Toilet Paper Alternatives

Toilet Paper Alternatives

Toilet Paper Alternatives Introduction

Toilet paper alternatives… did you ever think this would be a real legitimate need? Me neither, honestly. I know I’ve prepared for it, but that’s always been a thing in the back of my mind. Not something I would expect to see actually happening. Being a prepper and a homemaker, I’m always looking at plan b, and even c, and being more sustainable overall. But a toilet paper shortage was certainly not high on my list of emergencies happening.

But stores across many countries are seeing empty shelves and it seems almost impossible to find toilet paper. Any paper or cleaning products, really. It has certainly been interesting to see what is in high demand during the Coronavirus. 

Hopefully you had a stash of toilet paper stocked up before the virus started, and this wasn’t a huge deal for you. I’m so glad that I did! But this certainly got me thinking about toilet paper alternatives and the options that are out there. The good news is that there are alternatives to toilet paper that can be used, and definitely considered if this shortage continues. 

Here are some toilet paper alternatives!

Toilet Paper Alternatives
Toilet Paper Alternatives

Toilet Paper Alternatives

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are an excellent alternative to toilet paper. I keep a fairly good size stock of these at home just in case. They are also perfect to take camping or any other time a shower isn’t an option. 

Baby wipes generally do not irritate the skin, but be sure to check the ingredient list just to be sure. My booty would not be the place I want irritated skin! Wipes are more expensive than toilet paper, but certainly a good alternative for toilet paper, in my opinion. 

Be careful about the package size though. Once opened, they need to be used. If you’re just going to use them for a few days or have a small family, pick a smaller package. Once the wipes are open and exposed to air, they mold since they are wet. Mold is gross and not something anyone wants near their booty. If a larger package will be used fairly quickly in your home, buy that. Bigger is generally cheaper, but keep the mold aspect in mind when picking package size. 

With baby wipes, also be very careful about flushing. Many products say they are flushable, but as many people with experience will tell you, it is a lie. Wipes don’t break down enough to make it through the pipes and septic system. I would recommend investing in a sturdy trash can with a lid and removable plastic liners for easy disposal. 

Toilet Paper Alternatives
Toilet Paper Alternatives


A bidet is basically a sink for your booty and nether parts. The history of bidets is certainly an interesting one! Especially from a cultural aspect. I won’t go into that here, but feel free to search bidet on the internet and read up on it. 

A bidet can be a stand-alone piece of furniture in a bathroom, just like the toilet. Or there are attachments to buy to add to the toilet. I have seen preppers create a bidet out of a garden sprayer too by taking the tank and filling it with water and then spraying themselves down there after using the bathroom. 

With a bidet, it does require a bit of flexibility as well as getting accustomed to using it as a replacement for toilet paper. If you are going this route, I recommend keeping a towel just for this purpose handy because you will get wet. This alternative could get a little messy if you aren’t careful. 

Toilet Paper Alternatives
Toilet Paper Alternatives

Sanitary Pads

From a convenience standpoint, these are a great alternative. Because most women already have sanitary pads in the bathroom. Trying to find them shouldn’t be difficult. 

Sanitary pads are also soft and absorbent. When you think about the job they do, soft and absorbent are definitely requirements. But they are much thicker than traditional toilet paper. 

The big drawback with sanitary pads is cost. They aren’t cheap, and certainly not something to use frivolously, especially if using as an alternative to toilet paper. As with most things on this list, do not flush sanitary pads! I think that should be obvious, but I’m sure many plumbers have experienced this problem. 

There are reusable sanitary pads, so if someone is comfortable washing and reusing them, this could be a very viable option. I haven’t tried reusable ones myself, so I have no opinion on it. 

Toilet Paper Alternatives
Toilet Paper Alternatives

Cloth Diapers

This option makes perfect sense to me because what are cloth diapers for? Well, containing waste messes. They are thick though, so wiping may take some practice to become comfortable using in place of toilet paper. 

When washing cloth diapers, wash them on the sanitize setting with soap and bleach. If your washing machine does not have a sanitize setting, go for the hottest water possible and a heavy load. An extra rinse cycle would not hurt either. 

Cloth diapers also have multiple uses around the house such as dust rags or cleaning rags. I bought some just for the purpose of cleaning around the house due to the thickness and being sturdy and reusable. I also leave a couple in my vehicle to clean the windows and dash. 

Toilet Paper Alternatives
Toilet Paper Alternatives

Napkins and Tissue

Raise your hand if you have a stash of fast food napkins stashed in your vehicle? Me too! These aren’t the most fabulous option to replace toilet paper because they aren’t nearly as soft. But they do get the job done when needed. It may be time to bring some into the house just in case. 

Tissue is very thin and delicate, but very soft. But that delicacy takes away from durability. Cost wise, this is probably not a good choice for anything long-term, but it will get the job done in a pinch. If you are considering this to be a viable option, make sure the tissues are fragrance-free though. 

Once again, do not flush these. Dispose of them in a trash can, preferably one with a lid and disposable liner. 

Toilet Paper Alternatives
Toilet Paper Alternatives

Towels and Washcloths

Most of us have a couple of towels that have seen far better days and are on the last leg. Cutting them up into washcloth size squares could be an excellent option to replace toilet paper. One of the cheapest as well because it is recycling something we already have. Plus towels and washcloths do just fine on the sanitize setting of washers and dryers. 

Because of being super absorbent, these need to be washed thoroughly. My recommendation would be having one specifically for every member of the household since germs and bacteria can be transferred from one person to another, if the towels and washcloths are not sanitized and cleaned properly. 

If possible, give each household member a different color towel or washcloth, that way the spread of potential germs is decreased. 

