Here I am…
34-years old, mother of three, successful business owner… writing a post about toilet paper alternatives.
Life is weird.
The empty store shelves and non-stop Facebook posts about paper products have shown me that Americans put a higher priority on toilet paper than I ever thought possible.
I’m hopeful that in a week or two, this post will be completely unnecessary, as the store shelves will be overflowing with paper products once again.
Regardless, I like to think ahead. It’s just how I roll. (No pun intended…)
And even though we’re currently good on the toilet paper front, I can’t help but think what we would do if we ran out.
The good news??
Humans have lived without toilet paper for THOUSANDS of years. We can do this, people. It’s possible.
Will you need these toilet paper alternatives? Probably not. But at the very least, knowing they exist will give you some peace of mind and hey, you just never know…
You probably have access to at least a few of these toilet paper options posted below. Just make sure you don’t flush anything that is NOT toilet paper down the toilet. Backed up plumbing is the last thing you need right now….
(By the way, if you’ve also run out of cleaning supplies, check out my essential oil cleaning recipes, too).
Toilet Paper Alternatives
1. A Bidet
Bidets are already very popular in Europe and other parts of the world, but for some reason Americans haven’t been super interested in the notion. Until now, perhaps. This is the best alternative to toilet paper, HOWEVER they are selling out on Amazon fast right now, so if you’re thinking about getting a bidet online, don’t wait too long!
There are a few types of bidets available nowadays. The older bidet type is the one that is a separate from your toilet. Fortunately, modern bidets can be added to your toilet seat and activated by a button. These modern types seem to be easy to install and decently priced.
2. Family Cloth
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, family cloth is a reuseable alternative to toilet paper that is made from rags, fabric squares, flannel cloth, and other cloth-type materials around the home.
(Fun Fact: Back in my SUPER frugal days (before there was even a toilet paper shortage), I tried to convince Christian to switch to family cloth. He refused.)
Simply place your family cloth in a basket on top of the toilet, and have a sealed waterproof container next to the toilet to hold the dirty cloths.
Some practical tips for using family cloth as a toilet paper alternative:
- Cut the cloths with pinking shears to prevent fraying around the edges.
- Consider using different colors for each member of the family.
- Use the softest materials you can find around the home.
- Add a splash of vinegar or a sprinkle of baking soda to the presoak container.
- Wash family cloth as you would cloth diapers.
Here’s some ideas of what fabric you can use as family cloth.
Cut them up into 5×5-inch squares for ease of use:
- Flannel blankets
- Old t-shirts or other soft shirts (cotton is one of the better materials to use)
- Towels and washcloths
- Old bed sheets
- Leftover fabric from a quilt project
- Worn out socks
3. Random Paper Products
Paper products aren’t usually a frugal or environmentally-friendly response for toilet paper alternatives, but in desperation, these paper products can work in a pinch.
Note: DO NOT flush any of these down the toilet since that could clog up the sewer system. Seriously… how horrible would it be to have no toilet paper plus backed-up pipes? Insult to injury…
Also, some of these paper product ideas could be a bit abrasive, so you might want to soak them first.
Some paper product ideas include:
- Newspaper: One of the more comfortable paper product options, but many of us don’t get newspapers anymore, so this might be difficult to find.
- Notebook paper: Old letters, school notes, etc. could work in a pinch.
- Coffee Filters: You can get coffee filters pretty cheap at the store, and they work pretty well as a toilet paper alternative.
- Paper Towels and Paper Napkins: These are a more abrasive option, but again, great for emergency use.
- Facial Tissues: Tissues can work great for an emergency.
There are a few creative options that use water (besides the bidet) for some toilet paper alternatives. Here’s some ideas:
- Peri bottles: Peri bottles, also known as cleansing bottles, are often used by women after childbirth. The bottle is filled with water and squeezed out with force to clean the area.
- Spray bottles: Use as you would a Peri bottle.
- Water bottles: I’m not trying to encourage you to buy all the water bottles which is another crazy thing happening right now, BUT if you happened to have a water bottle handy and it’s an emergency, you could use that in a similar way as a Peri bottle.
Perhaps these ideas would fit more into a camping/survival scenario, but I thought I’d include them here anyway…
There are a lot of plants that you can use for a toilet paper emergency. Ideally, you want to use soft leaves and make sure you identify the plants so you’re not rubbing something like poison ivy all over your body. Also, make sure you don’t take plants from areas that might have been sprayed with chemicals and pesticide.
Here are some plant alternatives to toilet paper:
- Mullein and Lamb’s ear: These are very soft and fuzzy leafed plants that are water absorbent. They are found almost everywhere, too, so keep your eyes open for them!
- Moss: Moss is super soft and usually found in damp environments around your yard. Inspect it thoroughly for bugs first, because they love hanging out in moss, too.
- Corn Husks: Traditionally, corn husks were often used as toilet paper. Green corn husks are soft and perfect as a toilet paper alternative. If you use dried husks, you should soak them in water to soften them before use.
- Banana Leaves: Not an option for prairie-dwellers like me, but for the tropical regions, you could use soft and large banana leaves for toilet paper.
- Tree Leaves: This isn’t the most comfortable option, but in an emergency, larger leaves like maple leaves could work.
- Lettuce: In an absolute emergency, large lettuce leaves and chard leaves could also work.
My Final Thoughts on Toilet Paper Alternatives…
We’re living in an unprecedented time… There is so much we *can’t* control, but for me, I find a lot of reassurance in finding creative ways to take charge of our own personal situation, whether it’s making simple bread from-scratch, or having a mental list of toilet paper options just in case. There’s no better time to channel that old-time homestead ingenuity, my friends.
And one day, our children will be telling their grandchildren about the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020…