No matter if you find yourself without toilet paper because you forgot to buy or because you simply couldn’t find any, do not worry as there are plenty of alternatives to toilet paper, and some of them you already have in your home. Most people would have never thought that there would be a shortage of toilet paper, but as you can see things can quickly change, and once people panic they will do irrational things like hoarding toilet paper.
During the lockdown a lot of people have found themselves without toilet paper, and not because the supply chain was broken but because demand grew 100x, due to people panic buying toilet paper. What most people do not realize is that most toilet papers are produced locally, and it is rarely imported as the cost of the transportation would be a lot higher than the cost of the actual toilet paper.
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Thought history humanity has been using different items for toilet paper, although in the past couple of decades we have been spoiled by soft and mild toilet paper. A couple of thousands of years ago, paper was a valuable commodity and it was exclusively used as something to write on rather than as toilet paper. We do not know for the most part what toilet papers have been used in ancient times, but we do know what the Romans have used.
The Romans used living sponges as toilet paper, oftentimes they would attach them to a stick. Although keep in mind that in ancient times only rich people had toilets in their homes, and the vast majority of people were using public bathrooms, which made sitting on a toilet a social thing. If you want to stockpile toilet paper because you are worried about an economic collapse then check out my recent article How to prepare for economic collapse ( In 22 Steps ).
1. Use a bidet as an alternative to toilet paper
By far one of the best alternatives to toilet paper is a bidet, this is probably one of the most hygienic ways of keeping yourself clean. Now if you find yourself without toilet paper right now, then odds are that you probably do not have a bidet. As with everything in life you will need some foresight if you want to use a bidet instead of toilet paper. There are simple devices that you can hook up to your toilet which turn your toilet into a bidet, you can find them in almost any specialized shop.
In Europe for example you will often see in bathrooms that there is a toilet with a bidet next to it. In Italy, there is a law that requires every bathroom to have a standalone bidet, and this law was made back in the ’70s. While using a bidet you will need either a towel or some paper to dry off your behind, but other than that it is probably the best alternative to toilet paper. You can not use duct tape as toilet paper, but duct tape has a lot of uses, for more information check out my recent article Preppers uses for duct tape ( Top 44 Uses ).
2. Use a shower as an alternative to toilet paper
If you are reading this article while you are sitting on the toilet without any toilet paper and thinking what to do, then look no further, the answer to your problem is right there in the bathroom beside you. Just take the shower head and clean yourself with it, just do not place your shower head in the toilet. This is by far one of the easiest, cheapest, and most hygienic alternatives to toilet paper.
Asian countries have toilets to which there is a showerhead attached, these are called bum guns, and they work as bidets do.
3. Use paper napkins instead of toilet paper
Most people will have napkins, but they will simply forget about them when they are sitting on the toilet. Just look around in your kitchen and odds are that you do have some square napkins or even a napkin roll at hand. The best part about napkins is that you can safely flush them down the toilet and they will not clog up your toilet. If you also want to know how to clean yourself without a shower then check out my recent article How to get clean without a shower ( Top 10 Options ).
4. Use baby wipes as an alternative to toilet paper
Baby wipes are toilet papers designed for babies and small children, usually, these are wet wipes that also include some active ingredients like aloe vera. Some households only use baby wipes all year round, but not all baby wipes are good to be used as toilet paper. Some baby wipes do not actually disintegrate when they come in contact with water, which will sooner or later clog up your toilet.
If you are planning to use baby wipes, or wet wipes, make sure that they are safe to be flushed down the toilet. Alternatively, if you do not find baby wipes that are good to be flushed down the toilet then you have to throw them away in your garbage bin, whatever you do, do not flush them if they are not meant to be flushed down the toilet.
5. Use a handkerchief instead of toilet paper
If you own a couple of suits then odds are that some of them do have a handkerchief which you can use toilet paper. Just make sure to throw them away after you have used them and do not flush them down the toilet.
6. Use makeup remover as an alternative to toilet paper
The beauty industry is big business, and they are selling small pieces of cloth for a massive profit, but just because they are makeup remover cloths that doesn’t mean that in case of an emergency you can not use them as an alternative to toilet paper. Just make sure not to flush them down, as they do not break down in the water which will end up clogging your toilet.
7. Use flannel squares as an alternative to toilet paper
Flannel squares are reusable toilet papers, they are mostly made out of cotton flannel and they can be washed fairly easily. These are also called family rags in some areas and a lot of people are using them across the world. The problem with flannel squares is that they are not the most hygienic alternatives to toilet paper. Once you have done your business and cleaned yourself up you will have to put the flannel squares in a bag, so you do not smell it all day long until you find some time to wash it.
If you live alone then you won’t have a lot of trouble using and washing the flannel squares, but if you have a large family then you will fill an entire hamper with the flannel squares, and trust me everybody will hate the day when you wash the flannel squares.
8. Use paper receipts as an alternative to toilet paper
Everybody has a couple of receipts in their home, and for the most part, they are just occupying space. If you find yourself without any toilet paper, then you might as well use the receipts. Just keep in mind not to fish them down the toilet, as these will clog up the toilet. If you want to store water for the long term then check out my recent article How to store water long term ( In 7 Easy Steps ).
