Can You Flush Tissues Down the Toilet?

Some people think toilet tissue and facial tissue are the same. These are both paper products for the human body meant for one-time use only. However, there’s one significant difference everyone should know.

Unlike toilet paper, facial tissue should NOT be flushed down the toilet. Tissue made for the face doesn’t dissolve quickly in water and can clog a toilet, drain pipes, even the local sewer system. Tissue should be disposed of in the trash rather than flushed.

This article will discuss the physical differences between toilet tissue and facial tissue and why one can be flushed and the other can’t. I’ll also explain what can happen when facial tissue goes down the toilet.

What Can Happen When You Flush Facial Tissues?

When you flush facial tissue, it can get snagged in your plumbing and entrap other substances, leading to a bigger and bigger clog. Modern toilets use less water, possibly leading to more clogging, while pipes in old houses may have more rough areas likely to snag facial tissue.

Eitherway, it can be expensive when you have to call a plumber.

If the tissue gets past your pipes, it can create serious issues for your septic tank or local sewer system. Undissolved paper may cause problems with the separation of liquids and solids in a septic system. Facial tissue can also clog your local sewer lines and the sewage system’s pump stations.

“Sanitary sewer systems are designed to accept things that degrade,” Bill Haws, general manager of Bill Howe Plumbing, stated on KFMB-TV of San Diego. “The facial tissue, it still has some strength left to it, so that will probably become a problem at some point.”

Toilet Tissue vs. Facial Tissue

Toilet tissue and facial tissue are made from pulp, usually wood pulp or recycled paper pulp.

The pulp in toilet tissue is composed of short fibers. The bond between these small wood fibers weakens with exposure to water, causing them to separate. So toilet paper quickly disintegrates into tiny pieces when soaked in water.

This design feature helps prevent pipes, septic tanks, and sewer systems from getting clogged. While it can substitute for facial tissue, toilet paper falls apart when it gets very wet, so it is not great for blowing your nose.

Manufacturers usually add chemical binding agents to facial tissue to ensure it holds together and doesn’t dissolve quickly when wet. This addition allows you to blow your nose or remove makeup without worrying about the tissue falling to pieces.

Because it doesn’t disintegrate when wet, this type of tissue can create clogs if you toss it in the toilet. So put it in your trash instead.

Final Thoughts on Flushing Tissues

It’s best not to flush facial tissue down the toilet because it doesn’t dissolve quickly in water. Flushing this tissue can cause clogs.

Besides pee, poop, and puke, toilet paper is the only thing you should flush. That’s what toilets and sewer systems can handle.

But if you run out of toilet paper and must wipe with facial tissue, remember to dispose of it in the trash, not in your toilet.