Can You Flush Kleenex Down the Toilet: Here’s What Happens

The Kleenex brand of products has been a household name since the early 1920s for the various items they offer. However, one of the biggest questions that people wonder is if you can flush Kleenex down the toilet and what happens if you do.

Although Kleenex seems very similar to toilet paper, you shouldn’t flush it down the toilet. Kleenex tissues are made from products that do not break down in the same way as toilet paper. Thus, it could create a clog in your toilet requiring you to call a plumber or plunge it yourself.

Knowing why it is not recommended to flush Kleenex down the toilet begins with the knowledge of what it is made of. Let’s look at some more information about what Kleenex is and what happens when you flush it down your toilet. 

What Exactly is Kleenex? 


Kleenex (on Amazon) is/are a tissue product manufactured by the Kimberly-Clark company brand and is widely used worldwide. This brand has made many products since World War I when they first came out with a gas mask filter.

Since then, they have created products for menstruation under the Kotex name and later became well known for their facial tissue products to remove makeup. It was after this time that Kleenex became a household name and has been referred to as the name for all facial tissue products.

From the original Kleenex product to products now produced with lotions and other ingredients to soften the feel. People use them in homes, offices, doctor’s offices, and more as a way to clean up, especially when they have just sneezed.

Is Kleenex Flushable Like Toilet Paper?

Kleenex is not flushable in the same way toilet paper is for many reasons that boil down to what they are made of. Although the cellulose fibers that Kleenex is made of are biodegradable, they are still not suitable for the toilet drain.

These cellulose fibers will not break down the same way as toilet paper because they have additives mixed in with them to create a more robust product. This is how Kleenex can be used to remove makeup and are strong enough to withstand blowing noses.

Keep in mind that the toilet is a delicate system that needs to be taken care of properly, which means being mindful of what goes into it. Toilet paper is designed to disintegrate once it has made contact with the water in the toilet, which is why it is suitable for flushing.

Kleenex should be disposed of in the trash can instead of attempting to flush them down the toilet. The thicker material it is made from prevents it from breaking down the right way, even though it seems like soft, lightweight material.

What Happens if You Flush Kleenex Down the Toilet?

When it comes to flushing Kleenex down the toilet, manufacturers and plumbers agree that this is a big no-no. Kleenex should not be flushed down the toilet for several reasons, including what it is made of, what happens to the Kleenex when flushed, and how it attracts other products and can result in a clogged toilet.

As previously mentioned, Kleenex is made from a material that has additives that make it a stronger material. Unfortunately, these cellulose fibers do not break down and thus can wreak havoc on your toilet pipes and drains further down.

When Kleenex is flushed either purposely or accidentally, because it is made from a thicker material, it does not go down the pipes as it should. Instead, they tend to cling to some of the drains under the toilet. 

After a while, other things that should or should not be flushed down the toilet can begin to stick to the Kleenex. This can cause the area to become bigger and block the flow of the drain, causing it to clog. Once this occurs, it can continue until you can no longer use your toilet properly.

Initially, the clog may not cause it to be blocked entirely off; instead, it can begin to drain slowly. Once some time has passed, as the clog gets even bigger, the flow of water is completely cut off, and you have a huge problem.

At this point, the toilet no longer flushes and begins to back up in the toilet. Using a plunger may be slightly effective. However, over time, this does not work. The worst-case scenario is that you will need to call in a plumber to snake your drain.

The bottom line is that you should only put items that are intended to go into the toilet in there to flush. Doing otherwise will cause a big mess and a costly plumbing bill that you may or may not want to face.

How Do You Unclog a Toilet Full of Kleenex?

When Kleenex has been flushed down the toilet, over some time, it will eventually build up to the point that it causes it to clog. You can tell that this is the case when the toilet either will not flush at all or if it begins to drain slower than usual.

When this happens, you have no other choice but to attempt to unclog the toilet, which is now full of Kleenex. But unfortunately, it is likely full of other stuff that has been flushed down the toilet that has adhered to the built-up Kleenex.

Unclogging a toilet full of Kleenex can either be an easy job or a more difficult one depending on the level of the clog. If the clog is minor, it should only take a little time to unclog it. However, if the clog is more intensive, it may take professional help to unclog.

Read on below to learn more about the various ways you can use to unclog a toilet.

Unclog the Kleenex Manually

In some cases, the clog can be minor enough that you can do this yourself with minimal effort and supplies. The most you will need is a pair of rubber gloves and a trash bag to get your toilet back to working order.

To manually unclog your toilet, the clog will need to be at the bottom of the toilet, where you can see a part of it. With your gloved hands, reach to the bottom of the bowl and begin taking out the Kleenex. Continue doing this until it is completely unclogged.

Use a Plunger

Sometimes the clog is a bit further down the pipes where you cannot see or get to it without doing something else. The fix for this would be to grab a plunger to push the Kleenex and other particles down the drain to release the clog.

To use a plunger correctly, you should put it directly into the toilet bowl and completely cover the hole in the bottom. Then, with one or both arms, you should begin pumping the plunger up and down. You may need to repeat this process several times to remove the clog completely.

Snake Your Toilet

In some cases, the toilet can be more clogged than a plunger or manual extraction can do effectively. This is when you will want to bring out the toilet auger, otherwise known as the toilet snake.

If you own a snake, then you know that this device is a long, thin wire fed into the toilet bowl until it hits the clog. Experts recommend that you continue moving the auger into the clog slowly until it penetrates the clog. In most cases, you should be able to now pull the Kleenex from the toilet by removing the auger.

What Else Should You Not Flush Down the Toilet?

Luxury toilet

When it comes to flushing items down the toilet, only a few of them should go in the toilet. This is because the toilet is a delicate piece of equipment designed for only certain things.

Knowing what should not be flushed down the toilet can save you a lot of money and time in the long run. Also, remember that toilet paper is specifically designed for the toilet and breaks down as it is exposed to water.

Here are some additional items that you should never put down the toilet:

  • Facial tissues
  • Paper towels
  • Flushable wipes
  • Household cleaning wipes
  • Baby wipes
  • Tobacco products
  • Bandaids
  • Medications
  • Menstrual products
  • Condoms
  • Dental Floss
  • Hair

While this list is not exhaustive, it should give you an idea of what should never be flushed down the toilet if you want to avoid a complete mess.

Final Thoughts on Flushing Kleenex 

The bottom line is that you or someone in your family may have flushed Kleenex down the toilet without thinking ahead. While this can be a problem, it usually takes some time before it wreaks havoc completely.

The best way to keep your toilet from overflowing and clogging due to Kleenex is to educate yourself and others on not putting it in the toilet. The more you and your family know about what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet, the better you can prevent these accidents.