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Can You Flush Tissues Down the Toilet? (And What to Do Instead)

Can You Flush Tissues Down the Toilet? (And What to Do Instead)
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My entire life, I’ve had terrible allergies. Cats, dogs, pollen, you name it. All year long, it never stops. As you can imagine, I go through a lot of tissues.

I’ve always thrown my tissues right in the trash, but honestly, I’ve never questioned whether or not this is the best place for them. It occurred to me recently that there might be better alternatives.

My wife and I have become much better about doing our part to help the environment. We already recycle the boxes that house the tissues, but what about the tissues themselves?

In this article, let’s find out whether or not it’s safe to flush your tissues down the toilet.

Can You Flush Tissues?

Unlike toilet paper, which is made to easily break down when wet, tissues are made to stay intact in the presence of moisture (like when you blow your nose or wipe up some liquid). With that being said, no, you should not flush tissues down the toilet.

If you’ve flushed a few tissues in the past without any issues, you likely don’t have anything to worry about. However, if you make this a regular habit, or you flush a bunch of tissues at once, you run the risk of clogging your toilet.

Toilets are made to handle two things, and two things only: human waste and toilet paper. If an item doesn’t fall into one of these two categories, keep it out of the toilet.

What to Do If You’ve Clogged Your Toilet with Tissues

If it’s too late and you’ve already clogged your toilet with tissues, first try using a plunger to loosen the clog. If that doesn’t work, you can try picking up an auger (often called a plumbing snake) at a local hardware store to try to break up the clog.

If all else fails, contact a plumber. They should have a heavier-duty auger to use and have other ways of unclogging your pipes, if necessary.

How to Dispose of Tissues

If flushing your tissues isn’t a good idea, what should you do with them instead? Well, you don’t have many options, but a couple of choices are better than none.

Here are the better alternatives to flushing:

Compost Them

As I mentioned in another article, basic tissues are compostable. In fact, tissues are a great way to add brown matter (rich in carbon) to your compost pile.

While basic tissues are fine to compost, there are occasions where it doesn’t make sense to compost them. If you had a cold or flu while using your tissues, it might make sense to keep them out of your compost.

Also, if your tissues contain chemicals (typically to help alleviate your runny nose), you’ll want to keep them out of your compost pile.

Throw Them Away

If composting doesn’t work for you, your best option is to do what most people do, and that is to simply throw them away. Although this isn’t a very environmentally-friendly option, it is the simplest and makes a lot more sense then flushing.

Hopefully, you don’t have as many allergy issues as I do, and your tissue contributions to landfills aren’t nearly as numerous as mine.

Final Thoughts

While it would be nice if we had the option of flushing our tissues, unfortunately, it just isn’t a good idea. For most people, the best option is going to be to simply throw your tissues in the trash bin.

If you have a compost pile, and your tissues are the basic type and don’t contain any cold or flu germs, you can compost them for a more eco-friendly option.