How Human Waste Biodegrades into Fertilizer (Process)

Did you know that the average human produces about a pound of poop per day? Wouldn’t it be great if that could be used to help the environment? The good news is that it can.

Breakdown Process of Waste

Image showing 4 phases of turning human waste into fertalizer

According to many other resources, there are different ways in which we can reuse human waste; for fertilizer, production of biogas, fecal transplant (used in some medical procedures), brick-making, hydrogen fuel, a source of metal ($13 million worth of metals can be extracted from the feces of one million Americans), and as a source of water.

Human waste is biodegradable and could take a few days up to a year or more to compose, depending on several factors.

Our body is designed to naturally break down our consumed foods into waste, but then we need another step to break down the waste.

3 Stages of Sewage Treatment

The commercial process of decomposing human waste is called “sewage treatment”.

image showing the process of sewage treatment

According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, there are 3 stages of sewage treatment, and the process has been successfully used for 103 years.

This procedure was replicated from nature where microorganisms help clean rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. Some materials are needed, but essentially it’s just nature taking its course.

First Phase

First, the sewage system collects the waste, the fecal matter settles to the bottom and the water on the top is skimmed off. Once the matter is isolated, then it is ready for decomposition.

Second Phase

The second phase, which involves billions of bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms work endlessly by feeding off nitrogen and phosphorus that are already present in the fecal matter. This breaks down the waste and prepares it for the next phase.

These anaerobic bacteria are particularly important because if they do not break down the material, the waste can be susceptible to extreme algae overgrowth causing toxic reaction and creating harsh chemicals like ammonia.

The waste is then put into a second tank containing high temperatures of at least 95 degrees fahrenheit and very low amounts of oxygen. These are perfect conditions for the anaerobic bacteria to continue breaking it down.

The most important part of this second phase is the extreme temperatures that help kill bacteria that we do not want seeping into our water or soil supply.

All harmful bacterias are killed in this phase, but the ones needed for decomposition stay in tact. These bacteria organisms work naturally, as their existence is designed to feed off waste and decompose it.

The remaining matter is now further broken down into water, carbon dioxide, and methane. This is the phase where the waste can be used for fuel.

Final Phase

The last phase uses this watery substance in the final process which requires drying it out. A large container is used as the matter spins vigorously and eliminates most of the water through a spinning motion, similar to a washing machine.

The remains of this last phase are called biosolids, which are used as fertilizer. Plants love human compost because it provides them with essential nutrients.

Uses of Biodegraded Waste

It is advised to only use this compost for flowers and not agriculture. Other beneficial farming uses of biosolids include reducing erosion and helping build soil structure.

4 images showing the different uses of biodegradable waste

Mass decomposing of human waste is generally left to the larger corporations. Most home human waste compost systems are rarely approved by the government, due to important fact that harmful bacterias must be destroyed in order for waste water to be safe for waterways and other uses.

However, if you would like to become more environmentally friendly and efficient, you can help the process. Some people choose to use their own waste to fertilize their gardens. This process is not as intricate and includes these steps.

  1. Break up waste to small portions
  2. Mix with other bio-organic materials such as leaves, twigs, grass, hay, or coffee grounds
  3. Make sure it is piled loosely so there is enough oxygen
  4. Earthworms may be added to help speed up decomposition.

Toilets and Decomposing Waste

Note: Household toilets do not have the capacity to help decompose waste matter.

However, some chemicals that can aid in this process are; bleach, detergent, caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), and certain enzymes. Boiling hot water also helps break it down in the toilet. Chemical tanks are used in place of other toilets where running water is not accessible. Port-o-potties, RVs, and airplanes are some examples of uses of chemical tanks. These tanks contain chemicals that assist in the process of breaking down the waste for safe disposal or reusable purposes.


Who knew that human waste was so useful? Whether you have an old septic system, a chemical tank, or regular plumbing, it is so great to know that our waste does not go to waste.

Everything about MaP Toilet Flush Scores

While choosing a toilet, you need to choose the one that delivers maximum performance and water efficiency.

Checking the MaP rating of a toilet is the easiest way of knowing how efficient the toilet is. MaP is a standard score that represents how much solid waste product can a toilet remove per flush.

Besides, the EPA’s flushing standard is also maintained which is using 1.28 GPF or less water while flushing. This way, you’ll know that the toilet can remove all the waste from its bowl without wasting much water.

Let’s dive deep into the details and find out everything you need to know about MaP ratings.

What is a MaP Score?

The term MaP stands for Maximum Performance. In MaP testing, a particular toilet model is tested with a realistic medium to measure the amount of solid waste (in grams) removed in a single flush. The amount of water is also measured to rate the toilet based on its water efficiency.

A toilet can be rated anywhere from 250 to 1000 which indicates how many grams of waste a toilet can flush. In 2002, about 22 organizations in the United States and Canada came forward to start the MaP program for low-flow toilets. Any toilet that follows the EPA’s guideline of using 1.28 gallons of water per flush is called a low-flow toilet.

MaP is a voluntary test and the test results are made public. After its introduction in 2002, it soon became a reliable standard to rate toilet models. By now, around 5,000 toilet models have been tested using the MaP method.

So, in short, the MaP score of a toilet tells you the maximum amount of waste the toilet can remove pee flush.

What Are the Standards?

As mentioned, the MaP test is done to rate the performance and efficiency of a toilet. So, these are the standards followed while performing the MaP test. Below are the details-

Toilet Performance

In simple words, toilet performance refers to the capacity for waste removal. In general, average homeowners demand toilets that removes 150g of solid waste per flush. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests a good toilet must remove 350g of solid waste in a single flush.

