Never in my lifetime did I think I’d see the day when store shelves were ‘wiped’ clean of toilet paper. But, here we are my friends! To help you out, I’ve created this list of toilet paper alternatives you can use when you’re in a bind and you need to wipe your behind.
Toilet Paper Alternatives: 40 Things To Use When The Stores Run Out
On a positive note, running out of toilet paper may actually help you declutter your home! You’ll likely find that many of the items on this list are taking up space in your closets, cabinets, and drawers.
It’s important to note: The ONLY thing you should be flushing down your toilet is toilet paper! Even ‘flushable’ wipes can damage your plumbing and septic system. If you utilize any of these alternatives, please dispose of them safely in a trash bag.
Toilet paper history lesson
Toilet paper (that is the use of paper to clean oneself after using the toilet), has actually been around since the 6th century AD (first recorded). Although, I suspect royals and upper-class citizens used paper on their pampered behinds long before that.
Toilet paper as we know it was invented by Joseph Gayetty, in 1857 and was originally sold in flat sheets. In 1890, