What’s the result of toilet paper shortage? You guessed it, clogged pipes, say area plumbers

It was only a matter of time.

With the recent explosion of toilet paper, paper towel and tissue buying and hoarding due to the coronavirus outbreak, area plumbers are getting service calls for you guessed it — clogged pipes.

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Adam Gould, a field training manager for Roto-Rooter in the Dayton area, said because some people do not have a supply of toilet paper they are flushing things that are causing plumbing problems.

“I have heard some stories that people have been flushing socks and everything else down the toilet,” he said.

Gould said one of the biggest problem are baby wipes and other sanitary wipes.

“We are seeing some problems with people flushing wipes down the toilet,” Gould explained. “The problem with wipes is number one, they aren’t supposed to be flushed. A lot of people think they can and they cannot.”

He added that even in the stores there are “flushable wipes” marketed, but that is an incorrect label.

“You are still not supposed to flush them,” Gould advises regarding the default method of wiping. “The only thing you should be flushing is toilet paper. Wipes will break down, but over a long period of time.”

The fear of reaching for a new roll of toilet paper and finding the cabinet bare is something that Gould said is likely leading to people putting three months worth of the suddenly hottest commodity around in their shopping carts, as well as, scammers trying to sell the rolls on the internet in some cases for $100 a four-pack.

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“Toilet paper companies are still manufacturing what people need so there’s no reason to be hoarding it,” he said. “As long as well do that, we will all have plenty of toilet paper.”

Paper towels are a no-no as a pinch-hitter for toilet paper, according to Gould.

“You know in the commercials they show how the towels won’t break after they absorb messes?” he quizzed. “Well, they also won’t biodegrade in sewer lines, so do not use paper towels, don’t use napkins, just stick with toilet paper.”

Gould said there was a time when things were a bit more primitive, but some of those wiping measures may come back to help today.

“Let’s say you don’t have any toilet paper and you are plumb out unfortunately,” he said, adding that the paper towels and other items from the socks to napkins be used then disposed of in the trash instead of flushed down the toilet.

“It would be better than to put that down into your drains,” Gould explained. “You can cause so many other problems with your drains and these problems they can get expensive.”

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The website blitzresults.com calculates people are over buying for their needs.

“In most cases the own need is massively overestimated, and the toilet paper will last for an astonishingly long time. With a wink, we want to remind people that in most cases it is not necessary to hoard toilet paper,” explained Tim Lilling, project manager of blitzresults.com.


Toilet paper is in short supply. If you’re all out of toilet paper, there’s no perfect solution, but you should never flush wet wipes, paper towels and napkins.

They don’t dissolve quickly in water and are likely to cause your toilet to back up. Facial tissue is another bad idea, but in the absence of toilet paper, you can use it in small amounts if you flush frequently.

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