The MaP test is done using up to 1000g of solid waste. During the test, the toilet is rated depending on the maximum amount of waste the toilet can flush. For example, if a toilet flushes up to 400g of solid waste, the MaP rating for that toilet is 400.

Toilet Efficiency

It refers to the amount of water a toilet uses to completely remove solid waste from the toilet bowl. Nowadays, all toilets must follow the EPA’s standard flush rating of 1.28 GPF per flush. While it saves water, the low amount of water affects the toilet’s performance.

So, manufacturers use advanced technology to reduce water usage without compromising toilet performance. In fact, some MaP-certified toilets use only 0.8 gallons of water per flush.

Now, let’s take a look at the MaP standard scoring:

MaP Rating Flush Performance Recommendation

0g to 250g – Extremely Poor Performance Not Recommended

250g to 350g – Minimum Flush Performance Acceptable

350g to 600g – Strong Flush Performance Recommended

600g to 1000g – Great Flush Performance Highly Recommended

MaP Testing

To rate a toilet model, the MaP test is done by following an easy respectable method and realistic medium. A certain amount of soybean paste is used to replicate human waste. Here’s a short step-by-step process for doing the MaP test:

Step One: Preparing the Media

Typically, about 50g of soybean paste and toilet paper is mixed to prepare the test media. The mixture is given a ‘sausage’ shape. It’s about 100m long and has a 25mm diameter.

In standard laboratories, the mixture is put in a latex casing. A test specimen is then randomly selected. It weighs around 350g.

Step Two: Setting Up the Test Materials

The water level in the toilet tank should be as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. Water supply pressure should be around 50 PSIG. For the test, the recommended water temperature is 18 to 27°C or 65 to 80°F. Before conducting the test, each toilet is flushed at least three times.

After that, the flush volume is measured. As you might know, every toilet has a flush volume rate mentioned on its packaging. If the flush volume is 0.10 gallons greater than the rated flush volume, the fixture will be rejected.

Step Three: Waste Extraction Test

A drop guide is placed over the toilet bowl and the soybean paste is dropped freely into the bowl through the drop guide opening. The toilet is now flushed and the solid waste is collected with a suitable container for measurement.

To get the final MaP score, the test steps are repeated with more and more waste until the toilet fails to completely clean the bowl. The final measurements are noted and a toilet is rated depending on that result. While increasing the loading mass, the amount of waste never exceeds the standard 1000g limit.

What Is Flush-O-Meter?

Typically used in commercial toilets, a flush-o-meter is a water diverter that comes with a handle to flush commercial tankless toilets. A toilet that comes with a flush-o-meter is called a spud bowl and it uses the water pressure of the supply lines to clean the bowl.

This way, flush-o-meters save more water when compared to regular residential toilets with toilet tanks.

What are the Flush-O-Meter Commercial VS Residential Differences?

Now, you might wonder why flush-o-meters aren’t installed in residential toilets. That’s because there are some major differences between residential and flash-o-meter commercial toilets. Which includes-

Supply Line Size

To install a flush-o-meter commercial toilet, the supply lines must have a 1-inch diameter. Typically, most regular buildings have 1/2-inch supply lines. So, it’s not possible to install toilets with flush-o-meter valves in a regular house.

Besides, installing 1-inch supply pipes is way costlier than installing 1/2″ pipes. Hence, they are found only in newly made commercial buildings.


Without a doubt, flush-o-meter toilets are more water-efficient and high-performing. As they use water pressure instead of gravitational force, the flushing pressure is higher which cleans the bowl with less water.

What’re more, flush-o-meter valves work quickly and the mechanism is simpler.

Tank Size

Regular small or medium tanks used in residential areas aren’t suitable for installing flush-o-meter toilets. Larger tanks contain more water which provides sufficient pressure required for the flush-o-meter mechanism to work.

Again, larger tanks are costlier than small- and medium-sized tanks.

Loud Flushing Sound

Residential toilets with regular valves are quiet and have smooth functioning. On the other hand, flush-o-meter toilets are extremely loud. If you install these toilets in your house, your neighbors will hear a loud sound every time you flush.

This is another main reason why typical houses and apartment buildings in the US don’t use flush-o-meter toilets.

Wrapping Up!

So, that was everything you need to know about MaP. If a toilet has a MaP score between 500 and 1000, you can go for it for water efficiency and superior performance.

You can check the public database of the MaP test results to know what’s the score of your existing toilet. Finally, for commercial areas like stadiums and airports, toilets with a flush-o-meter valve are the most suitable choice.

Purpose of Toilet Vent Pipes

Maybe you’re in the middle of a DIY bathroom remodel, or maybe you’ve asked a professional to evaluate the plumbing of your new home – regardless, we bet toilet vents have come up in conversation.

These vents are easy to spot because they are exactly what they sound like; ventilation channels that run from your residence’s plumbing appliances, such as sinks, bathtubs, and, of course, toilets, up and out of the roof of your home.

Toilet vents are crucial to the painless performance of your plumbing and to a homeowner’s peace of mind.

Key Takeaways

  • Toilet vents are imperative to keeping sewage odors out of your home.
  • Plumbing ventilation systems keep your drains running smoothly.
  • P-traps catch debris and solids, as well as odors.
  • Vent caps and covers are recommended to keep your vents clear.

Toilet Vent Working or Not?

three images showing if the vent pipe does not work There are several ways to know if your toilet vents are not correctly installed or, even worse, if there is no ventilation at all.

  1. If you hear awful gurgling sounds when you flush
  2. If you have sluggish drainage with your fixtures
  3. Start to smell unpleasant odors

You may need to take a second look. Both could be caused by the lack of ventilation.

