Toilet Clogged With Paper Towel – How to Unclog?

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Don’t freak out if you accidentally stuff paper towels down the toilet and it becomes clogged. There are a few approaches you can use to unclog the toilet without risking injury or ruining the fixture.

If you know what you’re doing, you can get your toilet working again in no time.


Step-by-Step Guide: How to Unclog a Toilet Clogged with Paper Towels

Having to deal with a toilet that is clogged, especially one that is clogged with paper towels, is an annoyance. You can fix the problem and get normal flushing working again with the right tools and methods. If paper towels have become stuck in your toilet, here’s how to get them out:

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials and Working Area

  1. Gather Supplies: Put on gloves to protect your hands. Collect a plunger and a toilet auger (manual or battery-powered) to effectively tackle the clog.
  2. Clear Space: Move any rugs or items around the toilet to prevent splashes and messes. Lift the toilet seat to make the process easier.

Step 2: Start Slow with a Plunger

  1. Check Water Level: Ensure there’s enough water in the toilet bowl. If not, add water until the plunger’s bell is submerged.
  2. Plunge: Position the plunger’s bell over the drain opening. Press down gently to create a seal. Begin plunging vigorously, using an up-and-down motion. The suction created can dislodge the clog.
  3. Repeat if Necessary: If the water starts to drain or the clog seems to be breaking up, continue plunging until the water flows freely. If progress is slow, move on to the next step.

Step 3: Move on to a Toilet Auger

  1. Insert the Auger: Insert the toilet auger’s barbed end into the toilet drain. Push it in carefully to avoid damaging the toilet bowl.
  2. Engage the Auger: Use the handle to control the auger as you gently twist and push it further into the drain. This should help break up and snag the clog.
  3. Rotate and Retrieve: If you encounter resistance, rotate the handle of the auger clockwise. This motion should help break down the clog and allow you to pull it out. Be cautious to prevent any splashes or mess.

Step 4: Take the Toilet Auger Out

  1. Remove the Auger: Slowly and carefully withdraw the auger from the toilet drain. Make sure it doesn’t rotate rapidly or come into contact with the toilet bowl, as this can cause further mess.
  2. Dispose of Waste: As you pull out the auger, any waste stuck to it should remain within the auger’s coils. Carefully place the waste into a plastic bag for disposal.

Step 5: Avoid Clogging Your Toilet with Paper Towels

  1. Proper Disposal: To prevent future clogs, avoid flushing paper towels down the toilet. Dispose of them in a waste bin or consider composting if appropriate.
  2. Educate Others: Share the importance of proper toilet usage with household members to prevent accidental clogs from occurring again.

You can unclog your toilet and avoid more problems caused by paper towel waste if you follow these instructions and use the appropriate tools. Take your time and be careful so that you don’t make a mess or cause any damage.


How To Dispose Your Paper Towel?

In order to keep things tidy and to cut down on waste, paper towels must be thrown away in the right way. Some options for getting rid of used paper towels are listed below:


Paper towels can be composted if you have a compost pile. Towels made from paper are biodegradable because of the high levels of carbon they contain.

Compost is the byproduct of decomposition and can be used in gardening. However, paper towels that have been exposed to chemicals or that have been coated with chemicals should not be composted.

Throwing Away

If composting isn’t an option, throwing paper towels in the trash is the next best thing. Keep them contained in an airtight container to avoid unpleasant odors and spills.

Tear Them into Pieces

Tearing the paper towel into tiny pieces allows you to utilize more of it. Use half a sheet rather than a whole one when doing anything like drying your hands. To minimize waste while using them for self-hygiene, rip them into 2-inch squares. Those who plan to use them in the restroom should remember to flush after each usage.


Why are Paper Towels More Likely to Clog Your Toilet?

Here’s why paper towels can easily clog your toilet:

The Differences between Toilet Paper and Paper Towels

Despite their apparent similarities, they each have key differences that make them more suited for specific tasks.

Toiled tissue is engineered to degrade rapidly in water. The shorter strands used in its construction make it biodegradable in wastewater treatment facilities. Paper towels, on the other hand, provide superior absorption since their fibers are longer and stronger.

Absorbency and Structural Differences

Towels outperform toilet paper in terms of absorbency. Because of their capacity to soak up more liquid, they are perfect for mopping up spills and wiping down counters in the kitchen. Paper towels with a looser weave of fibers and a new manufacturing method are responsible for their increased absorbency.

Paper towels can soak up more liquid because its weave is looser, enabling more air to fill the voids. Paper towels are better at mopping up spills, but they can easily get caught in plumbing and cause a backup.

Difficulty in Dissolving

Paper towels do not dissolve as quickly as toilet paper because their fibers are longer and their structure is different. When flushed down the toilet, toilet paper soon disintegrates and is no longer a clog hazard.

However, paper towels tend to remain intact, and this can cause problems while flushing because they become stuck in the pipe’s bends and tiny spaces.

While paper towels’ strength and durability are great for drying hands, they also get in the way of flushing the toilet. They are more likely to cause a clog in your toilet because they don’t dissolve quickly in water.

