Updated 3-20-20 8:10 a.m.
The maker of Charmin toilet paper, Procter & Gamble, says they're making it as fast as they can, but people are still reporting empty shelves as others stockpile in case of quarantine. The run on toilet paper has the Metropolitan Sewer District trumpeting a longtime message.
Spokeswoman Deb Leonard says only a few things should be flushed.
"MSD encourages all its customers to always love their loo. And if you love your loo, you'll only flush toilet paper, pee and poo. Those are the only things you should be flushing down your toilet or putting down your drain."
As people find toilet paper shelves empty when they go shopping, some folks may consider alternatives to TP. Leonard says please don't flush so-called flushable wipes. "Technically, they will flush down your toilet. However, they don't break down in water like toilet paper. They're very fibrous," she says. "What happens is they wrap around our equipment and cause damage. They also love to mix with cooking grease and oils to cause what we call fatbergs, which are basically congealed solids masses that clog our pipes."
Leonard says the same goes with other TP alternatives. "They're not manufactured to break down like toilet paper. We all know how easily toilet paper breaks down in water. Napkins and paper towels are much more fibrous."
She says a majority of sewer back-ups are caused by clogs from undissolved materials.
This story has been updated to correct a spelling error.