How To Unclog A Toilet Clogged With Paper Towels

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What a mess. Wonder why toilet papers with the clear inscription ‘toilet’ are overlooked and paper towels made to take their place? 

A clogged toilet is one of the most frustrating situations ever. A lot of things are affected when a toilet is clogged. The sewer, the drainage, and the whole toilet pretty much stop functioning as well as they used to and that can be very frustrating. 

It is a situation that needs a fast solution because in this case, delay can be extremely dangerous. This is so because the problem degenerates into something worse every minute your toilet stays clogged.

To this end, we have picked out for you ways in which you can quickly remedy the situation. with or without the help of a plumber. But first, let’s outline the tools you would need to get the job done. 

Toile clogged with paper towels

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Pro Steps To Unclog A Toilet Clogged With Paper Towels


  • Plunger
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Chemical waste removal
  • Plumbing snake

Step 1: Plunge your plunger into the toilet bowl

The plunger should fill in the hole completely. Next, from the opening, begin pushing and pulling. Push and pull water and not air. 

If the plunger isn’t covered completely with water, get water from a tap and add. The essence of this whole exercise is to shake the clog and try to loosen it up.

Go on pushing the plunger far in and pulling right out about 20 – 25 times beginning slowly at first and then intensifying the movements later. 

Step 2: Flush the toilets to check the condition of the drainage

In most cases, it takes only the plunger to successfully unclog the toilets and get the drainage working great again. 

But if that fails to work, if all the water is drained out and yet the toilet has not been unsuccessfully unclogged, flush the toilet while still leaving the plunger in.

Once done, begin yet another cycle of plunging again. Depending on the extent of clogging, you might have to do more than one round of plunging to get the job done. 

Step 3: Flush toilets intermittently in between plunging to drive the source of a blockage further down, straight to the sewers

For the next step, get a bucket of hot water, Enough water is needed for sufficient pressure as you flush down. Worthy of mention is the fact that hot water in this instance is not the same as boiling water.

Toilet bowls are usually made with porcelain and extreme boiling water can cause a crack to it. The water should be hot but not boiling hot. 

With your hot water ready, get a mix of the powerful combination of baking soda and distilled vinegar. If there isn’t, any other kind of vinegar can suffice.

You will need one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar. This mixture amounts to a homemade chemical solution that unclogs the toilet so well. 

Dishwashing liquid soap can come in nicely if you neither have vinegar nor baking soda. Add a few drops of the soap to help loosen the clogs. But for a clog caused by something as serious as paper towels, this might not get the job done. 

Step 4: Pour hot water with baking soda and vinegar already added into the toilet bowl

Pour directly into the hole and not by the corners. The force and pressure from dropping the hot water is capable of clearing the clog. 

Leave the solution for some time. After a couple of hours, the clogs, as long as they were caused by organic materials would have cleared courtesy of this special homemade chemical cleaner. 

How to clear hard or complicated clogs in your toilet


  • Wire coat hanger
  • Drain snake
  • Highly potent chemical drain cleaner.


  • Have your plumber recommend a highly effective chemical drain cleaner then, go on to purchase them at any supermart around. These chemicals are highly dangerous to you and the environment at large so, you might want to have your plumber handle this one professionally. If you insist on getting the job done yourself, make sure to handle it with extreme care.
  • Go through the instructions on the label and pour in the required measurement.
  • Direct hands deeper into the toilet bowl. The last thing you want is its dangerous fume, renting the whole air.
  • Do not attempt to use a plunger right after adding these chemicals. They may erupt and mistakenly splash on your skin and this might spell trouble for you.
  • While all this is going on, ensure adequate ventilation as it is quite unhealthy for you to inhale the harsh, toxic smell.

What to do if your toilets stay clogged even after attempts to unclog them

You might be unsure of the kind of material clogging your toilet but, a plumber would. If it is been blocked by a solid material, a more advanced tool like a drain snake would be used instead of a chemical drain cleaner.

Knowing the kind of material clogging your toilet would give you an idea as to the most effective tool to use. For toilets clog caused by a hard obstruction, a drain snake would do the trick. 


