If you want to dissolve toilet paper that is clogging your sewer line, use a chemical sewer line additive that breaks down toilet paper. However, before resorting to this tactic it is best to try to unclog the line using a standard plunger. If that doesn’t work, using a toilet snake or auger to unclog the toilet is the most effective method.
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Why Do Toilet Paper Clogs Form in Sewer Lines?
Toilet paper is designed to break down in water, specifically to prevent clogs. However, if too much toilet paper is used, it can form a mass in your sewer pipes that resists dissolving. In most cases though, the clog is caused by items in the sewer line that should not have been flushed to begin with.
- Toilet paper clogs are caused by attempting to flush too much toilet paper at once.
- Because toilet paper is designed to break down in water, most clogs are caused by materials other than toilet paper.
- In order to prevent clogs, do not flush anything other than human waste or toilet paper.
Avoid flushing paper towels, facial tissues, Q-Tips, wet wipes, diapers, and other materials down your toilet. Your sewer system is designed to handle human waste and toilet paper only. Any other item that is flushed can result in a clog. Even worse, a clog that isn’t caused by toilet paper won’t dissolve no matter what you do. You’ll have to snake the line or call a plumber to get it unclogged.
3 Methods to Remove or Dissolve Toilet Paper Clogs
A clogged sewer line due to excess toilet paper can often be solved yourself. The following methods are the best ways to dissolve toilet paper or unclog a line. To prepare to unclog the line, clear your workspace, assemble your tools, and wear protective gloves.
Dissolve Toilet Paper with a Chemical Additive
Products that are safe for sewer lines and designed to dissolve toilet paper are often sold as septic tank additives. If you are facing a sewer line clog caused by an excess of toilet paper, these products can be a lifesaver. Simply follow the directions on the packaging to add the chemical powder to the water and flush it to dissolve the clog.
- This chemical additive works to break down toilet paper. It can unclog a sewer line.
- Follow manufacturer instructions for using the chemical additive.
- Use a chemical additive on a regular basis to prevent future clogs.
Although they are primarily designed for homes with septic systems, chemical additives such are safe for all sewer lines. If used regularly as a preventative measure, they can help keep clogs from forming.
Rather than resort to chemicals as the first measure, it’s worthwhile to first attempt manual methods to resolve a clog. The simplest way to unclog a toilet is through use of a plunger. Use a two-hand grip to seat the plunger firmly against the outlet hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl, then plunge forcefully. The increased pressure of the plunger can break up most toilet paper clogs, freeing your sewer line.
- A simple toilet plunger is your first line of defense against toilet paper clogs.
- Position the plunger so that the plunging end forms a firm seal against the outlet hole in the bowl.
- Plunge using two hands. Repeat the plunging action several times without breaking the seal between the plunger and outlet hole.
- When you hear the sound of rushing water and the water level drops in the bowl, the toilet is unclogged.
Unlike chemical toilet paper dissolvers, a plunger can provide an instant fix to sewer line clogs. In just a few seconds you can turn an overflowing nightmare into a perfectly functional toilet.
For clogs that can’t be broken apart with a plunger, you will need to use a toilet snake. A good quality snake, such as this one, can clear clogs of all types. While chemical dissolvers only work on toilet paper and plungers can’t clear tough obstructions, a snake works by hooking onto whatever is causing the clog. From there, you can pull the obstruction out. To use a snake:
- Insert the toilet snake into the outlet hole at the bottom of the bowl.
- Feed the snake through the bends in the toilet plumbing until it meets the clog.
- Turn the handle of the toilet snake to hook onto whatever is causing the clog.
- Pull the snake out of the toilet, bringing whatever is causing the clog with it.
A toilet snake should be your go-to method for solving clogs because it can tackle jobs chemicals and plungers can’t. If a snake auger can’t get the job done, it’s time to call in a plumber.
Will a Toilet Paper Clog Eventually Dissolve?
In many cases, a toilet clog caused by toilet paper will dissolve on its own. This is because toilet paper is engineered to break down in water. So, if your toilet doesn’t flush on the first try, it isn’t time to panic. Wait 10–20 minutes, then try to flush again. The situation may have resolved itself.
How Long Does it Take for Toilet Paper to Dissolve in a Clogged Toilet?
In the best cases, a toilet paper clog will break down enough to allow for regular flushing in 20 minutes. However, a stubborn wad of toilet paper may resist breaking down. This is because wadded toilet paper can begin to form a gluey mass. In some cases, it may take 1–2 hours for a clog to dissolve on its own. If there is an extremely high amount of toilet paper, sometimes the clog won’t resolve on its own. In these cases, you will have to use a plunger or toilet snake to clear the obstruction.
Does Liquid Plumber Dissolve Toilet Paper?
Liquid Plumr and similar products, such as Drano, are not designed to dissolve toilet paper. These products are meant to clear hair, grease, and other blockages from bathtubs, sinks, and garbage disposals. They are not designed to solve toilet clogs. When searching for a way to break down toilet paper in your sewer system, use a specially designed sewer product, such as Rid-X, instead.
Will Bleach Break Down Toilet Paper?
Bleach does not break down toilet paper. Paper, as a rule, breaks down best when exposed to extremely acidic compounds. Bleach has very low acidity and is considered base. This means that it will not be effective in dissolving a toilet paper clog in your plumbing.
Does Vinegar Break Down Toilet Paper?
While not typically the first thing you think of when you have a clogged toilet, some have had great success unclogging toilets using hot water, baking soda, and vinegar. To use this method:
- Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the toilet.
- Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet.
- Pour 4 cups of boiling water into the toilet.
Once you’ve completed these steps, wait. Do not flush the toilet. If given time, the clog may resolve itself and you will see the water level in the toilet bowl drop as the clog clears. Keep in mind, the vinegar and baking soda will react when mixed. This will create a fizzing and foaming action. If any of this foam overflows from the toilet, don’t worry, it won’t harm your flooring.
How Do You Unclog a Toilet Full of Toilet Paper?
The best ways to unclog a toilet that is backed up due to an excess of toilet paper are:
- Use a chemical septic treatment product to dissolve stubborn toilet paper.
- Plunge the toilet to force the blockage through the pipes and unclog your toilet.
- Use a snake auger to snag the blockage and pull it out of the pipes.
These methods are the best ways to unclog a toilet. Just remember, toilet paper typically dissolves in water over time, so there’s a high probability your clog is caused by something else. For these situations, a snake auger is the best tool to solve the problem.