Tissue Is Clogging My Toilet

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Use modest amounts of toilet tissue.
Use modest amounts of toilet tissue. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Facial and toilet tissue are similar in texture and appearance, but unlike facial tissue, toilet tissue is made to quickly and easily break down in water. In fact, some facial tissues are made to absorb water, not dissolve in it. For this reason, facial tissue thrown into a toilet may clog it up. Toilet tissue may also clog up your toilet if enough of it is put into the toilet at one time.

Symptoms

Clogged toilets often drain and fill more slowly than usual. You may see bits of tissue floating in the water or the water level in the toilet bowl may be lower than the norm. Toilets that are completely clogged will not drain but will rise and possibly overflow. In that case, you will likely be able to easily see the mass of tissue that is causing the blockage. If your toilet is overflowing, do not flush it again, but instead lift the lid off the tank and lift up the floating ball to stop the flow of water.

Manual Removal

Sometimes all that is needed to fix the problem is manual removal of the tissue. Slip on some rubber or latex gloves and pull out the tissue yourself. Or, use a plunger to remove the clog if it is farther down the pipes. Fit the plunger against the drainage hole and push and pull it to create suction that will suck out the stuck tissue. Then, pull it out with your gloved hands, throw it in the trash and flush the toilet again.

Auger Removal

Augers are long, thin wires that are designed to be fed into pipes in order to remove a clog deep in the plumbing. Turn the handle to thread the auger into the toilet bowl's drain hole and down through the pipes. Once you feel the tip of the auger hit the blockage, continue to turn the handle to penetrate the mass of tissue. This might be enough to break up the tissue, but if not, you can likely withdraw the auger and pull the tissue out.

Prevention

Always use the minimum amount of toilet tissue needed to perform the job. If children are the culprit, teach them to count off the number of squares or monitor their toilet habits until they are old enough to use good judgment. Don't try to flush facial tissues down the toilet -- not only might they clog up the pipes, but it's a waste of water as well.

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