  • A drain snake or auger as it is sometimes called is flexible enough and has the ability to curl just like a snake and enter different corners.
  • Take one end of the wire-like tool and push it into the drain. Continue to push deeper and deeper until you feel the material causing the blockage.
  • When it touches the blockage, turn and forcefully try to break through the obstruction. The more you tug at the obstruction the sooner is gives way and disintegrates into tinier pieces.
  • Once the obstruction is broken down, tug at it some more until they are small enough to be flushed out easily then flush.

Dangers of using these toilet cleaning tools

It is advised that clogged toilets are unclogged by a professional plumber except, of course, the clog is not so serious and can easily be fixed using a plunger. 

For serious clogging caused by major solid obstructions, more advanced equipment should be used. These pieces of equipment if not handled properly can result in a minor – major hazard. 

When using the drain chemical cleaner, for example, there are valid concerns about it touching your bare skin or splashing back at you as you pour it into the toilet bowl. 

These chemicals are not to have any interaction whatsoever with your skin. If you must use it yourself, ensure you wear protective hand gloves and stick to the rules/instructions.

Also, double-check to be sure that the chemical drain cleaner you are purchasing is produced specifically for toilets as not all drain cleaner chemicals are suitable for use in toilets. You don’t want to purchase an unknown chemical that might react negatively in the toilet and damage them. 

Plumbing snake and coat hangers are equipment that must be handled skillfully lest you risk scratching mercilessly, the porcelain of your toilet. 

When dipping into the toilet bowl, the end of your hanger should be curved into a v- shape (You can use pliers to achieve this). Once done, cover the v-shaped end with a tape then push down towards the clog and pull out continuously to get the clog out.

How can paper towels clog your toilet? 

I know you are wondering why it is not okay to use paper towels but okay to use toilet paper. After all, they are both made of paper, right? 

You’re right. They are both made of paper but, there’s a difference, a visible one at that. The difference is in the make-up of both items.

The paper towel is built differently from the toilet paper, produced to be a lot thicker, more absorbing and the striking thing is that it does not disintegrate even as it absorbs liquid. 

Toilet paper, on the other hand, breaks down completely when in contact with water making them the perfect kind of ‘paper’ to use in the toilet.

Paper towels, once flushed, would go on to clog the pipes or sewers. To this end, always see that your paper towels are trashed and not flushed down the toilet for whatever reason. 


What kind of paper is used for paper towels

Paper towels are usually very thick, not too thick to dissolve in the water though, but thick enough to be immersed in water without breaking down and losing their form. 

This is because they are produced using a wood pulp that is of far better quality than that used for toilet paper. It gets its durability and strength from the same quality wood pulp. 

What causes a toilet to clog? 

Clogged toilets are oftentimes caused when items not meant to be flushed are forcefully shoved right through it. 

The toilet was specifically built to successfully transport two things down into the sewers: human waste and toilet paper. 

Things other than that like paper towels, wipes, sanitary pads and pieces of clothing materials would over time, lead to it getting clogged. 

This is because, unlike toilet papers, they do not disintegrate, they maintain the same physical form, even expand in water most times, and cause a blockage to the pipes when accumulated.

Can kitchen Napkins be flushed? 

No, please. These things are not soluble in water and maintain their physical form. If for any reason you have cause to use kitchen napkins, baby wipes, or paper towels, please do not flush and carefully dispose of them instead.

How To Unclog A Toilet Clogged With Paper Towels – Conclusion

There are so many reasons why we would use paper towels in place of toilet paper. For some, it might be out of ignorance, others might be as a result of children’s mischievous doings and it might yet again be used as an alternative to toilet papers on occasions where they are scarce and unavailable for purchase. 

Whatever your reason might be, this educative expose is for you to unlearn that habit and quit doing things that adversely affect you unconsciously. 

The thing about flushing paper towels down the toilet continuously is that the negative effects affect not just you alone, but every other person making use of the same sewer. It might not just block your own pipe, but go on to block the entire pipe connection. 

The hassle is really not worth it. Know the right thing and do the right thing by disposing of paper towels in trash bins rather than flushing them down toilets again.

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