9. Use a sponge as an alternative to toilet paper
A simple sponge can do wonders when you are out of toilet paper, most people have old sponges that they repurpose. Just make sure that you didn’t use the sponge for cleaning anything as some chemicals will burn you where you wouldn’t want it to burn. You can even find specialized sponges that are meant to be a replacement or an alternative to toilet paper. The drawback of these sponges is that you have to wash them as soon as possible, ideally right after you have cleaned yourself.
10. Use a natural sponge as an alternative to toilet paper
In ancient times most of the ruling class which had access to the Mediterrane sea were using natural sponges as toilet paper. You can find these natural sponges in a lot of stores, although they do cost a fair bit more than regular sponges. The biggest problem with natural sponges is that some of them will brittle if they do not come in contact with water for a long time. On the other hand, there are some types of natural sponges that are actually harvested to be used as toilet paper.
11. Use cotton wool as an alternative to toilet paper
If you do not have toilet paper right this moment then odds are that you do have some cotton wool in your bathroom. Cotton wool can be as efficient as toilet paper and it is fairly hygienic. The most important thing which you should keep in mind is not to flush the cotton wool down the toilet as it will clog the toilet. After you have cleaned yourself up, just put it in a plastic bag so it doesn’t smell and just throw it away.
12. Use old shirts as an alternative to toilet paper
A lot of people do not want to waste anything in their home, and they will oftentimes repurpose items such as old shirts. I personally use my old shirts as cleaning rags, these work extremely well and they do not cost any money. On the other hand, some people will repurpose old shirts into a toilet paper alternative, this is more or less the same as flannel squares, but homemade. Although it is not the most hygienic alternative to toilet paper, but if you do not have any other option you can use it.
13. Use old socks as an alternative to toilet paper
Odds are that you do have a couple of old worn-out socks, you can use these as toilet paper. Just make sure that they are actually clean, if they are not then do not use them. The last thing you would want is to use a dirty old sock for cleaning yourself, as who knows what kinds of bacteria are living on the dirty socks. After you have used the old socks to clean yourself, just place them into a plastic bag and throw them away, or you can wash them if you want to reuse them.
14. Use a cleansing bottle as an alternative to toilet paper
Cleansing bottles will have a specialized top that you can use to spray yourself with water and clean yourself that way. Just fill the bottle with some lukewarm water and there you go, it is extremely easy to use. Just make sure to clean the bottle after you have used it. There are some cleansing bottles that are sold as portable bidets, you do not need these, any cleansing bottle with a spray top will do.
15. Use leaves as an alternative to toilet paper
People have been using leaves as toilet paper for thousands of years, and you shouldn’t have any problem finding a couple of leaves. Make sure to use green leaves, and also clean them off before you use them, a lot of bugs live on leaves, and the last thing you would want is to use them as toilet paper. Make sure that the leaves do not have spikes or other things that could irritate your skin.
16. Use newspaper as an alternative to toilet paper
Newspapers, flyers, catalogs, magazines, and so on can be a viable alternative to toilet paper. These do not have the best absorption rate when it comes to water, but you can still use them as toilet paper. Just keep in mind not to flush them down the toilet, as they will definitely clog up your toilet sooner or later. During the lockdown, some newspapers and magazines have actually included a couple of pages that were meant to be used as toilet paper.
17. Use snow as an alternative to toilet paper
Yes, you have heard it right, you can actually use snow as toilet paper. The Eskimos have been using snow as toilet paper for a very long time. Snow tends to absorb water extremely well, and it is a fairly good alternative to toilet paper. The problem with snow is that it is kind of cold, so get ready to clench, also make sure to wipe yourself from the excess water, the last thing you would want during the winter is a wet behind.
18. Use moss as an alternative to toilet paper
Mosses can be an ideal substitute for toilet paper, most of them are full of water which will make cleaning yourself with them fairly easy. Although you have to make sure that the moss doesn’t contain any bugs, as a lot of bugs tend to lay their eggs in mosses. Once you have done your business and finished cleaning yourself off, just throw it away. If you wonder for what else you can use mosses, then check out my recent article Can you eat moss? ( Top 8 Edible Mosses ).
19. Use a flat rock as an alternative to toilet paper
If you are in the middle of nowhere and you can not find anything with which to wipe yourself, then you can use a flat rock. Make sure that the rock is as smooth as possible, this way you will not injure yourself. Just use the rock as an oversized toilet paper and you should be fine. You can easily wash the rock off if you are near a stream or river, and generally speaking, river rocks are the best for use as toilet paper as these are a lot smoother.
20. Use corn husks as an alternative to toilet paper
Corn husks have actually been used as toilet paper by the pioneers, although you will not see a lot of people using corn husks as toilet paper, but you can still use them. Dried corn husks are not the softest toilet paper, but you can soak them in water for a couple of hours before you use them. This way they will soften up, and will even help you moisturize your “cleaning area”.
21. Use your hands as an alternative to toilet paper
If you have no other option then you can use your hands to clean yourself. Just make sure that you do have something to clean your hands as well, and as soon as possible.
As you can see even if you find yourself without toilet paper you can still use some alternatives to toilet paper, and odds are that some of these items you already have in your bathroom, but you just never thought of them as toilet paper.