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. Muriel says:

    I have the perfect solution!!! A spray bidet gadget. We just bought one and LOVE it. I did a lot of research beforehand and chose the RinseWorks – Aquaus 360 Hand Held Bidet Sprayer. I like it because it has a dial so you can spray harder or less.

    Its really easy to add to your toilet’s plumbing. Took me 5 minutes or less to install.

    Combine it with a “family towel” and you will use next to no toilet paper!!

    • PJ Pintor says:

      I’m afraid to ask, but what is a “family towel”?

    • Muriel says:

      Actually I am not sure of other people’s definition. I am a bit surprised I used that phrase. I remember our tenant using it (we put the spray bidet in our rental house too and she LOVES it, as do we).

      We have a small towel or facecloth for each person. You only need it to dry yourself.

    • Drawn Dog says:

      We have a bidet installed on every toilet in our home (except for in the master suite where we have a free-standing bidet).

      TBH, the thought that millions of Americans walk around every day earning skid-marks in their drawers makes me vomit in my mouth just a little bit.

      There is nothing better than a fresh, clean butt-hole to start ones day!
      We use Cottonelle to dry with, and throw the paper in a waste basket.

  2. Hi,
    I’m about to purchase Cascades, thanks to this great blog, and wasn’t sure if I should buy the single ply or if the 2 ply Cascades is good at breaking down. Thanks for the help!

  3. Ilo says:

    We are about to begin building our new home which will be on a septic system. Our current 70 year old house has the old style, lots of water type of toilet. Can you recommend a toilet brand or type that will work well with our new septic?

    • Mark says:

      Check out Corona toilets. Made in Australia where they can’t afford to waste water. We own 4 and couldn’t be happier (all on septic)

  4. Suz says:

    YES! Thank you so much for posting this. We are moving into a home that has a septic system. I’ve never had one before and was concerned. Thanks again for this informative post. Now I get to research all of the other features that will affect the septic, low flow toilets, washers etc.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Well good luck with that. :) I’ve actually found (in Canada) the VERY best brand to be Cascades and in the States have heard only good things about Scotts. ~ karen!

  5. Larry says:

    Is this Cascades at Costco rated as single or 2 ply?

  6. Kurt says:

    I understand this article is about TP issues in clog prone plumbing, but septic system advice was erroneous. I recently attended a septic system workshop by Snohomish County, Washington. We were shown the dissolving test but were given opposite results.
    No toilet paper fiber disappears or digests in the tank. The bacteria won’t work on wood fiber fast enough. It must be pumped out of a septic tank every 3 to 5 years. Bigger fibers are better so they form sludge that won’t get out of the tank and clog the drain tiles. All solids accumulate from both the bottom and the top of the tank. Both floating and sinking sludge must be pumped out before they reach the drain which is located between the layers or they will clog the drain field. All septic owners should get literature/web info from a government source, not a web maven, as there are potential fines for breaking rules. This was a shock to me.

    • Karen says:

      Um. A web maven? First of all my post is not about septic tanks. It’s about toilet paper and the resulting effects of different types on sewer lines. So if you want to hurl mini-sized insults, at least insult my actual post, not your perception of my post. ~ karen!

  7. tina says:

    When you did your test did you use cascades standards or the cascade ultra?

  8. Karen says:

    Ahh ..what a shame this ‘Cascades’ isn’t available to buy in the UK, where I live. Unless…. I wonder if it’s available under a different brand name….or does anyone know of a good / as near as alternative out there?? Any?

  9. Cherry Bee says:

    Did the 20-minute glass test on Trader Joe’s tp and it passed nicely. What a relief: hadn’t heard of Cascades & no Costco membership. Thanks for the methodology, Karen.

  10. I buy bamboo toilet paper – brand Caboo. Breaks down faster than Cascades. And is a sustainable product!

  11. Better yet, Bamboo toilet paper. I buy caboo. Takes even less time to break down than Cascades. And is a sustainable product. Can’t get any better than that.

