What is it with septic safe toilet paper? What id you use regular toilet paper and you have a septic system? Are you damaging your system?

Is Regular Toilet Paper Destroying Your Septic Tank?

Have you heard about Costco toilet paper damaging septic tanks?  This was a big story that spread through social media in a Facebook post from 2016, recirculating again in 2018, that was investigated  and reported as "unproven." However, several toilet paper manufacturers may be using this fear to market new brands of "septic safe" toilet paper.  The fear being, as explained in the Facebook post, that by using the wrong type of toilet paper you can destroy your septic system and even cause sewer to back-up in your home. And even when you're on the public sewer system. Scary, but untrue.

The Truth About Toilet Paper and Septic Tanks

  1. There is not really a septic safe toilet paper. This is a marketing term and not a designation by any federal agency, plumbers or septic association to indicate the paper has performed to a certain standard in laboratory tests. Toilet paper is not regulated by the FDA, or any other agency, to make sure it meets specific guidelines.  Toilet paper companies are likely to test their own products to make sure they aren't liable for any false claims.
  2. All toilet paper is septic safe. This may sound like a contradiction, because it is. The term "septic safe" is to blame. When we pump a septic tank we are pumping out solids - and the thicker the toilet paper, or the more toilet paper you use, the more likely it is contributing to the solids in your tank which simply means you'll need to clean your septic tank more frequently.
  3. What toilet paper is better for your septic system? It's best to use a toilet paper without chemicals and fragrance, and one that is less thick.  The thicker the toilet paper the more you're throwing down in each flush. And the more solids you put in the tank the more often you'll want to service the septic tank.
  4. It is not necessary to buy septic safe toilet paper. Your regular toilet paper is all septic safe. It will break down from the bacteria in the tank - but be mindful that the thicker the paper you use, the more solids you're putting into the septic tank.

Where Does the Toilet Paper Go In Your Septic Tank?

How a Septic Tank Works

This simple illustration in an EPA publication about how a septic tank works explains how the septic tank naturally separates into three layers. The top layer in your septic tank is the floating scum layer, and is  made up of soaps, hair, greases, toilet paper, and other floating waste. In the middle is a liquid layer, known as the effluent layer, made up of wastewater, other liquids, and suspended solids. It's in this layer that bacteria break down the organic materials before it makes it out to the drainfield.  The bottom layer is the sludge layer, consisting of heavy organic and inorganic materials that settle to the bottom of the tank.  Sludge is what gets pumped out when we clean your septic tank.


  • Grease
  • Rags and strings
  • Coffee grounds
  • Paper towels
  • Baby wipes
  • Sanitary napkins and tampons
  • Diapers
  • Cigarette butts
  • Antibacterial soaps
  • Trash
  • Condoms
  • Bandages
  • Dental Floss
  • Cat Litter
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Other non-degradable products

Emergency Septic Tank Cleaning Wooster


You can do your part to keep your septic tank healthy and reduce the frequency of septic tank pumping. First, don't put anything down your septic system that is non-biodegradable, such as cigarette butts, diapers, paper towels, and more. Plus, installing an effluent filter, which helps to decrease the number of solids that leave the tank helps promote your septic tank's health.


We service the Northern Ohio area including Erie, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties. Our family-owned septic company is the one to call for all of your emergency septic tank services, including septic tank pumping. We can work around your schedule when it's convenient for you, including working on weekends and evenings. Septic services include installations, repairs, inspections, cleaning and maintenance plans.   Rest assured, when you partner with our local, family-owned septic company, your Northern Ohio home or business will be well served. Call to get started today!

Is Septic Safe Toilet Paper Necessary?