Does Bleach Dissolve Toilet Paper?
A toilet paper roll is made of strong wood fiber material, but it can be dissolved by a chemical substance. The question remains if bleach can dissolve toilet paper.
Bleach will help with toilet paper dissolution, but it won’t do a very good job. Bleach may dissolve part of the clogged toilet paper but lacks the power to break up an entire toilet paper clog.
Nonetheless, it’ll attack the cellulose in the paper in a slow manner and then turn the cell walls into a mush that can be easily flushed down the toilet all thanks to its high pH level and corrosive properties.
In order to understand how bleach breaks down toilet paper, we must first understand what toilet paper is made of and how it normally dissolves.
What Is Standard Toilet Paper Made of?
Normal toilet paper is made from virgin wood fibers. The production of the product is only a little more complex than making printer paper. It’s basically dissolving the wood in water and adding chemicals to turn it into pulp.
Then, in order to add strength to the fiber, sodium hydroxide (lye) is added. The lye makes the fiber stronger by removing lignin that’s present in the wood. The lye binds to lignin, allowing the cellulose to stay intact while being dissolved by the lye.
A natural material known as cellulose makes up most of the structure of any type of toilet paper.
Cellulose has two major components: an amorphous component, which is made up of randomly arranged glucose molecules; and a crystalline component, which has glucose molecules arranged in a highly ordered three-dimensional structure.
How Does Normal Toilet Paper Dissolve?
Toilet/septic-friendly toilet paper should dissolve shortly or after some time when it comes into contact with wastewater.
The acidic conditions in toilet or septic water favor cellulose breakdown, which is essentially breaking down the glucose molecules. Essentially, the glucose molecules burst apart and release into the water on their own.
The longer the cellulose chains making toilet paper are, the harder it is for the sugars to break up and the toilet paper to dissolve. If so much toilet paper is bundled together, it makes it more difficult to dissolve.
Bleach Characteristics and Their Effects on Toilet Paper Dissolution
Bleach has a lot of interesting chemical characteristics. Here are some of them, along with how they affect toilet paper dissolution:
Bleach is basic
Bleach is the common name for a solution of sodium hypochlorite, NaClO. Sodium hypochlorite has a pH of around 11, meaning it’s a strong alkaline chemical. Standard toilet paper dissolves under acidic conditions. Since bleach isn’t acidic, it’s not that effective at dissolving toilet paper.
Bleach is an oxidizer
Bleach works by oxidizing various substances, essentially breaking them down and reducing them to their elemental components.
Oxidizer chemicals primarily help to remove stains or rust from objects or surfaces. The actual bleaching action also happens via oxidation. This chemical characteristic doesn’t apply when it comes to dissolving toilet paper.
Bleach is corrosive
Bleach is corrosive, which means it can cause damage to metal surfaces or metal objects it comes into contact with.
This characteristic indicates that bleach needs to be used with caution to avoid damaging your plumbing system. The strength of regular laundry bleach depends on the concentration and can be anywhere from 5% to over 6%.
Signs That You Have a Toilet Paper Clog
A toilet paper clog is among the easiest household problems to fix, and there are some telltale signs that you have a clog:
- A foul odor in your bathroom
- Water in the bowl not being flushed away quickly enough
- Standing water in the bowl even after flushing
- When you have to flush twice or more to get rid of waste
- The water is moving when you are not flushing
- The toilet bowl filling up with water for no apparent reason, even when you haven’t flushed it recently
- Unusual sounds from your toilet
When a toilet gets clogged, it is your job to fix it. If you don’t, you are going to have a hard time. Whenever you notice the above signs, you need to deal with them as soon as possible before they eventually become a disaster.
How to Unclog a Toilet with Bleach?
If bleach is the only option you’re left with to dissolve toilet paper, then all you need is some bleach, hot water, and a plunger.
Start by trying to dislodge the toilet paper clog using a plunger. Just fit the plunger cup in your toilet bowl to create an airtight seal.
Move it down to dislodge the toilet paper clog in the drainage pipes. If the toilet paper clog doesn’t move, pour ¾ cup of bleach followed by flushing with hot water. Repeat the process until the entire toilet paper clog is gone.
It’s also best practice to pour bleach down the toilet periodically to keep it sparkling clean.
Please note: Unclogging a toilet is among the most frustrating household chores to do. You can avoid the situation altogether by keeping your entire plumbing system clean and in tip-top shape at all times.
How Long It Takes to Dissolve Toilet Paper with Bleach?
Toilet paper only takes about an hour to dissolve when you try it with bleach. If you put the two in a water-and-bleach solution for 60 minutes, toilet paper will disappear and only leave behind some fibers and a thin film on the bottom.
When there’s too much toilet paper to dissolve, it’ll take more time for bleach to break up the fibers. That’s why you need a complimentary mechanical remedy such as a snake auger or an additional toilet paper clog treatment such as Epsom salt.
While it takes about 1 hour to dissolve toilet paper with bleach and send it down the drain it can take up to 9 hours to turn the paper into sludge.