Operation of Plumbing Vents

Toilet vents allow air to enter behind the liquid moving through your drains, which create smooth flow throughout your home. The same air that helps your waste and water flow smoothly, also alleviates negative pressures and keeps your traps sealed.

image showing the pipe on the root and side of building, 4 circles with info The negative pressure is called siphonage and positive pressure is called back pressure. The balance of negative and positive air pressures in your drainage systems is imperative to an effortless and quiet plumbing system.

More importantly, a correctly installed toilet vent gives escape to sewage fumes that come from the horizontal sewage drains that run beneath your home.

These vents take the odors up and out of your roof, instead of giving them the chance to seep into your rooms.

Scenario of a Clogged Vent Pipe (My Story)

Let me share a story with you – when I was staying at my parents’ house for the holidays, I was smelling an awful odor in my bedroom. I thought to myself, whoa… that can’t be me, right?

Then, one day, as I was getting ready to wrap some Christmas gifts, I opened the storage closet adjacent to my childhood bedroom. It was like I was punched in the face with this nasty odor. This storage space, where my folks’ keep the holiday decorations and wrapping paper, had an open drain at the very back corner.

We realized during my parents’ recent bathroom remodel, the ventilation system had not been correctly installed, and therefore, unpleasant fumes were entering through that open drain and into my childhood bedroom.

Because nobody else stays in that room except when I come to visit, they hadn’t been aware of the issue.

As waste moves through the main sewage lines, vents draw air up and out. Without well installed toilet vents, you might have troublesome experiences like ours’.

Toilet Vent Connection to Main Plumbing

Toilet vents connect to the main drain, also called the stack, which should be about 4” in size and run vertically down your wall, to better aid in keeping drains unclogged.

Next you will see a secondary stack and branch drain pipes that carry water to your fixtures, and are often 1.5” to 2” in size. Vent pipes should be around 2” in size, and connect off of the main stack.

Different Types and Names

There are all sorts of vent types and names. Be sure to check the building codes in your locality to understand what venting systems are allowed and appropriate for your city.image showing six different types of vent pipes

True Vents

A true vent attaches to the main stack through the roof and has no water running through it.

Auxiliary Vents

An auxiliary vent attaches from your plumbing fixtures that may not be conveniently located to your true vent.

Common Vents

A common vent is used when two fixtures are on either side of a shared wall.


AAV or Air Admittance Valves allow air into your system when siphonage increases, then close with the help of gravity.

Wet Vents

Wet vents are drain pipes that can double as a vent, but can only be used vertically.

Loop Vents

Loop vents are ventilation tactics separate from all other stacks, and go up to the roof singularly from a fixture.

Types of Toilet Drain Traps

three images showing different drain traps For the vents to work properly, there should be 6 feet of distance between the vents and traps.

Traps, also called P-traps or S-traps, are the small round section of your drainage pipes just before the horizontal wall tube. They sort of look like the letters P or S, hence the name, or like a J, and can also be called the J-bend.

  • These traps hold water, which creates a kind of seal or dam, and acts as the barrier between odors entering your home.
  • It also collects debris, solids, and anything else that might accidentally fall down your drain.

That’s how engagement rings are found after falling down the sink; they can (luckily!) be caught in the P-trap before they wash into the main lines, never to be seen again.

But, each usage of your plumbing fixtures flushes that old water out and replaces it with fresh water in the J-bend. So, if that engagement ring does fall into the drainage depths, don’t run the water!

Vent Caps and Covers

Your vent pipes open out onto your roof and into the elements, so we suggest investing in a vent cap or cover, to keep debris and even small animals out of your drainage systems.image showing two different vent covers

Vent Caps

Vent caps are often larger and more prominent metal covering to your vent. They allow air to move freely and odors to leave your home.

Vent Covers

Vent covers, also called vent boots, can be found in rubber materials, and are installed more flush to your rooftop, providing less of a potential eye-sore.

However, rubber vent boots will contract and expand as temperatures rise and fall outside, and will more quickly deteriorate in the elements.

Detect Vent Cover Damage

You can tell if your vent cap or boot is damaged if you see water marks on your walls and ceilings in your bathrooms and kitchen, as well as shingle damage around your vent.

Outcomes of a Well Installed Toilet Vent

So, next time a plumber asks you about your toilet ventilation system, remember the following…

  • Vents pipes should be installed as a 2” PVC
  • The distance to traps should be about 6 feet
  • Your P-traps cannot be dry.

Well installed vents will give you…

  • Smooth drain flow
  • Vented odors from the main city line and septic tank
  • Lower drain noise

So if you have gurgling or clogging when you flush your toilet, or if you smell unpleasant odors, take some time to have a plumber check the vents.

The ventilation goes up and out of the roof of your home, so look into some vent covers or caps to keep your drains clear from outside debris.

If you take the time to have your toilet vents installed well, your plumbing systems will run perfectly.

Leach Field Septic System vs. City Sewers

When it comes to your waste removal, it’s important to choose the right septic system. Finding the system that suits your home will require some digging… and then more digging.

The two most popular systems are leach field systems and city sewer systems. We hope this comparison article helps guide you in the proper direction, and leads you to sewer system success.

Leach Field Septic System Explained

A leach field is a system of permeable pipelines with pierced lines running underground, carrying and breaking down waste from your home. Generally speaking, leach field systems are a good bet for homes and residences. Leach fields are affordable and, with proper maintenance, last for years.

How Leach Fields are Constructed

When you flush, solid waste remains in the septic tank to continue breaking down. The liquid waste that makes it through the filter then flows into the leach field. Lying under gravel, soil and sand, the system pipes have small holes along the side and on the bottom, where the waste can filter out.

 Pro Tip:   Leach fields are good for the environment, and do not harm any surrounding wildlife as the waste breaks down underground.

