Can You Flush Kleenex Down the Toilet Like Toilet Paper?

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Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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can you flush kleenex down the toilet

Having Kleenex at home and even in your pockets is almost a universal necessity because we use it to sneeze, remove makeup, and clean ourselves after using the bathroom. But with the latter being said, can you flush Kleenex down the toilet?

No, we shouldn’t flush tissues in the toilet as they don’t quickly disintegrate with water, leading to pipes or sewer blockages. That’s why throw it in the trash can unless you’re using actual toilet paper.

What is Kleenex? A Quick Overview


Kleenex is a brand introduced by Kimberly-Clark Corporation in 1924 as facial tissue to remove cold cream; the Kleen is for “clean” and -ex is from Kotex, their signature feminine napkins.

However, the manufacturer discovered that more customers use Kleenex as nose tissues instead of cold cream remover. Hence, Kimberly-Clark changed its advertisements which then made the brand more popular.

Today, Kleenex has facial tissues, wet wipes, and disposable hand towels in its product line. While it uses biodegradable cellulose fibers, we cannot flush nose tissues or hand towels (toilet paper) in the bowl.

What Will Happen if You Accidentally Flushed Kleenex Down the Toilet?


The manufacturer itself stated that we could not put Kleenex down the toilet, except for Cotonelle flushable wipes.

Unlike toilet paper which is designed to disintegrate when touched by water for only about 1 to 4 minutes, we can’t dissolve Kleenex in the toilet that fast because of the chemical binder in the material that allows it to maintain its shape even when sneezed on.

They might go out of your commode, but there is a big chance that these tissues will clog the pipes and be the culprit for backups (this is when the toilet, drain, or sink will suddenly spew sewage or wastewater!).

That’s why in general, it’s dangerous to flush tissues down the toilet with a septic tank as they will not disintegrate on time and instead tangle with other waste in the system or stick on the sewage pumps that dissolve and push the wastes to the main sewer line.

How to Deal With a Toilet Clogged With Kleenex

Normally, a flange plunger or a toilet auger is the first tool that we will use every time we encounter a clog in the commode.

But what if they don’t work or you don’t have them at home?

Worry not, as the methods for dissolving Kleenex tissues below involve materials that you already have at home. Another thing: you can also perform them to support the plunging or augering process to help break down the blockage.

</p> <h4>Method 1: Pouring Hot Water, White Vinegar, and Baking Soda</h4> <p>


What to prepare:

  • white vinegar (at least 1 cup)
  • baking soda (at least 1 cup)
  • a kettle of hot water

This mixture is effective in dissolving Kleenex tissues (or almost any type of clog!) when they get stuck in the pipes. To do this, here are the steps:

  1. Take out excess water from the bowl and leave about 50% or less.
  2. Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the bowl and wait for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour your 1 cup of white vinegar and let the mixture sit and settle for 30 minutes.
  4. Pour the kettle of hot water into the bowl once the mixture has stopped fizzing.
  5. Flush the toilet to see if the clog went away. If not, repeat the steps.
</p> <h4>Method 2: Using Hot Water and Liquid Dishwashing Soap</h4> <p>


What to prepare:

  • liquid dishwashing soap (at least ½ cup)
  • a kettle of hot water

If you want to unclog tissue in the toilet while on a budget, then this hot water and liquid dish soap method is for you. We can also use this for removing grease if you’re curious!

With the materials ready, follow this procedure:

  1. Just like earlier, take out excess water from the bowl to avoid overflow and leave it at or below the water line.
  2. Pour ½ cup of dish wash soap into the bowl and leave it for 30 minutes.
  3. With your kettle, pour the hot water slowly into the bowl; watch out for overflow.
  4. Flush the toilet. If there is still a clog, repeat the procedure or try the other methods.
</p> <h4>Method 3: Applying Hot Water and Borax</h4> <p>


What to prepare:

  • borax powder (at least ½ cup)
  • hot water (at least 2 cups)

Just like with tissue, throwing paper towels in the toilet is wrong and will risk clogging your pipes. But if you’ve already done it and now your commode won’t flush, this might be the solution for you.

Prepare your borax powder and hot water before doing these steps:

  1. Always take out the bowl’s excess water and leave only enough below or at the water line.
  2. Put ½ cup of borax powder into the bowl and allow it to settle for 15 minutes.
  3. Pour 2 cups of hot water into the toilet bowl after the borax has settled.
  4. You may wait for a minute before flushing the toilet. If it flushes successfully, then the clog is gone. If not, you can perform the steps again.
</p> <h4>Method 4: Ask the Help of a Professional Plumber</h4> <p>


However, if you’ve tried all DIY methods to unclog your toilet blocked by tissues but they still don’t work, it’s time to call a licensed plumber to do the job for you. It might cost more, but plumbers will know what to do to solve your problem.

What You Shouldn’t Flush on the Toilet


In public comfort rooms, you’ll mostly encounter a “no flushing of toilet paper” sign or a general list of what the user is most likely to have when they go to the toilet which they cannot flush, such as:

  • tissues of any kind
  • toilet paper
  • wipes
  • sanitary napkins
  • pantyliners
  • tampons
  • face masks

But aside from these, we are also not allowed to flush the following items to avoid blockages:

  • condoms
  • diapers
  • cotton swabs or balls
  • disposable gloves
  • pet litter (despite being branded as “flushable”)
  • hazardous waste (e.g. medications, yard chemicals, paint, automotive fluids)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Does It Take for Kleenex to Break Down?

As we have mentioned, tissues like Kleenex contain a chemical binder as an ingredient to help keep the shape despite being exposed to liquid. Hence, it will take days to weeks to break down the material, unlike toilet paper which only takes 1 to 4 hours.

Will One Tissue Clog a Toilet?

Accidentally flushing a piece of tissue in the toilet won’t cause clogs, unless you do it over and over again. The latter will cause the tissues to pile, blocking the pipes and tangling with the sewage pumps and other waste in the sewer.


Some may be wondering, “Can you flush Kleenex down the toilet just like toilet paper?” Unfortunately, no. Doing so will eventually create a pile of tissues that will cause blockage in the pipes and tangle in the sewers, such as with other waste or sewage pumps.

The materials used to make Kleenex tissue make it not flushable. But if you’ve already done it and you’re now dealing with clogs, try using a flange plunger or a toilet auger. If they don’t work, mixtures involving hot water, vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, and borax can help too.

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