More than one in five households in the U.S., or 60 million people, depend on septic systems to treat their wastewater from household plumbing fixtures, including toilets, showers, and laundry facilities. That’s according to the Environment Protection Agency.
New England states have the most homes served by septic systems; about half of the homes in New Hampshire and Maine have septic systems.
If you live in a home that’s served by a septic system, you may be wondering if you’re using the right kind of toilet paper. Let’s look at what you should be using.
Think dissolvable over soft
Who doesn’t like nice, soft toilet paper? We hear you! The problem is, that kind takes a lot longer to break down, and if you have a septic system, you want toilet paper that dissolves easily. Toilet paper that doesn’t dissolve easily can lead to clogs, which nobody wants!
When shopping for toilet paper, look for a label that indicates it’s biodegradable. This type is usually not thick or soft, and it can also be pricey. But it does dissolve more quickly in a septic system.
Another type of toilet paper to keep an eye out for is the recycled kind. Eco friendly recycled toilet paper is generally made of “post-consumer” recycled content, usually previously used paper products. It dissolves easily because it’s typically made of shorter fibers that easily break up, instead of the longer fibers found in brand new toilet paper.
One-ply or two-ply?
You can safely use either one-ply or two-ply types of toilet paper if you have a septic system. Of the two, one-ply is obviously thinner and more easily dissolvable, but two-ply will also be OK (plus, it’s more comfortable to use!)
Test how safe your toilet paper is for your septic system
If you’re still not sure if your toilet paper is septic safe, there’s an easy test you can do!
Fill a lidded container with water. Then pull out a few squares of toilet paper and place them in the water. Screw the lid on tightly, and shake it up for 10 or 15 seconds.
Then, check to see if the toilet paper has broken apart into pieces. If it has, you can feel confident that it won’t be harmful to your septic systems.