How to Fix a Toilet Clogged with Paper Towels?

Paper Towel in a hand in front of toilet

Paper towels, like tissues, have the ability to absorb moisture, and if you have flushed them away in your toilet by mistake or by intention, chances are high that they would clog your toilet.

Paper towel has made life easier at various points, considering their ease of use while cleaning out the mess or immediately wiping off the strain. So instead of using cloth towels which are comparatively larger in size, paper towels are more convenient due to their smaller size and thick texture.

Paper towels are a staple of many households considering their affordability and the array of purposes that it successfully resorts to. Manufactured to absorb more moisture as compared to tissues, it may result in severe clogging once it gets into the toilet. Even a tiny piece of paper towel can cause toilet bowl blockage, leading to expensive plumbing repairs.

It could be embarrassing, especially if you are planning guests at home and your toilet starts producing a weird rattling sound resulting from that piece of paper towel you tossed down into the toilet and then flushed it. A clogged toilet looks no good, especially when you have tried everything and now looking miserably for any Godsend help.

Why Does a Paper Towel Clog the Toilet?A commode toilet full of toilet paper

Paper towels have amazing absorption abilities, making them absorb even a huge mess. Unfortunately, when we are using paper towels to wipe away the excess, we do not carefully think about its disposal. Many people throw away the used paper towels on the bathroom floor, into the sink, or flush them into the toilet. This unethical and harmful activity leads to major toilet clogging concerns which are highly troublesome in the long run.

Due to this composition, the paper towel is harder to disintegrate into the water, so it is nearly impossible to flush away the paper towel. When a paper towel is drained into the toilet, it gets in contact with the water, and due to its moisture-absorbing abilities, it does not wash away through the toilet drainage pipe. Rather, it stays inside the toilet bowl and results in severe clogging. This paper towel buildup is extremely harmful to the environment, and your home, as the clogged drainage system disturbs the entire house.

How to Fix a Clogged Toilet?How to Unclog Title

If you have guests coming over and you feel pity about the clogged toilet, we have penned down some effective ways to immediately eliminate a clogged toilet caused by the accumulation of paper towels.

But before we go ahead, make sure that you have your material assembled with your gloves on.


If the clog is not too severe, a plunger can be used to take it out. A plunger unclogs the toilet by pushing and pulling the air through the toilet pipe. The minor clogging can be fixed easily by using a plunger.

Plumbing AugerPlumbing Auger

For a major or a more stubborn clogged toilet, a plunger might won’t work. To fix it, you may use a plumbing auger, a cleaning cord with a plastic elbow affixed at the end. Insert the barbed end inside the toilet and control the toilet block from the handle. Once the plumbing auger is in, you may easily control its functioning by spinning the handle.

The Auger has the ability to extend its size so you may get into the drainage pipes quickly in case of severe blockage.

 A Wire Hanger

This easy DIY is an effective way to unclog the toilet if the blockage is of stubborn nature and you have no access to plumbing tools. Untwist the wire hanger and tie a small piece of cloth at its hook so it may not damage the porcelain covering of the drainage pipe. Take it inside the toilet bowl till it comes in contact with the clog. Twist the wire, pull and push to break down the paper buildup or flush it out of the drainage pipe.

Jet WasherJet Washer

If the paper towels are clogged far down the waste pipe, and the tools are unable to reach there, you may unblock it through a pressure washer that comes fitted with a pipe cleaning kit. It has a special nozzle at the end that throws high pressure to unblock the clogged toilet. The use of a sewer jetter is not recommended if your drainage pipe is made of ceramic or wood composite material.

Call a Professional

If something else works or you feel too concerned about the drainage system’s health, a professional plumber is just a call away. A plumber always has all the required equipment to deal with stubborn blockage. In arduous blockage, he may even remove the toilet to settle it.

How to Get Rid of Paper Towel?A men unclogging the clogged toilet

Now as we know that paper towel buildup inside the toilet may cause a lot of trouble and may even cost expensive repairs, its time to think about paper towel disposal intellectually. Look for the ways which may help you save money and require less waste into the landfill.

  • You may compost these paper towels into a compost bin to provide your garden with beneficial nutrients. Since paper towels have high-carbon components, they could be used in the composite pile. But if you have used the paper towel to clean any chemical, there is no point in composting that paper towel.
  • If you do not have a composite bin at home, you may throw the paper waste away in the trash bin. Although this is not friendly to the environment, but it saves your toilet from clogging.
  • Since there is no certain way to dispose of paper towels, you may consume as few paper towels as possible. To encourage little usage, look for paper towel sheets that are small in size as compared to the standard sheet of paper towel. Sometimes, you don’t need to take out the entire sheet where you require to clean away only a tiny spill. In such cases, you may use the small patches of power towel instead of using the entire sheet.

Final Thoughts

Always use a minimum number of paper towels as these do not have any specific way of disposal. Paper towels are designed to absorb moisture; once they are down into the toilet, it becomes nearly impossible to flush them out. Wisely use paper towels and once you are done with them, use any of the methods mentioned above to dispose of them so they might not produce any clogging issues into the toilet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best way to dispose of paper towels?

The best and most eco-friendly way to dispose of paper towels is to compost them.

What is the best tool used to unclog the paper towels inside the toilet?

A plunger can be used for minor clogs, while a plumbing auger is the most effective tool for stubborn paper towel clogs.

What is plumbing snake used for?

A plumbing snake is used for unclogging the clogs in the plumbing system. If the plunger is not working or the clogged drainage is not flushed out, a plumbing snake is the viable option to consider. It is a flexible auger that gets deep down into the drainage pipe and dislodges the clogs by twisting, pushing and pulling the pipe. 

How long does it take to dissolve the paper towel?

Paper towel gets dissolved into the water in a week or so. It is tough to disintegrate into the water which is why it is used as an essential item in the kitchen and bathroom.

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