Can You Flush Tissues Down the Toilet Bowl?

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Clearing your nose and wiping up messes shouldn’t have anything to do with your toilet, right? It’s kind of true, but here’s a reality check for you — most people throw dirty tissues in the toilet bowl.

It may sound trivial, but can you flush tissues down the toilet? No, you can’t flush tissues. 

They may resemble toilet paper and seem water-soluble, but the truth is that tissues don’t break down so easily. Tissues make a plumbing mess because they don’t dissolve quickly, so you end up with clogs in the toilet.

So what can you do after clogging a toilet? Keep reading to find out!

Can You Flush Tissues Down the Toilet?

You might think that a tissue or paper towel runs smoothly down the drain, but that’s not the case. Unlike human waste and toilet paper, tissues don’t decompose so quickly.

Here are two reasons to avoid flushing tissues and paper towels.

Tissues Form Clogs

When you use and flush tissues, they end up in the toilet trap or further down the line. The problem is that tissues — like flushable wipes and paper towels — often stay in the drains instead of ending up in the sewer system.

That’s because tissues cling onto screws, juts, and folds. Staying there for a long time only helps tissues accumulate additional waste, so they tend to clog pipes. The result is a toilet blockage that prevents water from flowing freely.

Your toilet will stop working, but the real danger is overflowing. If you don’t close the water supply, the toilet bowl will leak, create an awful smell, and ruin your bathroom flooring.

Tissues Dissolve Very Slowly

Unlike toilet paper, tissues consist of strong fiber because their purpose is to survive a moisturized environment. It means that tissues don’t break down in the water, so they clog toilets by adhering to the sides.

If you also throw a flushable wipe and a paper towel, rest assured tissues will soon form a severe clog. If they pass through the pipes and end in the sewer system, tissues will take years to dissolve fully.

What to Do With Used Tissues?

How do you dispose of used tissues if you aren’t supposed to flush them down the toilet? The answer is simple — throw them in the trash can!

It’s the only reasonable and eco-friendly solution. At the same time, it’s the easiest solution because it doesn’t require much work — you don’t waste water and don’t need to press the toilet handle.

Throwing tissues in the trash bin is the correct solution because they are not suitable for recycling or composting. You can do it with paper towels, but not with flushable wipes and tissues.

Can You Use Tissues Instead of Toilet Paper?

Some people think that tissues offer a viable alternative to toilet paper. That’s not the case because tissues are typically smaller than toilet paper and designed for different purposes.

However, don’t let it stop you from using tissues in case of an emergency. If you find yourself in the bathroom without toilet paper, it’s logical to wipe yourself off with tissues. Alternatively, you can also use baby wipes, paper towels, or cloth.

What matters the most is to throw them in the trash after pooping. It sounds awkward, but you can put tissues in a bag and dispose of them in the bin. If you still want to flush tissues, do it one by one.

A single tissue should not harm your toilet, but an entire bundle is likely to form clogs. When you clean yourself, don’t forget to go out and buy some toilet paper.

How to Unclog a Toilet With Tissue Clogs? 

If you are a frequent tissue-flusher, your toilet will clog at one point. You better prepare to react — one of these hacks will help you.

Solution 1: Use an Auger

Our favorite solution is to use a toilet auger to drill through the toilet pipes. It’s a practical tool because it can penetrate deep into the drains to break stubborn blockages. How does it work?

Insert the tool into the toilet and rotate the handle to push it forward. Drill through the blockage until you feel or hear resistance or cracking sounds — move forward until the auger reaches the end.

Then, you can activate the flush system and watch the water disappear swiftly through the outlet.

Solution 2: A Plunger Can Handle It

If you don’t like working with the auger, perhaps you don’t mind using a plunger. It’s an easy-to-use tool that you may already have at home. You have to fill the toilet with water, insert the plunger, cover it with your hand, and push.

When you push the plunger into the bowl, it will create a vacuum that’s strong enough to remove any clog from inside the pipe. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to unclog the toilet, so be patient — you will break the blockage in minutes.

Solution 3: Use Epsom Salt

Most people don’t know that salt serves as a decent clog-breaker. Epsom salt is particularly successful because it contains magnesium, sulfate, and trace minerals.

Here’s how it works – grab a portion of Epsom salt with a plastic cup, and pour it into the toilet. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and you’ll notice how it begins reacting with water in your toilet.

Together with water, Epsom salt can decompose most clogs, including the ones with tissues and paper towels. You can check whether it works by flushing the toilet – if it doesn’t cause an overflow, your bathroom throne is functional again.

Solution 4: Pour a Mix of Vinegar and Baking Soda

If you don’t like the Epsom salt idea, combining vinegar and baking soda is the alternative. Mix one cup of baking soda into half a cup of white vinegar, and pour it into the drain hole.

Don’t flush for 20 minutes — that’s how long it takes for the solution to break tissues and other waste in the toilet pipes. If the clog is not too huge, vinegar and baking soda should help dissolve it.

Solution 5: Call a Professional Plumber

Finally, remember that you don’t have to do things on your own. Calling a plumber is often more convenient because you don’t have the skills or tools to unclog the toilet. The only drawback is the price — a plumber may turn out to be a costly solution.

Other Items That Can Clog Your Toilet

The list of things that can clog your toilet doesn’t end with tissue paper. On the contrary, most items you’re throwing in the toilet can end up blocking it. Here are only a few of them:

The only things that you can flush without worrying about it are poop, urine, and toilet paper. Many toilet seat covers are flushable, but you shouldn’t risk throwing them in the bowl. 

The Bottom Line

The next time someone asks you “can you flush tissues” feel free to say no. It’s bad to flush paper towels and tissues because they pile up and clog the toilet with ease.

If you want to be safe, place dirty tissues in the garbage basket. Prevention is always better — it protects your toilet and saves you from doing the dirty work!


What happens when you flush tissues?

When you flush tissues down the toilet, they start piling up. They soon form clogs and prevent water from draining. That’s why you should only flush human waste and toilet paper.

How many tissues can you flush?

If you have to flush tissues down the toilet, don’t throw more than one per flush. It’s not good for your plumbing system, but it’s better than flushing tissues in larger chunks.

Are Kleenex tissues flushable?

No, Kleenex tissues aren’t flushable. Like others, Kleenex tissues don’t dissolve easily, and they don’t run smoothly through the drainage system. The right way to dispose of tissues is to put them in the trash can.

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