How Do Leach Fields Work

The journey from toilet bowl to leach field is pretty simple. The waste travels from your toilet to your septic tank. Microorganisms begin to break down the waste. Solid waste sinks, and sludge forms. The waste continues to break down, and eventually liquid waste heads through the underground pipes towards the leach field. Once this waste reaches the leach field, it seeps into the surrounding ground to be naturally filtered into the earth.

For a more detailed explanation of the processes involved in leach field waste treatment, check out the video above which explains how and why leach field systems fail, which can be prevented through proper maintenance.

Maintain your Leach Field

Maintaining your leach field is of the utmost importance. Luckily, leach fields are pretty low maintenance. A little TLC will go a long way in extending your leach field’s lifetime. One of the most common maintenance mistakes is neglecting to pump your septic tank and letting the sludge build up excessively.

 Pro Tip:   We recommend pumping your septic tank every two years or so, but this varies from household to household.

A quick septic care trick is to use a leach and drain field cleaner. We recommend the septic saver pods from Green Gobbler for their reliable, easy-to-use flushable pods. Along with regular septic system pumping, using a pod a month will keep your tank in tip-top shape. If you’re looking for a cleaner that can be applied directly to the drain field, you can’t go wrong with Roebic K-570 Leach and Drain Field Treatment. These options are both effective and eco-friendly.

Your pipes and leach field are sensitive to damage from construction or displacement of the earth around the leach system. The same goes for uncontrolled tree roots, which over time may grow to impact your system. Be careful not to place anything heavy or park vehicles on your leach field, and avoid construction in the area.

The amount of water running through your system can also impact your system’s functionality. Trying to break down too much waste and water, exceeding the system’s capacity, will cause an overflow. This is also the risk with heavy rain or snowfall. You can help prevent this, however, by diverting runoff and limiting your water usage. Fewer loads of laundry, shorter showers, and watering your garden in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is at its dimmest, all contribute to a healthy septic system.

What are City Sewers?

When it comes to city living, the practicality of a leach system goes down drastically. In areas with limited space and a seemingly limitless amount of people, it’s likely that there’s a city sewer system in place. Like a leach field system, every time a person flushes a toilet, takes a shower, or uses the sink, that waste needs to be removed.

City sewers may sound like they are reserved for apartment blocks and high rise buildings, but this is just a misconception. In fact, city sewers connected to your home carry waste from your septic tank directly to the manhole, or under your yard to the street, where it joins the rest of the neighborhoods waste.

 Pro Tip:   City sewers require far less maintenance on your side!

City sewer systems are owned and managed by the city, often through the city’s municipality or public authority. This system needs to be regularly maintained by those in charge in order to keep up with the demands of so many people and meet the municipality’s standards.

How City Sewage Systems are Constructed

City sewers are built using excavation techniques. Nowadays, city planners use mainly three construction techniques to build city sewer systems. These techniques are; trenching, micro tunneling and tunnel boring, depending on the layout of your home. Each of these excavation techniques have differing benefits and drawbacks that need to be considered before the construction process.

  1. Trenching: the easiest and most inexpensive excavation technique, trenching is the digging of deep trenches into the earth using a trencher. This is a great technique to use if the ground around the trench can be disturbed without risking any nearby structures. Once the pipes have been laid, the trench is simply backfilled with dirt and paved over.
  2. Micro tunneling: a better technique in the case of high-density neighborhoods and busy roads. Two pits, the jacking pit and the receiving pit, are dug. A micro tunnel boring machine (MTBM) will be placed into the jacking pit and begin tunneling towards the receiving pit. This small tunnel is drilled without disturbing the surrounding ground. MTBMs use a laser guidance system operated remotely by the contractor which avoids sending in a team or larger equipment. Once the tunnels have been drilled, the MTBM is removed from the receiving pit and the system’s sewer pipes can now be laid.
  3. Tunnel boring: this technique is used when installing larger pipes in sensitive areas. These populated, bustling areas need to remain as undisturbed as possible, even in cases where the pipes are several feet in diameter. A tunnel boring machine will clear earth from the entry pit. Then, a hydraulic jack pushes segments of pipe into the bore, coming together piece by piece.

How Do City Sewage Systems Work?

The system of a city sewer is made up of a collection of connected underground pipes or tunnels that transport the sewage to the sewage treatment centre. The fundamental principle behind how this system works is gravity. All drains are connected to downward sloping pipes, forcing waste to flow directly to the centre.

However, this is not always possible due to inconsistent sea levels and substantial excavation costs. In these cases, lift stations, otherwise known as pumping stations, are then installed at certain low points to raise the elevation of the wastewater and allow it to continue flowing downhill.

The waste produced can generate various chemicals, like hydrogen sulphide, and bacterias that could be very harmful or even deadly to the environment if incorrectly treated. Correct management of city system waste is crucial for the wellbeing of a community.

In Conclusion

Both leach field and city sewer systems are ingenious and reliable, with specific designs to make waste removal as easy as possible. Deciding which system suits your needs is crucial for a well-working septic system. After reading our guide, some careful consideration will be all you need to make the right decision for your home!

Toilet Paper History (Everything to Know)

Toilet paper rocks. No, really – what would we do without it? During the height of the pandemic, supermarket stores were selling out of toilet paper everywhere, as everyone was panicking about not having enough of this essential. 

Now that the panic has subdued and a wide variety of toilet paper is back in stock, it’s time to take a step back and assess what toilet paper is the right choice for you. After all, the average American family uses over 90 rolls a year – which can amount to hundreds of dollars annually. 

This history article is about the pros and cons of each type of toilet paper to help you best decide which one to reach for next time you’re at the store or scrolling through Amazon. 

