I am from a country where the toilet paper is not flushed but thrown to a bin close to the toilet. I think that the European system is more hygienic, but I always have this question when I use the toilet.

I usually end up flushing several times in order to prevent a possible clog, but I don't want to waste more water than needed.

How could I know when is too much paper? Is there any trick or rule of thumb? Or do I have to learn the hard way clogging a few times the bathroom?

  • I do not have experience with this, but my own observation is: flush the toilet, if it's the type that fills a bit and makes a slow "swirl" then avoid throwing tissues, if it's the type that has a strong stream kind of flush, then throw them.. that's what i do and it always worked.. Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 21:59
  • @NeanDerThal that effectively doubles your water usage....
    – ajd
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 23:51
  • @NeanDerThal You never throw tissues in any toilet...
    – user40521
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 14:12
  • @JanDoggen this is travel.SE, not english.SE 😂 Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 17:58

4 Answers 4


A European toilet can easily handle 10-15 sheets, don't worry. It depends a little on the thickness of the paper and the quality of the plumbing of course.
You don't have to flush multiple times.

  • 7
    You flush as often as needed until everything is gone. Which is usually but not always once. And only toilet paper, no other paper.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 23:12
  • 1
    This is the case in Europe EXCEPT in Greece. Some modern Greek toilets may be OK, but there is often a bin for toilet paper.
    – NL_Derek
    Commented Jan 1 at 19:56

note that you should use only toilet paper, not tissues or anything else, which will cause a block more likely.

If by chance you will be in Italy, it will be easier, we have also bidet with which you can clean yourself without having to use 1 kg of paper.


The accepted answer is true for most toilets and most toilet tissue varieties and most circumstances: True, typical toilets are designed to handle typical use cases. But an unlucky combination may lead to clogging, so when in doubt, simply flush twice, for example before starting to wipe, or even in the middle of it.

Examples for what can go wrong:

  • Old or compromised plumbing. Pipes accrue layers of deposits on their walls and become narrower and narrower over time. Some sewage pipes are narrower than today's standards to begin with, or have unusually sharp kinks and turns or unusually little incline in order to accommodate available space, or have a foreign object wedged into them that allows fluids to pass but tends to clog on large amounts of toilet paper.
  • Your predecessor had a lot to flush down, so not everything flushed all the way and the pipe is not clear all the way yet, even if it appears so from above. (This may happen, for example, if they used the "small flush" button.)
  • The toilet paper is of a luxurious, thick, multi-layer quality, and you used quite a bit of it, for example because you are American (Americans tend to bunch up a large amount of paper into a wad instead of simply folding a few sheets into a few layers). I live with an American, and our modern toilet has clogged up more than once.

I have lived in Europe most of my life and had to handle the odd stomach bug or other All-adults-here cases resulting in a lot of toilet paper going down that drain. Rough estimates being upwards of 25 sheets of triple-layered paper.

I have yet to have a toilet flush fail on me.

They are built to cope with what is expected to come down.

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