW ROOM FINISH”.

  3. fran says:

    It could be worse. Had a friend had inherited an old, turn of the century farm and farmhouse. They had an OUTHOUSE! To wipe their hindside was a pile of corn cobs! I’m sure we all heard these stories about “my great grandparents used an outhouse and wiped with corn cobs”. For guest’s use of the outhouse, they had sears and JC penny catalog pages. Ah…the good out days. Except when 20 degrees outside and your hindside froze to the seat………….

  4. Peter says:

    I copied the link to the FB page for the private campground I’m at. Useful info.

  5. Karen Serach says:

    Thank you for this article. Use of recycled paper toilet paper products should be encouraged not only for your plumbing, but because Canadian boreal forests are being cut down to supply the US paper product industry. Also, thank you for encouraging women to be handy and self-sufficient.

  6. Lisa says:

    I’m sad that the environment hasn’t factored into these decisions. I’ve been buying toilet made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Why kill another tree to wipe our butts?

    • Karen says:

      Well that’s just because this post isn’t about the best toilet paper for the environment, it’s about the best toilet paper for your septic system. ~ karen!

  7. Leslie Russell says:

    I have a great suggestion for people with a septic system. I had horrible problems with my toilet stopping up every time you looked at it funny. I had a plumber out too, and he told me I just needed a new toilet. I happened to see Rid X when I was at the store looking for something else. It’s for septic systems – special bacteria and enzymes that eat the gunk. Sure as shootin that toilet now has a powerful flush! I use it once a month and I’ve never had a problem since. And I did think of the toilet paper all by myself and switched brands:)

  8. Glenda Shine says:

    My family are‘Campers”. As we have graduated with age to using an RV, thank goodness. The concept you are using applies to toilet paper used in an RV, it must break down. It seems to be more expensive but that may be where we have purchased it. I think it may be worth my effort to look into the best usage and the best breakdown and find the most affordable cost to use this type of paper if we are home or out in the wilderness!

  9. Kat says:

    I don’t know about other places in the states, but here Scott’s has SPLINTERS in it. O.O

    We ended up using Angel soft (One of the better ones according to Consumer Reports), after many nightmares with our septic system.

    Unfortunately, not before youngest sister lost her hair. :(

    Long story, involving lots of hair bleach, the septic overflowing in her bathroom from the toilet and bathtub, and lots of horror. When she finally got to rinse her hair, it all came off. Oy. :(

  10. Susan Warder says:

    I am so happy to see this post. In addition to giving plumbing systems a break, more importantly, it gives forests (especially Canadian forest) a much bigger break .

  11. Robyn says:

    Yes, recycled toilet paper!!! Not only are you saving your septic system, you are saving trees and therefore the world! Great post! Thank you!💚

  12. LeeAnne Bloye says:

    GREAT post Karen!
    Super subject but the writing and wit outweigh it. Thoroughly entertaining and informative. Five gold stars for you!

  13. Generally the least expensive store brand dissolves the best, so don’t get hung up on Cascades brand, and ordering on Amazon??? Isn’t Bezos rich enough as it is?? If you have a toilet that doesn’t flush well it’s the toilet – not the smaller water tank. The least expensive Toto brand toilet flushes very, very well. Toto, Toto, Toto!

  14. Susan R says:

    With a septic system and being well into menopause – which basically means I have to pee about every 15 minutes … I started just putting my toilet paper (as long as it wasn’t dirty — you know what I mean) in the garbage can. Then I just burn it. I just couldn’t see that flushing that much toilet paper on a daily basis was going to do my septic system any favours. My parents made the whole family do that back in the 1960s – could they have been right? Impossible!

  15. billy sharpstick says:

    I never understood why 6 sheets of 1-ply is better than 3 sheets of 2-ply. I figure they’re the same after getting soaked.
    We aren’t really that concerned about what TP we use. We do like most other countries and put it in the trash instead of flushing. With the bidet, it isn’t near as dirty as otherwise. You’re just blotting moisture. I don’t know why they aren’t used here like everywhere else. I think I heard that WWII GIs in Europe saw prostitutes using them and got a negative impression of them. Who knows, but whenever I mention bidets, people think they are disgusting.
    TP should not be flushed, no matter how “flushable” it is. Those fibers might fall apart, but you’re still putting cellulose fibers in the septic tank.
    Another no-no for septic systems are garbage disposals. They grind up the food enough to flush into the tank, but that is way too much organic debris for those poor overworked microbes. Just put a screen on the drain and dump it into your compost when it fills up.
    Same for greasy stuff. After you fry food, soak up as much grease as you can with paper towels and throw that in the trash. Then use soap to emulsify the remaining grease.
    I speak from experience. We just had our tank pumped for the second time in two years and a new drain field is scheduled for next month. About $4k total. And we DO all those things right!

  16. Elizabeth says:

    After reading this post about a year ago, I decided our family needed to revisit our TP choices. We have septic, so that’s not something we want to mess with, and my Little also tends to overuse on a regular basis. We couldn’t find some of the Canadian brands in the US, but we still found plenty to test. After trying a number of recycled, bamboo, and RV papers, some of which were pretty good, I finally tried Who Gives a Crap. Their recycled paper was hands-down the best! Thanks for the amusing (yet necessary!) post, and the entertainment provided as my amused family tolerantly rolled their eyes at each new brand and disintegration test.

  17. Tricia Rose says:

    Toto Washlet, a cheap and easy fix, and a 24 pack of white cotton wash cloths from Costco, easy to wash and bleach. A big pack of toilet paper (for guests mainly) lasts over a year, but more to the point, you always feel clean.
    I have a sewage pump, and post-washlet seem to need far less maintenance.

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