History of Toilet Paper

We use toilet paper every day, yet how many of us actually know it’s evolution? Before toilet paper, various cultures used their own methods of cleaning up. In the Greco-Roman period, a common tool was the tersorium, a sponge on a stick. The stick would be used communally, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Greco-Romans also used pessoi, or pebbles, to wipe themselves as well. 

Other common materials used as toilet paper include but are not limited to corn cobs, animal furs, seashells, and leaves. During the Han Dynasty, long, thin bamboo sticks named salaka and cechou were used. (source) The first mentions of toilet paper actually date back to the Tang Dynasty. Back then, the fabric toilet paper was reserved only for Chinese royalty. 

The socio-economic divide in toilet paper permeated throughout many cultures. For example, during the Middle Ages, English nobility used book pages to wipe themselves while common folk used grass and hay. (source)

Modern toilet paper – that we know and love today – wasn’t available until the late 19th century. While Joseph Gayetty is credited for the invention of toilet paper, his invention’s popularity didn’t gain much traction due to the mass circulation of newspapers. Instead of paying for Gayetty’s medicated wipes, users could save money by wiping themselves with daily-delivered free newspapers. 

In the 1890s, Clarence and E. Irvin Scott introduced the concept of toilet paper on a roll. It wasn’t until the early-to-mid 20th century that toilet paper stopped being marketed as a medicinal product and more so as a common household need. With the support of doctors and plumbers behind them, the toilet industry started getting a real following. In 1928, the Hoberg Paper Company created the Charmin brand. (source)

We’ve come a long way since the dark ages. Even in the past century, natural bodily functions went from being completely taboo to talk about to being points of everyday discussion. Thanks to the Internet, we now have an endless selection of toilet paper at the tips of our fingers. It’s time to embrace the toilet paper options and figure out which roll works best for you. 

Types of Toilet Paper

Different toilet paper types vary in strength, cost, eco-friendliness, and comfort levels. When deciding which one best suits your needs, it’s all about figuring out what factor you want to prioritize. 

One-Ply Toilet Paper

The cheapest of the toilet paper types, one-ply has, as the name suggests, only one layer of paper. One-ply is cost-effective and lessens the risk of drain blockage due to its light-weight character. Because there’s only one layer, you might need to use more one-ply toilet paper to get the job done. However, when compared to multi-ply toilet paper, single-ply still tends to win in terms of cost-benefit. 

Two-Ply Toilet Paper

Just as the name suggests, two-ply toilet paper consists of two layers. Manufacturers starting producing two-ply paper once consumers requested a more durable wiping material. Two-ply toilet paper tends to be in a moderate price range. Less is more with two-ply so you don’t need to double up like you would with single-ply. The double layer also provides a softer feel that is easier on the body. 

Pro Tip: Before you buy multi-ply toilet paper, consider whether or not your toilet’s flushing system can handle large waste loads by learning more about your toilet’s water usage and MaP score. 

Three or More Ply Toilet Paper

No surprise here – three or more ply toilet paper is the most plush out of all the options. The multilayer design makes the paper very comfortable to use; the difference between this and single-ply is instantly recognizable. However, multi-layer toilet paper tends to be more expensive and less eco-friendly. The increased thickness of the paper also makes it more susceptible to clogging, especially in old toilets. 

Bamboo Toilet Paper

One of the more eco-friendly types of toilet paper is made out of bamboo. Because bamboo is a fast-growing grass, and not tree, more companies are trying to spearhead campaigns that encourage bamboo consumption in new products. Bamboo is also able to hold more water, in proportion to its weight, than its traditional counterpart. 

Recycled Toilet Paper

Recycled toilet paper is the most eco-friendly toilet paper. Made from recycled material, this toilet paper helps cut down on carbon footprint. Most recycled toilet paper is fairly thin, making it easy to flush down any toilet. Some brands use a chlorine-free bleaching process which also helps eliminate chemical usage. 

Unbleached Toilet Paper

You’ve probably seen unbleached toilet papers in public bathrooms. This cost-effective, easily flushable toilet paper is brown in color. Because it is not bleached, this toilet paper tends to be rougher to the touch; keep this in mind if you are someone with sensitive skin. 

Toilet Paper Alternative – Bidets

Bidets are bathroom fixtures that are a fantastic alternative to toilet paper. Instead of paper, you can use the nozzles in the bidet to clean yourself after toilet use. This helps cut down on toilet paper costs and keeps you in tip-top hygienic shape. 

Final Thought

The toilet paper you choose ultimately depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re worried about clogging your drain, opt in for the cost-effective single-ply or unbleached toilet paper. If you want comfort at the forefront, research multi-ply brands. The specific softness depends on the brand and it may take some trial and error to get it right.

Feel free to explore all of our other how-to articles and resource articles surrounding toilet paper and other toilet needs. We hope you enjoyed the history of toilet paper and the different types of toilet paper to choose.

Round vs. Elongated Bowls (Explained)

Modern bathroom with elegant cabinet and toilet

If you look closely, you’ll notice there are two types of toilet bowl types: round and elongated. Though this may seem like a random design choice, the type of toilet bowl you have can greatly affect your comfort level and user experience.

Your toilet bowl decision also affects the individuals in your household that may need ADA-compliant features in the bathroom. Comfort is the most important aspect that buyers look for in a toilet, alongside the price. Why not take the extra step and look into models that are truly comfortable and accessible for all?

To learn more about the core differences between round and elongated toilets, see our guide below.

Round vs. Elongated Bowl Differences Explained

The Design

The size of your bathroom will help you decide which type of toilet to buy. If your bathroom is small, then a round model may be the best choice because it takes up less space than an elongated bowl would.

