How Long Does It Take for Toilet Paper to Dissolve?

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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how long does it take for toilet paper to dissolve

Even with how thin the toilet paper is, you don’t want it to stay intact in the pipes and septic system, or else you’ll end up with a dreadful clog problem. So, how long does it take for toilet paper to dissolve?

Most toilet paper (TP) dissolves within 20 minutes in water. Highly dense TP made of biodegradable materials in a single ply even dissolves faster, especially when facilitated with high water pressure.

Let’s discover more about the dissolution speed of toilet paper, along with the factors that affect its dissolution speed.

The Dissolution Speed of Toilet Paper


Most toilet paper dissolves for about 10-20 minutes in water. Some of these brands even dissolve faster than 20 minutes to help prevent clogs in your plumbing system. To ensure a fast-dissolving tissue paper, look for septic-safe brands or those TP marketed for RV use. 

You can do a test to check the dissolution speed of your toilet paper. All you need is a few supplies like a bowl, fork, and the toilet paper of your choice.

  1. Put about ¾ water in a bowl and place a few sheets of toilet paper.
  2. Let the toilet paper sit in the water for 20 minutes.
  3. After the time has elapsed, agitate the water with a fork to mimic the flushing motion. The toilet paper should start to break down. If not, then the paper is bad for your pipes, and you might want to consider purchasing another brand.

Factors Affecting Toilet Paper Dissolution

Preventing toilet paper clogs must be your priority to maintain a healthy bathroom. However, every brand of toilet paper may have different dissolution rates due to several factors.

1. Number of Plies


Toilet papers are available in different plies. You have 1-ply, 2-ply, and 3-ply. Obviously, the lesser the number of plies, the faster the toilet paper dissolves. 

In this case, the 1-ply brands have the fastest dissolution rate because water penetrates the paper quickly. Most of these quick-dissolve toilet paper brands are specifically made for RVs and boats.

2. Fiber Density


More than the thickness, the fiber density of toilet paper affects the dissolvability of toilet paper. A study shows that denser toilet paper has a higher dissolution in water. The tighter composition of fibers allows more interaction with water. Hence it dissolves faster. 

To know the fiber density of toilet paper, let light shine through a sheet. Only use a single-ply if your toilet paper is multi-ply. If there’s less light shining through, then the toilet paper is denser. 

3. Material


Between biodegradable and regular toilet paper, the former tends to dissolve way faster in water.

Biodegradable materials like sugarcane and bamboo contain shorter fibers and are smoother than virgin trees, making them disintegrate more quickly when wet. 

Recycled toilet paper made from shredded old paper also has a higher dissolution rate than regular TP. Since the raw products are already broken into a pulp, it’s easier for these toilet paper to disintegrate into pieces when they come into contact with water.

4. Water Pressure


The more force the water swirls around the drain, the better it shreds the toilet paper down to the pipe and septic system. 

To ensure no clogs, opt for pressure-assisted flushers as they use the air pressure inside your tank to push the toilet paper and other waste down into the drain. You can also increase the water pressure in your toilet manually.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What’s the difference between toilet paper and tissue paper?

Toilet paper dissolves faster than tissue, making it ideal for cleaning up your business. They don’t cause clogs to the pipes because they have fast dissolving qualities, hence safe to flush in the toilet.

On the other hand, tissues often come with a lotion component making them softer to use for the face.

2. How to dissolve clogged toilet paper in the plumbing system?

Your first option is a plunger which provides a lot of force to remove the toilet paper buildup quickly. The tip is to create a seal in the bowl until you finish plunging. If the plunger doesn’t work, here are other solutions you can try.

Pour a generous amount of dish soap, then follow with hot boiling water. Flush the toilet after 30 minutes.

  1. Put vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water in 1:1:4 proportions. Wait 15-20 minutes for the mixture to interact and create a fizzy reaction.
  2. When all the natural solutions don’t work, consider chemical anti-clogging solutions.

3. Does all toilet paper dissolve in water?

Yes, all types of toilet paper dissolve, but they differ in speed. Some take hours, while others can dissolve in minutes. You want a fast-dissolving TP to prevent clogs in the pipes. 


Now that you’ve reached this part, I’m sure that you know, “how long does it take for toilet paper to dissolve.” It all depends on the thickness, fiber density, material, and water pressure. Make sure that you choose a fast-dissolving TP to prevent toilet clog problems in the future.

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