Proper Disposal and Alternatives

The improper disposal of paper towels can lead to clogged toilets. Towels should be thrown away in the garbage rather than into the toilet. This prevents them from causing plumbing problems or adding to clogs in the sewage system.

If you need to defecate but don’t have any toilet paper, you should use anything that can be flushed down the toilet. To avoid clogging, you can use flushable wipes or tissues, which are designed to dissolve rapidly in water.


How Are Paper Towels Made Differently?

Understanding the production process of paper towels sheds light on their different characteristics compared to other paper products. 

Creping: Breaking the Fitted Bonds

Creping is the first stage in a new method of producing paper towels. Blades are used to cut through the tightly woven connections of the paper. The increased number of voids within the paper towel contributes to its increased absorbency.

The paper towel’s ability to absorb liquids is improved by disrupting these connections, making the towel more porous. In addition to producing more folds in the paper, the creping technique increases absorption.

Embossing: Adding Texture and Absorption Capacity

Embossing comes after the creping procedure. Manufacturers add patterns or designs to the flattened paper towels at this stage. There are two goals to achieve with this embossing method.

To begin with, it makes the paper towel more grip-able by giving it a rougher, more uneven surface. Second, it creates more area for liquids to be absorbed, such as water. The paper towels are more pleasing to the eye due to the embossed patterns.

Flushability Concerns

You should know that paper towels aren’t as easily flushed as toilet paper because of their construction. To increase their absorbency, paper towels often use stronger fibers and chemical treatments than toilet paper, which is designed to disintegrate fast in water.

Because of these variables, paper towels no longer dissolve as easily in water, which can lead to clogged pipes and overflowing toilets. Because of this, paper towels shouldn’t be flushed.


How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger?

Here are step-by-step guides for some of the easiest DIY methods to unclog a toilet without a plunger:

Method 1: Pour in Some Hot (But Not Boiling) Water

  1. Boil Water: Heat water in a kettle or on the stove until it’s hot, but not boiling. Extremely hot water can crack the toilet bowl, so be cautious.
  2. Pour Water: Carefully pour the hot water into the toilet bowl from a reasonable height. The force of the water might help dislodge the clog.
  3. Wait and Flush: Allow the hot water to sit in the toilet bowl for a few minutes. Then, flush the toilet. If the clog is loosened, the water should drain smoothly. If not, you may need to try another method.

Method 2: Swish in Some Dish Soap

  1. Add Dish Soap: Squeeze a good amount of liquid dish soap into the toilet bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes. Dish soap can act as a lubricant and may help break down the clog.
  2. Add Hot Water: If possible, add hot water (not boiling) to the bowl, just enough to cover the soap. Wait for a few minutes.
  3. Flush: Flush the toilet. The combination of soap and hot water might help dislodge the clog and allow the toilet to flush properly.

Method 3: Mix in Baking Soda and Vinegar

  1. Add Baking Soda: Pour about 1 cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl. Distribute it evenly around the bowl.
  2. Add Vinegar: Slowly pour 1 to 2 cups of vinegar into the bowl. The chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar can create a foaming action that might help break down the clog.
  3. Wait and Flush: Allow the mixture to fizz and foam for about 15-20 minutes. Then, flush the toilet. If the clog is loosened, the water should drain properly.

Method 4: Use the Toilet Brush

  1. Agitate the Water: If you have a toilet brush, use it to vigorously agitate the water in the bowl. Push and pull the brush to create movement and try to dislodge the clog.
  2. Flush: Once you’ve agitated the water, flush the toilet. If the clog is loosened, the water should drain. If not, you may need to consider another method.

Method 5: Unwind a Wire Hanger

  1. Straighten the Hanger: Take a wire hanger and straighten it as much as possible. Leave the hooked end intact as it can be useful for grabbing the clog.
  2. Insert the Hanger: Insert the straight end of the hanger into the toilet drain. Gently push it in and try to maneuver it around the clog to break it apart.
  3. Retrieve the Clog: If you feel the clog, try to hook it with the hanger’s end and gently pull it out. Be careful not to scratch the toilet bowl.

If these DIY methods don’t resolve the issue, you might need to consider seeking professional plumbing assistance.



Will a Toilet Eventually Unclog Itself?

This depends on the clog’s cause. If it’s organic waste or toilet paper, the toilet may unclog itself. Depending on the severity, the clog may clear in an hour or a day.

Organic waste is designed to decompose naturally. The toilet bowl water dissolves waste, allowing it to flow through the pipes and unclog. Additionally, toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water. Therefore, it will break down and clear the clog.

However, letting the toilet unclog itself isn’t always best. Clogs can persist, causing further blockage and plumbing system damage. If the clog isn’t improving or there’s overflow, act.

Where Should I Dispose my Paper Towels?

Composting paper towels is eco-friendly. Composting turns food scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil. Paper towels can be composted because they are made from plant fibers.

Composting used paper towels reduces landfill waste and provides a valuable resource for your garden or plants.

Throwing paper towels in the trash is the next best thing to composting. Importantly, paper towels are not recyclable.

Paper towels cannot be recycled because their fibers are shorter and harder to process. Therefore, properly dispose of them in your regular trash bin.



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