Elongated toilet bowls take up the same amount of floor space as round toilet bowls, but they are longer. Think of them as oval-shaped, compared to their more circle-based counterparts. Their length tends to be more than two inches longer than their widest point horizontally. Though specific measurements will vary, round-shaped toilets will have less of a drastic difference between their widest horizontal and vertical lengths.

Elderly individuals who have trouble sitting and standing up will benefit from an elongated toilet seat because of the added stability. Smaller children will have an easier time with a round toilet.

The elongated toilet is available in a range of sizes, including compact models that will fit into smaller bathrooms.

Size and Comfort

Girl browsing on phone while sitting on toilet

Round toilets come with a smaller bowl and seat compared to their elongated counterparts, making them ideal for small bathrooms or those with limited space.

As the opening of an elongated toilet is wider than that of a round one, larger people can use them with ease. The elongated nature of the bowl disperses the user’s body weight, making them a great choice for those with mobility issues as well.

The elongated bowl also makes the toilet easier to clean, since there are fewer places in the bowl where dirt can get trapped. However, both types of toilets have models with skirted trapways, which also cuts down time on cleaning and maintenance. Without a crevice for dust to settle, the only thing the trapway needs is a gentle wipe down once in a while.

Price Tag

In general, the price of a round toilet is lower because it requires less material to manufacture than an elongated one. This means that the labor cost will be lower as well. Both bowl types use the same amount of water resulting in the same annual water bills.

Square Toilets

Yup, you read that right. Although less common, square toilets are also a design option when it comes to modern toilet bowls. Don’t worry – we were confused too. But after a few test tries, we have the information you need regarding this avant-garde bowl shape.


Square toilets have a futuristic feel to them, due to their clean lines and angular structure. Naturally, their toilet bowls take up a bit more room than their elongated and round counterparts. However, if you have the space, a square toilet can be a fun addition to your bathroom. They are solid, durable units that can become a staple piece in any space they occupy.

Installation may be a bit more difficult for square toilets due to their weight. Users have reported they opted in for professional help to avoid any complications down the road.

Square toilets don’t require any additional maintenance or cleaning techniques. In fact, most square toilets have a completely solid base due to their structural support needs. Similar to a skirted trapway, this means dust and grime don’t have any place to hide. Every once in a while, just use some mild soap and water, with a gentle wash cloth and you’re done – quick and easy, with no headache.

Size and Comfort

Surprisingly, square-shaped toilets are very comfortable! This is because the square toilet bowl provides extra support for your entire body by evenly dispersing your weight.

The large size of the toilet also reduces the chance of your body hanging off the sides while sitting. There are multiple square toilets on the market that are also ADA-compliant, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice accessibility for a funky and fresh design.

Price Tag

Square toilets tend to be slightly more expensive than round or elongated toilets. They are also less prevalent on the market so finding one that meets all your personal preferences and requirements may be a bit difficult.

Final Thoughts

Deciding whether a round or elongated – or maybe even square – toilet bowl best suits your needs comes down to personal preference and bathroom space. For compact spaces, round toilets are a better fit but keep in mind that elongated toilet bowls tend to be more accessible for different kinds of users.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, consider a square-shaped toilet as well. Though unconventional, you might find that these models are more comfortable for you. Preferences are dependent on your personal experiences. When you get a chance, try sitting on a variety of models in a bathroom-fixture store. Only by testing out the difference can you truly know what works for you.

Toilet Water Usage Guide

Ripples of water droplet

Toilet flushes are one of the biggest water wasters in the home. Though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has limited the maximum water usage per flush to 1.6 gallons, this can still add up if there are multiple individuals in your household.

How much water is used by your toilet depends on the size of your home and what kind of plumbing fixtures you have in your house.

Let’s take a look at some of the main factors that determine how much water your toilet uses.


Factors Affecting Toilet Water Usage

Toilet Design

Toilets come in two main styles: gravity and pressure-assist. Gravity models work by drawing water from the tank into the bowl through an opening near the bottom of the bowl, known as an “S” trap. Pressure-assist models use a pump that pushes water through an opening at the bottom of the bowl, known as a “U” trap.

Some toilets have a single flush while others have dual flushes. Dual flush toilets give you the option to flush smaller waste loads with less water.

Water Pressure (psi)

water flowing out of a pipe

A toilet’s water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Low flow toilets use less water because they have a lower psi than conventional toilets.

If you live in an older home with high water pressure (over 50 psi), installing a low-flow toilet may not save you as much money as expected because there will be more force behind each use of the toilet. A plumber or contractor can check your home’s psi and make recommendations if necessary.

Type of Valve

black canister valve in white background

The type of valve or fill valve you have in your toilet can make a significant difference in how much water it uses. Ballcocks can be either gravity-fed or pressure-assisted, and they come in different models.

Pressure-assist models use more water than gravity-fed models because they require incoming water pressure to force the water into the tank when you flush. Gravity-fed models rely solely on gravity, which means less water is required to fill the tank.

If your toilet was installed before 1992, there’s a good chance it uses a ballcock instead of an electronic fill valve (EFV). Ballcocks are still used in older homes because they’re cheap and easy to install, but they waste much more water than EFVs do.

Toilet Flush Water – Where it Goes…

toilet water when flushing

When you flush a toilet, water flows into the bowl and travels through holes in the bottom of the bowl, down into a drainpipe that leads to a waste pipe. This waste pipe runs through your walls, allowing waste to flow outside your home.

The main reason toilets use so much water is because it takes force to remove waste from the toilet bowl. The amount of water per flush depends on what kind of toilet you have—a low-flush toilet uses less than 1 gallon, while a full-flush toilet uses 1.6 gallons.


Dual-flush toilets allow users to choose between a full or partial flush depending on how much waste they are removing from their bowl. Pressure-assisted toilets use air pressure to make flushing easier, but they also require more energy and produce more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional gravity models.

