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What toilet paper should I use for septic tanks?

Updated April 07, 2017

Ordinary toilet tissue does no harm to a septic system. When the system and the drain field are functioning properly, toilet tissue is kept in the septic tank by the septic tank baffles. Certain types of toilet tissue, however, are more conducive to the health of your septic system than others. Find out what the best type of toilet tissue is and why.

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Biodegradable paper

All toilet paper is biodegradable, but special biodegradable papers are available. Biodegradable toilet paper dissolves quickly, requiring less water than standard toilet paper. This is ideal for situations where a chemical toilet is being used, such as on a boat or in an caravan. For an ordinary home with a standard septic field, this paper is an ideal choice since it clears the toilet system quickly and breaks down the fastest; however, the content of biodegradable toilet paper makes it less strong and more abrasive than other toilet tissues.

Recycled paper

Recycled paper is an option that has become increasingly available to homeowners. This toilet tissue is made from no virgin wood pulp, conserving forests. Since recycled toilet paper contains less chlorine bleach than standard toilet tissues, this type of paper is a good choice for maintaining the health of a septic system and for groundwater supplies. The lighter volume of this tissue means fewer septic system pump sessions are needed to maintain the tank, extending the life of your septic system.

Cushioned paper

Many cushioned toilet paper brands are marketed for their comfort, but these choices are less than ideal for a septic system and for the environment. Cushioned paper contains virgin wood pulp. The cellulose fibres in this type of paper break down more slowly. In turn, this increases the volume of waste in your septic tank more quickly, leading to both clogs and extra pumping. Softening additives and bleach contaminate groundwater supplies, making these papers less than ideal for a septic owner.

Conclusion

The best toilet tissues for a septic system break down quickly with little water. Since biodegradable papers can be expensive or difficult to obtain on a regular basis, try supermarket own-brands to see what papers provide a balance of comfort and fast breakdown. Finding the right paper extends the life of your tank and saves you money on maintenance.

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About the Author

Gwen Wark is a freelance writer working from London, Dublin, and New York. She has been a published writer since 1998 with works appearing in both university and local publications. Her current writing projects include SEO, web copy, print and advertising features. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in history from Rutgers University.

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