Toilet Paper Alternatives

Toilet Paper Alternatives Notes 

Do not flush any disposable alternatives that I have listed here. That spells disaster and can cost you a lot more money. Plus with so many people being at home all the time, I’d be willing to bet that plumbers are already up to their eyeballs in work. That can slow down everything and create a bigger problem. Save yourself the time, money, and headache. 

A trash can for disposable and non-disposable toilet paper alternatives is important. Do not pick anything without a lid or without a disposable liner inside. Do not mix the two either. If using both options, have two trash cans for them as well. 

Toilet Paper Alternatives
Toilet Paper Alternatives

Toilet Paper Alternatives Discussion

Do you have any suggestions on alternatives to toilet paper? If so, let me know in the comments! 


  • Kelly Martin

    Lots of good toilet paper alternatives here Erica. Thankfully the toilet paper supplies have returned to normal here now so I won’t have to resort to using any of these alternatives! I’m buying a few extra rolls each shop just in case.

  • jerry godinho

    When i first looked at the post i thought maybe she is recommending grass or leaves. Yes, there is a shortage across the country and prices have gone up. I like all your alternatives. In the last couple of weeks the aisles are getting filled with the best toilet paper again. Thanks for this post and a topic not many people talk about.

  • Dreams Abroad

    But Erica you forgot the most important one… leaves!!! HAHA I only bring this up because when I was in the army toilet paper alternatives were very important when we were in the field. I believe we all had to go this route more than once.

    • Subhashish Roy

      Bidets are absolutely new to me and really had to search the internet to get an understanding. Luckily in our country we do not use the toilet paper so much yet there was a shortage for some time though now it’s back to normal. Love the alternatives.

  • Lyosha

    I am a huge fan of bidet, it’s my favorite. comfortable, clean, fresh and very gentle for gentle parts. the only con for me is that sing regular tp feels way way less comfortable

  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan

    It seems crazy that toilet paper has been so hard to find. When this all started, the grandkids were staying with us, and I had to go to several stores just to find baby wipes for the 9 month old. I really thought you should have had to buy a pack of diapers for every package of baby wipes you purchased.

    If you do end up using cloth, make sure to keep a diaper pail or bucket with bleach water in the bathroom to put the soiled rags in to soak before washing.

  • Kat

    Some good options here. Everyone who was panicking about toilet paper this spring should read this. I was really confused by this panic, as there seemed some much bigger problems to worry about. Worst case scenario, there’s always the shower or just some paper/ newspaper.

    I love how you emphasize not flushing many of these alternatives down the toilet, as this can cause a lot of expensive and annoying issues.

  • Britt K

    You’ve got some good suggestions here if someone finds themselves stuck. Who would have thought that 2020 would have us all reconsidering our toilet paper options while people literally fought over packages of it in the stores… Luckily, around here anyway, the hoarding has slowed considerably and that has allowed stores to actually stock up again for the rest of us. I have nothing against preppers that have slowly saved up their supplies, but I will never understand the need to run out and buy everything available when an emergency situation hits, leaving no supplies for others.

  • Silke Hoj

    Large green plant leaves can be an effective toilet paper alternative. Obviously, you should not use leaves from plants that may cause irritation such as; poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. Avoid leaves with pokey edges like the Oregon grape, ouch!

  • Scott DeNicola

    Not to get too graphic but toilet paper In general doesn’t really seem like the most hygienic of choices compared to say a baby wipe or bidet. If you really want to make sure you’ve taken care of business after taking care of your business than I’d opt for the wipe every time. A friend of ours just bought a new house that has a bidet and it was hilarious seeing the expression on my youngest daughters face and her firmed when we explained what it was. They couldn’t figure out why there was a sink so low to the ground. They thought you washed your feet in it. 😀

  • Sonia Seivwright

    I only bought 2 buncks of 12 Toliet paper and we still using them. Which is funny because I was panickingn that they’d run out in store. I like the scent of wipes. I think our bums will be cleaner with wipes.

  • Nicole Anderson

    If the pandemic had been forecasted, I don’t think I would ever have foreseen that toilet paper could or would be in short supply. To my knowledge, most places in the world had not started to run short on the level of supplies they USUALLY would have gone through. Just why people developed such a fixation on hoarding this one product in connection with pandemic restrictions is beyond me. Those that panicked this way really needed to understand that normal supply had not been at risk AND there are in fact other alternatives that you have pointed out really well here. Had people actually just continued to buy as normal, there would have been no shortages to begin with. I guess that says something about human nature. Go figure…

  • Stephanie S

    What a great list of toilet paper alternatives. This year my mom actually sent us a bidet. This happened shortly after the pandemic started, and everyone left the shelves empty. I was thankful that we still had some toilet paper, but the bidet was given for a just in case situation. I really like that you gave many suggestions, and there were many on here I hadn’t thought of. Thank you for sharing these with us.

  • LuLu B

    It still blows my mind how everyone went crazy over toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic. That didn’t happen here in Italy, but then again everyone here has a bidet and I couldn’t imagine my life without one haha!

  • Luanne Price

    Most us us have old tee shirts right? I cut them into 6-8 inch squares. For the car I just put some in a gallon zip lock & use another zip lock for the used ones & throw in wash at home & bleach. Just like people did with cloth diapers. I keep a couple of zip locks full of clean squares at home to in case power goes out & put used ones in a coffee can until I can wash.

    • The Prepping Wife

      Old t-shirts are an excellent alternative to toilet paper, Luanne! I love the idea of keeping some in your vehicle as well.

  • April

    I get flannel sheets from the dumpster at the second hand store… cut those into 6 inch and 12 inch squares… toilet paper… towels… glasses cleaners…. flannel has many uses… can suffice for feminine pads (particularly if sewn into a logical shape with several layers)

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