Can You Put Toilet Paper in a Macerator?

Macerating toilets are excellent alternatives when you want to install a washroom in a location where it isn’t feasible to install a standard toilet, such as the basement. However, their inherent design makes them more susceptible to blockages. So, can you use toilet paper in a macerator?

You can put toilet paper in a macerator toilet. However, putting too much toilet paper at once can jam the macerator. Also, do not put any other type of wipe or sanitary product in a macerator, as it can cause a malfunction. Macerating toilets can only process human waste and tissue paper.

Read on to learn more about what should go into a macerating toilet and the best maintenance practices to observe. 

How Does a Macerator Toilet Work?

Knowing how macerating toilets work is crucial, as this knowledge will help you understand why these toilet systems are somewhat more susceptible to blockages.

Macerating toilets get their name from their mechanism of operation. Unlike standard loos, these units do not use gravity to send waste to the sewer. Instead, they come with a macerator, which grinds the waste before pumping it to the main drain, sewer, or septic tank.

The macerator has stainless steel blades that rotate rapidly to liquefy waste, similar to a blender. The motive behind softening the toilet bowl’s contents is to make them easier to transfer via the thin PVC piping used to connect a macerator toilet to an existing main drain. 

As you can imagine, forcefully pumping solid chunks of human waste is not exactly the definition of efficiency, thus the need for liquefaction.

Now, this is where the rubber meets the road; urine and stool are easy to process since they are either liquid or semi-solids. Additionally, the blades of a macerator should have no problem grinding tissue paper, thanks to its lightweight nature.

However, any object thicker than toilet paper will put the stainless steel blades under tremendous strain, resulting in them getting stuck, thus stopping moving or even breaking down entirely.

As such, the only things a macerator can process effectively are body waste and tissue paper, and throwing in any other item can cause the system to malfunction.

What Happens When You Put Too Much Toilet Paper in a Macerator?

As mentioned, the blades of a macerator work like those of a blender. Now, consider this: what would happen if you exceeded a blender’s capacity? Well, the blades wouldn’t have enough room to properly operate and grind your contents.

Similarly, dumping too much toilet paper in a macerator can get the paper tangled up around the blades, compromising their ability to churn waste effectively. When that happens, the macerator won’t liquefy the waste as it should, resulting in a blockage.

As you can imagine, the same applies to any other item that people shamelessly dump into standard toilets, including but not limited to:

  • Baby wipes
  • Dental floss
  • Tampons
  • Sanitary towels

The only things that should go into a macerator are body waste and toilet paper. Also, limit the amount of tissue paper you dump in a macerating toilet to avoid inadvertently blocking it.

How To Tell If Your Macerator Has a Blockage 

You can tell your macerator is struggling to process waste when it does the following:

  • It continues running long after the toilet bowl is clear
  • It makes loud vibrating noises
  • It emits a constant hum

The signs above indicate that your macerator’s blades are working hard to disintegrate the flushed contents. Typically, a macerator requires less than 30 seconds to pulverize waste and tissue paper and send it to the sewer.

However, when you dump a foreign object inside a macerator, the blades will struggle to grind it, resulting in the motor vibrating vigorously in a bid to get the blades rotating correctly. 

Additionally, when tissue paper or a foreign object gets stuck on the blades, the motor will keep running since it “thinks” that there’s more waste to be ground.

How To Clear a Blockage in a Macerator

I advise against doing macerator repairs yourself. That is because disassembling a macerator toilet usually results in a voided warranty. Moreover, there’s a good chance you could end up doing more harm than good if you are not an experienced handyman. 

You could also accidentally cut yourself on the macerator’s blades. 

Nonetheless, some issues can be relatively easy to resolve. Once you establish that your macerator isn’t running as it should, you can do the following:

  1. Turn off the power supply.
  2. Remove the lid to see if something is stuck on the blades. 
  3. If it’s something superficial, such as toilet paper or a foreign object on the blades, using pliers to dislodge it should solve the issue. 

If the problem persists, I recommend calling a specialist to deal with the matter.

Can You Put Toilet Paper In a Saniflo? 

Saniflo is the premier brand of macerator toilets. In fact, most people use the name “Saniflo ” when talking about macerator toilets in general. As such, all the rules that apply to macerator toilets also apply to Saniflos. 

You can put toilet paper in a Saniflo. However, you must avoid dumping too much toilet paper in one go in a Saniflo to avoid jamming its macerator’s blades.

toilet paper in a saniflo

It’s also important to note that you mustn’t use regular bleach to clean a Saniflo, as bleach will damage your macerator’s stainless steel blades, shortening its lifespan. 

Instead, I recommend using this SANIFLO Descaler Cleanser (available on Amazon.com). This product is specially formulated to clean and maintain Saniflos. It does not harm Saniflo’s stainless steel and rubber components and can even help clear blockages. 

Conclusion

Macerator toilets can last for several decades with proper maintenance. Therefore, the first step to lengthening your macerator’s lifespan is educating everyone in the household on how to use the unit correctly.

Do not dump excess toilet paper at a go, as it can get tangled up on the macerator’s blades, impeding their functionality. Additionally, do not put foreign objects in the macerator to avoid jamming the machine. The only things that should go into a macerating toilet are body waste and tissue paper.