  12. Jennifer Noble says:

    Great story and a very important one too! I think an even bigger problem is those wet ones (so- called disposable wipes) that are clogging up everything big time. Thought you might like to read another great toilet paper story, Who Gives A Crap: Toilet paper that builds toilets. You might have to google Who Gives a Crap, I can’t seem to paste the link here. Haven’t done your test on their paper, but I like the philosophy behind their business.

  13. Stefanie Barrett says:

    For the first time I am proud to say I can see the Cascade toilet paper factory from home on Mud Island, Memphis TN. I have driven by it everyday for 12 years and never tried their product. Your research has changed that.

  14. Deb says:

    Too funny, I was just thinking the last time I was in Costco that I would switch to the Cascades from Kirkland the next time we need toilet paper. Now you’ve given me a good reason to switch! About 5 or 6 years ago we had a plumber in for an (unrelated) water leak, and he gave us good information, like the plush brands of toilet paper create most of the pipe back ups he sees. He told us then to stick to less cuddly paper!

  15. Karen P says:

    Oh man. Thank you for giving us the name of the brand in this post. I went on my own scientific adventure after you “weren’t in a hurry” (LOL) to reveal the name of the toilet paper brand you had success with in your earlier testing. After comparing several brands myself I determined that the Sobey’s house brand called Signal obliterates upon flushing. Just like you said, super cheap and super easy on the plumbing. Win win.

  16. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Great…If I can find that brand…Thanks!

  17. Dagmar says:

    Hmmm toilet paper debate (the return,)
    I wonder whether the great tp debate might have other factors involved. I know that: hard water, soft water, well water, filtered water or even boiled water will have a completely different effect on the way that tp breaks down. And of course, the pressure of the water flowing through the pipes will also change things.
    …I had a friend who lived on an island on Lake Michigan and every time it rained the water level in the lake went up, and boy the flushing in the toilet was much easier.

  18. Donna Boo says:

    So I find it humorous that the pop up ad for this post is a coupon for Charmin.

  19. Sarah says:

    I don’t have a Costco membership, but we use the Target Up & Up brand. I’ll have to complete the same scientific test and report back for fellow US readers who don’t shop at Costco.

    • emma says:

      can you please tell me the results of your test?

      • Sarah says:

        Hi! The Target Up & Up brand performed very well! I don’t remember how long I left it in the glass, but it didn’t take very long at all for it to fall apart. However, they’ve recently changed their product to something that’s a little thicker, and I haven’t redone the test.

      • Karen says:

        Thanks for the input Sarah! ~ karen

  20. Shannon says:

    We have a 50+ year old home with (previous) homeowner bathroom addition…aka not installed properly…and when we use anything but Cascades we have plumbing issues. I just pray that Costco doesn’t stop carrying it!

  21. Debbie says:

    Thank you.

    After having plumbing problems the choice has shifted to best dollar value to best dissolving value.

    Thank you for doing the research for me ☺

    I swear these new toilets are also the worst at actually flushing anything down the first time… I hope this changes with the change in TP.

  22. vicki says:

    what is this “cascades” you speak of??? we’re on the west coast (canada) here and i don’t think i’ve seen it before… will have to seek it out next time i’m out TP shopping!

    • Muff Hackett says:

      I can get Cascades at Overwaitea/Save-on Foods/Nesters stores and at Loblaws based stores as well as London Drugs here in Squamish BC so it should be available somewhere where you are.

      • vicki says:

        Thanks for this Muff Hackett! I must have never looked, but I was at the local grocery store today and saw it. I guess I never paid much attention to TP. :)

      • Camille says:

        I just looked and you can even order Cascades on Amazon!

  23. Jody says:

    I have been, late, very late to the Costco membership bus. I think that is the pickle jar you mentioned earlier this week. I had a membership for a year , but have been debating whether to renew my Costco membership or not. Well I think the scales have been tipped.

  24. Chris says:

    This week a certain drugstore has Cascades on for 9.99 for 24 double rolls (London Drugs) in B.C. They also have the paper towels and tissues on. I live in B.C. so not sure about the rest of the country. Thanks for the research!

  25. terri says:

    They sell Cascades on Amazon! Yay……… in 80 packs even!

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