Can Toilet Paper Clog A Sewer? (Explained)

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.

Toilet paper can clog a sewer especially when it builds up. While it’s common to use in the toilet, toilet paper is the most common cause of clogged sewer. And with other objects in the sewer line like children’s toys, tree roots, and so on, it is very likely for toilet paper to clog the sewer line.

Soft toilet paper roll on light table

Will toilet paper eventually dissolve?

Eventually, clogged toilet paper will dissolve, but you should wait for it to dissolve. When toilet paper builds up, it clogs your sewer line. While in most cases, a couple of flushes will make the toilet paper soggy, it’ll eventually dissolve into the main sewer. But this happens only after a while.

As such, you are advised against waiting for it to dissolve itself so it doesn’t render your home sewage system unusable. When toilet paper clogs the sewer line, it prevents the passage of sewage, rendering your sewage disposal systems unusable.

Moreover, the buildup of sewage in the sewer harbors germs which can cause illness. Hence, there are several reasons you should get rid of a clogged sewer as soon as possible.

Can too much toilet paper clog a sewer line?

Yes, using too much toilet paper in your home can easily clog the sewer line. To understand why, let’s explain how the sewer line works.

Every sewage disposal system you have in your home is connected to the sewer via pipes. These pipes usually run in your walls and under the grounds of your homes. In most cases, these sewer pipes are only a few inches thick.

A typical PVC sewer pipe is about 3 – 7 inches thick.

When you use toilet paper and flush it down the sewer pipes, water then carries it into the sewer. In some cases, it may take about 2 or more flushes to effectively carry a regular quantity of toilet paper through the sewer pipes into the main sewer.

Now you know we are all guilty of flushing only ones most times. Imagine the way toilet paper is carried to the main sewer, if you should use more than the normal quantity it is unavoidable that it would clog the pipes.

How do you dissolve toilet paper in a sewer line?

As a homeowner struggling with a sewer line clogged with toilet paper there are a few tricks you can use to unclog it. Below we discussed four ways you can dissolve toilet paper in a sewer line without getting your hands dirty.

Hot water in a glass

Use hot water

One of the oldest ways people unclog a clogged sewer line is with hot water. It shouldn’t be a surprise that hot water can clear a clogged sewer line with toilet paper. Why?

Because it is a no-brainer that paper absorbs hot water faster than cold water. You can try it out yourself in a bowl of water. Pour warm water and cold water in separate bowls, then add paper to both and see which paper gets soggy faster.

Boil about 5 to 10 liters of water until it is bubbling then pour it into the sewer line. The hot water will flow gradually into the area where the toilet paper is clogged.

Allow the hot water to sit in the sewer for about 10 to 20 minutes to properly soak the toilet paper. Thereafter, use a series of repeated flushes into the sewer line to clear off the clogged toilet paper.

Use the white vinegar, hot water, and baking soda volcano effect

If you tried the hot water trick and it doesn’t get the job done, don’t give up yet, rather let’s take things a notch higher.

Remember back in grade school that model of a volcano you made? Where you combined white vinegar and baking soda to produce a foaming substance bubbling out of the top like an erupting volcano.

Well, we can use that same technique to unclog toilet paper in a sewer line as white vinegar and baking soda are great cleaning agents.

To do this, you want to combine about two cups of white vinegar with two cups of hot water in a bowl. First, pour about a cup of baking soda into the clogged sewer line.

Follow it immediately with the white vinegar/hot water mixture and allow the volcano mix to do its job, and check back in about 30 minutes.

In most scenarios, this mixture will clear the clog and a simple flush will send it down the drain.

Use the degreasing power of detergent to break up the clog

Can’t stand the smell of vinegar or the volcano effect still didn’t work, well not to worry, we still have more tricks up our sleeves you can try.

An inexpensive trick you can use involves the use of detergent. Our everyday detergent has a degreasing property which makes it effective in dissolving toilet paper and unclogging your sewer line. And to make this trick even more effective, mix the detergent with hot water.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you made use of too much toilet paper and clog a friend’s toilet, you can use this trick.

Detergent, shampoo, or dish detergent can do the trick as well.

Dump an ample amount of detergent in the toilet bowl, add some hot water from the tap and allow it to work for a few minutes.

And with luck on your side, it will be sufficient to dissolve the toilet paper and unclog the sewer line in no time.

Use chemical septic treatment

If you have tried all the tricks above and still not getting the job done, then it’s time to bring out the big guns.

Head down to the store close to you to purchase some chemical septic. Now don’t get all scared of the idea of using chemicals, however, be careful while handling it.

Always wear gloves and protective gear to avoid accidents. Most of the chemical septic treatments you’d find in stores are sold as septic tank additives and are safe for sewer lines.

If you are facing a clogged sewer with toilet paper these products can be a lifesaver as they will help dissolve the toilet paper in no time.

When you purchase a chemical septic treatment simply follow the directions on the package. Add the chemical to the clogged sewer and allow the chemical to dissolve the clogged paper.

After a couple of minutes, you can flush it to push the dissolved tissue paper into the main sewer. You can even use these chemical additives for preventive measures against future clogs.


In conclusion, these methods are one of the best ways you can unclog your toilet clogged with tissue paper. What makes them stand out is that you don’t have to get your hands dirty.

Moreover, most of what you’d need for these tricks are things you already have at home. So, if you have a clogged sewer situation, it helps to try every one of these tricks before calling a professional.