You may have heard that you shouldn’t flush toilet paper in the toilet on a plane, but you may wonder if this is true. After all, it’s just a big old bowl with water and some sort of magical flushing device on top. It can handle TP, right?
If you’re thinking about going to visit a plane and wondering if you can flush toilet paper in the restrooms there or not, then this article is for you. Keep reading to find out!
What Is the Big Deal with Flushing Toilet Paper?
Toilet paper is generally made of either paper or a combination of paper and cardboard. Toilet paper is specifically designed to wipe away solid waste and clean your delicate areas. Toilet paper dissolves in water and can often be flushed.
This requires an advanced system of drains and wastewater processing facilities though. These wastewater processing facilities make sure that the dirty water doesn’t get into the local rivers as this can cause a lot of problems. If these facilities have to process toilet paper as well, they have to be more advanced and this requires a big investment.
Not every country or city has this advanced system. This might be because the country is quite large or because they decided to invest the funds somewhere else.
You will mainly find these plumbing systems in America, Asia and Europe. More rural areas can have septic systems that process the wastewater locally.
In some areas of the world, the width of the drains is not big enough and toilet paper would clog them. Wastewater would back up and make the toilet overflow. This can result in wastewater all over the house.
Next to bad smells, it also results in a dirty house. When those pieces of toilet paper break down, they create a very thick, sludgy substance that winds up jamming your household pipes and the local sewage systems. When these materials enter the sewer system, they cause major problems.
In some instances, it can be removed by flushing a lot but this is not always the case. A plumber will have to come out to clear the drains with a water jetter or an auger.
This costs quite a lot of money. If there is a big clog, it might be needed to dig up the drain and open it up. This is a lot of work and can result in a big expense.
Planes don’t have this advanced system. How do they work?
Can You Flush Toilet Paper on a plane?
The short answer is “yes”. The plumbing system in these locations is able to process toilet paper. You should find toilet paper next to the toilet and you can use it as you normally would.
Airplanes have water tanks to store the sewage. They don’t drop it while they are flying as it could land on people. These tanks are cleaned when the plane lands.
They use liquids to keep the smell from spreading over the airplane. This gives the water in the toilet its typical blue color. They add pressure to this tank to make sure that the sewage won’t spread over the airplane when you flush the toilet.
Toilets in airplanes are quite advanced and can be in theory used during take-off and landing. The airplane might be shaking during these moments though so in most instances they will ask that you wait until the airplane reaches a certain attitude.
Signs warn you that it is necessary to close the lid when you flush. This makes sure that the toilet water won’t splash around when you do so.
You can wash your hands in an airplane toilet without any issue.
While the tanks are pretty big, airliners ask that you don’t use the toilet too often as the tank can get full.
Stewards can help you if you have questions about going to the toilet while you are flying.
Do they use toilet paper on a plane?
Yes, they use toilet paper on a plane. You should find it in every toilet stall. You can ask for more if it has run out. It is the same quality that you are used to at home so you will have a similar experience.
You can’t flush wet wipes or paper towels though as these don’t dissolve in the toilet drains and can cause clogs. A plumber might have to remove these with heavy equipment.
Plumbers often get called out to fix clogs that have been caused by wet wipes. This can create a lot of damage so this should be avoided at all costs. You also shouldn’t flush food scraps, cooking oils or other waste. These should go in the bin.
The airline might charge you if they find out that you have clogged up their toilet by flushing items that are not allowed (such as books or wet wipes). Only flush toilet paper and nothing else.
Make sure to read the instructions of your airplane so that you can follow the rules. Stewards also explain what you can and can’t do during the flight.
As airplanes are becoming larger and larger, they require more advanced systems. They have great systems to process wastewater. This makes sure that their impact is reduced and they can work without too many issues.
Some flights can take a long time. If the toilet breaks during one of these, the pilot might have to land the airplane to get it fixed. This is why stewards are very mindful of the toilet as there are only a few of them on board.
If there is a problem with the toilet, they might have to divert the flight and land somewhere else. This can cause a lot of problems so they try to avoid this at all costs.
If a passenger stays on the toilet for too long, the stewards might check what is going on.