4 Ways to Conserve Toilet Water

Now it’s time to put your conservation knowledge into action. Here are three ways of ensuring your toilet isn’t using more water than necessary.

Inspect and Replace the Flapper Valve (if necessary)

blue toilet flapper in white background

The flapper valve allows water to leave your tank and enter the bowl when you flush your toilet. A broken flapper valve will result in your toilet constantly draining water. It’ll be easy to spot because of the constant noise your toilet produces, reminiscent of a filling sound.

A flapper valve can be easily replaced without professional help. Check out our replacing a toilet flapper the right way guide to get started. 

Invest in an Eco-Friendly Toilet

Hands holding some soil with a plant on it

The EPA federal standards for toilet caps the maximum gallons per flush at 1.6, making newer toilets drastically more efficient than older models. However, if you’re in the market for an even more water-efficient toilet, it’s easy to find units that use 1.28 gallons per flush or less.

Dual-flush toilets are a great option if you’re looking to save money and water. For smaller loads, smaller amounts of water are needed. Dual-flush toilets give you the option to choose the water usage based on load size. Though specific usage depends on the model, it’s common for dual-flush toilets to use .8 to 1.0 for smaller waste loads. 

Inspect Your Filler Valve

Cylinder toilet float in white background

The filler valve connects the water supply line to your toilet tank. A poorly adjusted filler valve can cause too much or too little water to be pushed into your tank.

Identify the type of fill valve you have in your toilet and adjust the tightness of the valve based on your water level issue. A faulty fill valve may also constantly push water into your tank. 

Check for Leaks

An outer inspection of your toilet every once in a while is critical to make sure your toilet isn’t wasting water without you realizing it. Look around at the bowl as well as around the trapway. Sometimes the smallest cracks can cause ongoing water waste.

You can also place a colorful dye in your toilet water and see if any spills show up after about an hour. This will help you better see any cracks that are typically invisible to the naked eye.

These are just some of the ways you can start eliminating water waste in your home. To learn more ways how to conserve your water usage, check out 7 water conservation tips for toilets.

Bottom Line

If you want an easy way to help save water and money, replace your old toilet with one that uses less than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). There are plenty of fantastic models on the market that use 1.28 gallons per flush or even less.

Single vs. Dual Flush Toilets

Modern bathroom with elegant cabinet and toilet

Flushing a toilet is an everyday occurrence, but not everyone knows the ins and outs of this basic bathroom fixture. There are two main types of toilets on the market: single flush and dual flush. When buying a toilet, you’ll be faced with many models that offer one or the other.

While it may seem like a random decision, the type of flushing style you choose can make a huge difference in your home’s water bills and maintenance.

Take a look at our basic guide to figure out what type of flushing mechanism best suits your needs.

What are Single Flush Toilets?

A single flush toilet has one button or lever that releases all the water in the tank at once. This means that all of the waste is flushed down with the same amount of water regardless of its size or consistency. Over time, these types of toilets can be more expensive than other options because they require more water per flush.

Some models even come with an anti-jam feature that prevents clogs from forming in the pipes by allowing only small amounts of waste into the bowl at one time; if more water is needed, you just simply press the lever again.

What are Dual Flush Toilets?

A dual flush toilet is a toilet that uses two different amounts of water depending on the amount of solid waste being flushed. The two most common types of dual flush toilets include:

Two-Button Push System

This type of system has one button for the larger flush and another button for the smaller.

Single Lever With Two Levels

If you need a larger flush, push the lever fully down. For a smaller load, the lever only needs to go halfway.

So, how does a half flush work? Imagine a straw in a cup of water, but the straw only goes halfway into the cup. Once the water drops below the end of the straw, the straw won’t be able to suck any more water, and everything below that level will be unreachable. At that point, the straw will only be able to suck air instead of water, cutting off the water supply. This situation is actually very similar to how the dual flush mechanism works.

Most toilets achieve a half flush by breaking the water suction midway through the siphon action. Basically, the siphon usually has extruded cuts at the bottom which allow air to enter and break the air-tight seal. The breach in the seal results in emptying only half of the tank instead of the full tank.

Comparisons of Single Flush vs. Dual Flush

Price Tag Winner

 Dual Flush  Coins bouncing on a table

Dual flush toilets tend to cost more upfront but will save you more money down the road through your water bills. A dual flush toilet gives you the ability to drastically cut down on gallons per flush by choosing water usage based on your waste load amount. Some dual flush toilets have relatively lower water consumption even for their greatest water usage option.

For example, a dual flush toilet with a .8/1.28 gallons per flush will save you money regardless of the flush size compared to a single flush toilet that always uses 1.6 gallons per flush. 

Maintenance Winner

 Single Flush  plumbing tools for bathroom

Single flush toilets require fewer parts than dual flush toilets thus making them easier to fix in case of breakage. Replacement parts for dual flush toilets tend to be more expensive than their single flush counterparts.

Investing in a quality brand will reduce the likelihood of breakage, making maintenance costs far and few. Additionally, keep in mind that the cost savings on water usage in dual flush toilets can also offset the occasional need for replacement parts. However, if you’re looking purely at maintenance costs with no other considerations, you’ll find single flush toilets win this round. 

Environmental Winner

 Dual Flush  Hands holding some soil with a plant on it

It’s no surprise dual flush toilets are more environmentally friendly than single flush toilets. The option to use less water per flush can make a huge difference. In fact, WaterSense toilets, which are certified by the EPA, can reduce your water usage by 20 to 60 percent.

There are plenty of eco-friendly toilets that are single flush too that offer 1.28 gallons per flush or less. However, with the dual flush toilet, you have the option to slightly increase the water usage for loads that may be difficult to flush. 

