You've probably heard the advice to never flush anything down your toilet except for waste and toilet paper. It's how you keep your home's plumbing in good condition — anything else has the potential to clog your toilet or your pipes. Unfortunately, sometimes toilet paper itself is enough to cause clogs in a toilet. This is particularly common in older, low-flow toilets, as they have very low water pressure. However, using the wrong brand of toilet paper or using too much toilet paper can clog any toilet. If your toilet keeps becoming clogged with toilet paper, read on to find out why it might be happening and what you can do to fix it.
Why Does Toilet Paper Keep Clogging Your Toilet?
There are a few possible reasons why toilet paper could be causing your toilet to continually back up. The first is that you're simply using too much toilet paper when you go to the bathroom. Toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water. When you use too much toilet paper, however, it can form a gigantic ball that doesn't allow water to penetrate the toilet paper located in the center of the ball. Since the toilet paper is prevented from coming into contact with water, it will never dissolve. Using less toilet paper is a simple way to solve this problem.
It's also possible that the brand of toilet paper you're using is the source of your toilet backup problems. Some thicker brands of toilet paper don't dissolve easily. While thick toilet paper is more durable and often feels softer, it can quickly lead to issues with your plumbing. If you're using a large amount of thick toilet paper whenever you go to the bathroom, you'll clog your toilet frequently — switching brands to a thinner toilet paper that dissolves easily can help prevent this problem from occurring.
Finally, homes with hard water tend to have more trouble with toilet backup after flushing. The reason for this is that hard water deposits on the toilet cause the surface to become rough. The rough surface in the toilet trap will catch wads of toilet paper, making clogs more likely to form. Toilet bowl cleaner can help remove some of the hard water deposits, restoring the toilet trap's smooth surface.
How Do You Remove a Clog Caused by Toilet Paper?
If your toilet is clogged with toilet paper, the first step is to turn off water at the supply valve located at the bottom of the toilet. This prevents the toilet from overflowing and creating a mess on your bathroom floor.
Next, you'll need to use an accordion plunger to remove the toilet paper clog from your toilet. Accordion plungers are specifically designed to be used on toilets — the cup is perfectly sized to fit into a toilet drain. Other types of plungers won't be able to form an effective seal. You simply insert the cup of the accordion plunger into the toilet drain and pump straight up and down in order to circulate water within the toilet trap. This helps toilet paper dissolve, which will eliminate the clog.
After you've pushed the toilet paper clog through, it's a good idea to run water in the sink for a few minutes. This helps to push the clog along your pipes and into the city sewer system or your septic tank — if you don't push the clog along, the toilet paper can wad up again and clog your main sewer line.
The downside of accordion plungers is that waste tends to get stuck within the tiny folds of the accordion portion. You'll need to wash it thoroughly with a garden hose in order to make sure it's fully clean and ready for its next use.
If an accordion plunger doesn't work, you'll need to rent a toilet auger. These augers are very short and flexible, which allows them to enter into the toilet trap without damaging your toilet. In order to use a toilet auger, you insert it into the drain of your toilet and snag the toilet paper clog with the hooked end of the auger. Once you've grabbed it, you can withdraw the auger to remove the clog from your toilet trap.
When a plunger and a toilet auger both fail to remove the clog from your toilet, call a toilet backup repair service. The clog may be deeper within your home's plumbing, making it difficult to access without professional tools. A toilet backup repair service will come to your home and quickly remove the clog, ensuring that your toilet flushes freely again.