It’s no secret that as the Coronavirus pandemic swept the country, Americans across the United States suddenly found themselves in desperate need of toilet paper. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the spread of COVID-19 forced many to ask, “what are the best alternatives to toilet paper?” However, as any experienced plumber will tell you, the answer to this question is not as straightforward as you may think.
Why There’s No Substitute for Regular Toilet Paper
First and foremost, it is important to establish that on the most basic level, there is no substitute for toilet paper. Toilet paper is designed to break apart easily in water, while other paper products are more likely to stick together and form clogs.
That said, if you are in a bind and toilet paper is not an option, there are a few common alternatives. The most ideal choice in this scenario is so-called flushable wipes, as they are a hygienic product and likely to leave you feeling clean and fresh after each use. If you do not have wet wipes lying around, the next most common choice would be paper towels, or napkins. While far from a perfect substitute, these products are at least sturdy, and will give you the cleaning power you need to get the job done. The last common alternative, though far from the best, is facial tissues. While tissues may be great for when you have a cold and need to blow your nose, you will probably have to use a significant amount at a time to clean yourself while in the bathroom.
It is important to note that for each of these alternatives, there are major downsides. Tissues break apart easily, but unlike toilet paper, they are more likely to bunch together when you use several of them. And even if they do break apart, the pieces are more likely to linger in your pipes, leading to a clog (avoid using lotion tissues especially, as the additives in these products may coat your pipes even more.) What is true of tissues goes double for paper towels and napkins, which are naturally chunky, and may therefore be the perfect ingredient for a blockage. And finally, we return to flushable wipes. Always remember, these products may say “flushable” on the package, but as effective as they are at cleaning, wet wipes are NOT good for your toilet. They do not dissolve like toilet paper, and in fact even when they don’t create clogs into your plumbing, they go on to create problems for municipal sewer systems.
So ultimately, what is the solution here? If you have to use any of these alternatives, try to throw them away rather than flushing them down the toilet. We understand this may be uncomfortable for you, and counterintuitive to everything you’ve been taught. However, throwing sanitary wipes away rather than flushing them is common in countries where sewage systems are not as strong. And as nasty as you may find this practice in the moment, it’s better than having to pay to deal with a toilet clog later.
Smith’s Plumbing Services Protects Your Toilet & More
At Smith’s Plumbing Services, we are here to protect your entire plumbing system. Our skilled plumbers offer a full range of services to deal with a myriad of plumbing problems. From sewer repairs to pipe replacements, feel free to call us 24/7. We have been proud to be an essential service provider through the COVID-19 crisis, and although we know that dealing with issues like a lack of toilet paper and greater strain on your plumbing system can be tough, we are always here to provide the advice, support, and service you need.