Style Winner


Toilet styles are all about preference. In terms of functionality, both buttons and levers work reliably well. Dual and single flush toilets both come in a variety of designs that can even be personalized through different finishes and colors.

If you’re looking for an ADA-compliant toilet, it is important to pay attention to the toilet’s handle accessibility. ADA-compliant toilets cannot have their flush handles higher than 44” and cannot require more than five pounds of force to flush the toilet. Flushing handles need to be easily reached, with no uncomfortable maneuvering or straining of the body.

Luckily, both single and dual flush toilets have ADA-compliant models that will fit your needs. The only thing you need to decide is how you prefer your flushing handle to be designed.


What is the standard height for a dual flush round toilet?

The comfortable height for a dual flush round toilet should be between 17 and 20 inches high, around the height of the average comfortable chair. This is higher than a regular toilet, which usually stands at around 15 inches high.

Are dual flush toilets worth it?

Yes, we think so! Dual flush toilets are a short term investment with long term cost benefits. Daily, your dual flush toilet will use up to half the amount of water a traditional toilet uses in the same time frame.

What is the most budget friendly dual flush toilet?

he American Standard H2Option is the most cost effective dual flush toilet on the market right now.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to toilets, there are a lot of terms and phrases that are thrown around. Ultimately it comes down to environmental and financial benefits. Ask yourself what are the main things you are looking for in your new toilet. Is it cost, flushing efficiency, or design? This question will help narrow down what to look for in your search.

If you’re able to see your toilet as a long-term piece, consider investing in a dual flush mechanism and reap the benefits of monthly savings. In addition to being stylish, these models are comfortable and energy efficient, making them an all-around great investment.

Toilet History Resource Guide

old fancy toilet in with plants in the background

old fancy toilet in with plants in the background

History of the Flush

Flush toilets have been around for centuries, with their design staying fundamentally the same. Most toilets today use a flushing mechanism powered by water pressure to flush the toilet bowl, a system that can be dated back to 1596.

Take a look back in time to see how the flush toilet has evolved to what we now use today!

Before the Flush

ancient statue at daytime

Though the toilet’s exact history is difficult to pinpoint, early civilizations used variously sophisticated latrine systems for their bathroom needs. Oftentimes, waste was expelled into a hole in the ground, while users sat on a bench-like structure over the hole, as seen with Mesopotamians and the Indus Valley civilization.

During the Bronze Age, the Minoans of Crete were one of the first to utilize water in their toilet practices, connecting their latrines to a drainage system. Many historians credit them with the first flushable toilet, which used rainwater to clean out waste.

The First Flush Toilet

blueprint of the ajax toilet

The first flush toilet that most resembles what we use today was invented by Queen Elizabeth I’s godson, Sir John Harrington in 1596. Named the Ajax, the toilet used a system of levers and weights to open and close a leather-faced valve, which let in water from a cistern. Despite the queen’s stamp of approval, the flush toilet water closet didn’t gain popularity until many years later.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1775 that the toilet design was patented by Alexandar Cummings of London. Cumming’s invention used a cistern to store water that was sent into the bowl by a lever mechanism. The cistern would fill and then be emptied through a valve, but the design never caught on because it was difficult to clean and lacked a flushing mechanism.

Cummings used an overflow pipe with a float valve at its base instead of relying on gravity alone to empty the bowl after flushing. This made his flush-out toilet much easier to use because it required less water pressure from above-ground pipes. The system could work even when there wasn’t enough pressure for flushing toilets, such as when there was no gravity feed or when there were multiple users.

Thomas Crapper, an English plumber, patented the first toilet with an S-trap siphon system in 1860. The flush siphon toilet was a great improvement over earlier designs because it flushed completely and required less maintenance than other toilets of the time.

A few years later, the first public water supply in America began serving residents of Great Barrington, Massachusetts with water from Lake Quassapaug. Unfortunately, the lake had been contaminated by raw sewage due to a lack of sanitation facilities at that time, resulting in people drinking untreated water.

In 1891, William Sloan invented the first septic tank which allowed homeowners to dispose of sewage without having to connect their homes directly to sewer lines or other common disposal systems found in urban areas at that time. The septic tanks were located near residences so they could be easily emptied.

The Advancements Going into the 20th Century

20th-century-bathroom with pink walls

The 20th century brought plumbing to the masses, through new and improved toilets.

In 1925, John Jacob Guggenheim founded the American Standard Company and set out to revolutionize the design of toilets, creating a top-selling model known as the Champion.

The Champion’s most notable feature was its strong flushing action, which used up to four gallons of water per flush. It also boasted a curved bowl that was designed to prevent clogs by making it harder for solid waste to get stuck in crevices between the bowl and tank.

In 1932, the wash-down toilet was introduced by Kohler Co., which included a small sink built into its tank. This allowed people to wash their hands without having to leave the bathroom or go outside.

Here’s What You Need to Know about the Latest Generation of Toilets:

A modern toilet in an aesthetic bathroom

Today, flush toilets are made with two parts — a bowl and a tank. The bowl holds water that flushes waste down through a pipe system into a special tank called the septic tank or sewer system depending on where you live.

The water in the tank helps push waste through pipes leading to treatment plants where it’s filtered and processed before being discharged into rivers or underground mine shafts that lead back to our drinking water supply.

Modern flush toilets are much more efficient than their predecessors because they use at most, 1.6 gallons per flush. Older models required up to six gallons of water per flush and often had problems with clogs and leaks.

Bottom Line

The flush toilet is one of the most important inventions in history. It has improved our hygiene and quality of life in ways that are simply impossible to overstate. Getting to know the toilet’s history can show you truly show you how far we’ve come in bathroom advancements.