Are Napkins Safe To Flush If You Run Out Of Toilet Paper?
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Are Napkins Safe To Flush If You Run Out Of Toilet Paper?

Jul 13, 2023

We've all been there before. Whether we just purchased a big food order from the supermarket and forgot one essential item, or just haven't made it to the store yet, all of us have run out of toilet paper at one time or another.

That's usually when we resort to rummaging through our home looking for tissues. After all, tissues are pretty close to toilet paper in consistency, so we think that flushing them shouldn't be a problem for the septic system. When tissues can't be found, we might stumble upon napkins. Again, the thought may be that napkins aren't vastly different, especially the thinner ones, but still, we may wonder what they will do to our plumbing.

Though napkins may seem harmless and you may have nothing else on hand to use in place of toilet paper, the truth is that napkins should never be flushed down the toilet, and with good reason.

To keep your toilet in tip-top shape, napkins should never be flushed. This is especially problematic if your toilet is old or if you have a slow-flushing toilet, though they wreak havoc on any toilet and plumbing system.

If anything besides bodily waste or toilet paper is flushed down your toilet, it "can clog the sewer lines going from [your] home or apartment and cause [the] sewer to back up into [your] home through sinks, showers, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines," according to public information officer Jennie Loft, who works for the San Jose-Santa Clara Wastewater Treatment Facility (via Popular Mechanics).

Napkins and even tissues are designed to absorb and that can result in clogs. Toilet paper is created to break down and not necessarily absorb. Consequently, toilet paper is the only man-made product you should flush. Napkins, tissues, and even paper towels can be used to clean yourself but they should be placed in a plastic garbage bag after use. Of course, baby wipes shouldn't go in toilets either, and surprisingly, not even so-called flushable wipes should be flushed. They can easily clog pipes and septic systems and often end up in larger pipes underneath your home or property. Then plumbers will have to do extensive work to fix the problem, including tearing up the concrete or grass.