Advantages of Using Bleach for Toilet Paper Dissolution
Bleach is cheap and readily available
Bleach is a great cleaning agent, which is widely used in many households across the world to clean laundry and bathrooms, as well as to disinfect surfaces inside and outside the house. It’s a cheap and widely available product that you can also use to dissolve toilet paper in your septic tank.
Bleach can be used for all types of clogs
Bleach is a great product for cleaning the toilet. It has the ability to dissolve paper products like toilet paper and facial tissue.
The chemicals in bleach are powerful enough to break down lint, human hair, and other gunk that can accumulate in your drain pipe or around your toilet bowl.
Bleach is perfect for old plumbing
Typically, drain cleaners are made of a combination of chemicals, with chlorine and acid being the active ingredients.
Some of these chemicals might damage your old plumbing, especially if it was constructed from iron, steel, or copper. Impressively, bleach is much easier on old plumbing and can be used without worrying that it’ll cause damage.
Bleach will kill germs in your toilet
The bleach you use in the bathroom is alkaline, which means it’ll react with the acid in your toilet bowl water to create sodium hypochlorite solution. That solution is what will destroy any germs that are in there.
Bleach is versatile
Other than being a solution for clogged-up toilets, bleach is an excellent product for cleaning everything from your bathroom to your kitchen and laundry. Therefore, bleach is your best option if you need just one product for disinfecting purposes in your home.
Disadvantages of Using Bleach for Toilet Paper Dissolution
While there are many benefits associated with toilet paper dissolution with bleach, there are also a few drawbacks. Here are some of the cons worth knowing about before using bleach to dissolve toilet paper:
Risk of damage if not used properly
Even though bleach can help get rid of embarrassing tissue paper clogging up your pipes, it can damage your septic system if you don’t use it correctly.
Bleach is very useful, but it shouldn’t be used in excess. It’s also recommended not to let the bleach sit in your toilet bowl for too long to avoid the risk of damage.
Bleach can irritate your skin
Bleach is a strong base that can irritate your skin if not used with caution. If you don’t follow instructions regarding the amount of bleach to use, you may expose your skin to too harsh chemicals that can cause a burning sensation and even rashes. Wear rubber gloves whenever you are using bleach to protect your hands.
Bleach is not that effective for dissolving toilet paper
Bleach is not that effective for dissolving toilet paper. It gets the job done, but not as quickly as you might think. You might want to consider other chemicals such as Rid-X or salts such as Epsom salt if you want to dissolve toilet paper faster and more effectively.
Does toilet paper contain bleach?
Almost every bathroom has a roll of toilet paper, but what’s inside that roll? The answer might surprise you.
Most toilet paper contains chlorine bleach. It’s added to the sheets of paper during the manufacturing process. It’s there to kill all the germs and bacteria that could cause diseases.
Bleach is also used in toilet paper for whitening purposes. The good thing is, the amount used is regulated so it won’t harm you.
Does bleach help with paper towels dissolution?
Bleach is a basic chemical that can dissolve a good proportion of the bundled-up paper towels.
As long as you use the toilet or septic-safe paper towels, bleach will break down paper towel fibers, causing them to fall apart faster. Although bleach isn’t sufficient enough to dissolve paper towels, it’s a method worth giving a try.
What will happen if you leave bleach in a toilet for too long?
When bleach sits in a toilet bowl for too long, it reacts with the calcium deposits and other materials in your toilet or septic tank, creating a dangerous chemical reaction with the water in your toilet bowl.
The result of this reaction can be a release of toxic chlorine gas, which can cause serious respiratory issues and other problems if inhaled.
Does bleach dissolve or disinfect toilet paper?
When paper products such as toilet paper are exposed to bleach, the result will be an increased dissolution rate rather than disinfection. This occurs because bleach causes a pH shift in the product, making its surface more basic, leading to the faster dissolution of the fiber.
Does bleach remedy a completely clogged toilet?
The short answer is YES. The bleach method works for all kinds of clogs, including hair and grease clogs.
It’s best to combine bleach with a mechanical way of unclogging toilets for best results. If you have toilet paper stuck in the bowl, you can use a plunger to loosen things up then, apply bleach to dissolve it, and then flush it away.
What dissolves toilet paper faster?
Toilet paper dissolves faster when you add salt. The chloride ions in salt disrupt the hydrogen bonds that make up the cellulose fibers, resulting in a more rapid breakdown of the paper into its constituent elements.
You can test this effect at home by adding Epsom salt to a bowl of water and dipping it in a piece of toilet paper. Thirty seconds later, you should be able to watch it dissolve away.
Even if bleach can dissolve part of your toilet paper, it wouldn’t be an entirely effective method to remedy the situation. If you’re looking for faster results, combine bleach with a mechanical method such as a plunger or choose a more effective treatment such as Rid-X or Epsom salt.
Keep in mind that bleach has its own risks, such as skin irritation, and should be used with caution. You also don’t want to damage your toilet bowl, plumbing system, and septic tank by using the chemical excessively.
Don’t forget that the best way to prevent a toilet paper clog is to ensure that you don’t put too much toilet paper in your toilet bowl!