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Safe and Unsafe Toilet Paper Alternatives

Safe and Unsafe Toilet Paper Alternatives

Many people have been buying exorbitant amounts of toilet paper and some stores have been running out during the COVID-19 pandemic. With toilet paper becoming a rare commodity, a lot of people are searching for alternatives. Sadly, not all of these alternatives are safe for your sewer system. In fact, the lot of these alternatives can threaten your pipes, causing clogs and backups. So, which of the toilet paper alternatives are safe and which should not be flushed down your toilet? Here are several things that people have been considering when they have no toilet paper left.

Wet Wipes, Baby Wipes, & Lysol Wipes

These wipes are wonderful for cleaning and sanitizing but are potential nightmares for your plumbing system. Even if the package says “flushable”, most experts advise against attempting to flush these down your toilet. This is because most of these wipes simply do not break down fast enough. If you must use these wipes, then toss them into a garbage bin after use. Do NOT flush them.

Paper Towels

Yes, paper towels and toilet paper both have “paper” in their names, but they are not interchangeable. Paper towels are made with a tighter and heavier weave. This dense weave makes it so that they do not disintegrate so quickly when you are wiping down surfaces or objects. It is for this same reason that they should not go down your toilet. These paper towels can get stuck somewhere down the line and cause a blockage, giving you bigger problems than not having toilet paper.


Napkins are similar to paper towels, granted napkins are less durable than paper towels. Still, napkins do not break down as fast as toilet paper and can give you the same problems as paper toilets. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we have gotten many calls about backed up toilets from customers who have flushed paper towels and napkins. Again, if you MUST use these options, then please throw them into a garbage bin or plastic bag after use – do NOT flush them down your toilet.


Tissues might be the lesser evil and, though they are not ideal, they can be flushed if you are careful. Obviously, you do not want to flush large amounts of them at a time. If you are careful and flush a couple of them, then you should be fine. Remember, tissues were not designed to be flushed down the toilet. If you are going to be using a lot of them, then consider throwing used ones in the trash instead of the toilet.


Bidet sales have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on toilet paper supply. A bidet is a bowl or receptacle designed to be sat on for washing your anus and genitalia. They basically spray water onto those areas that need to be cleaned after using the toilet. These are hygienic alternatives to even toilet paper, though most people use them as a complement. Modern varieties include a plumbed-in water supply in your toilet. 

If you have any questions or concerns, then feel free to call the professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing, your local plumber with years of experience, licensed plumbers, and friendly staff!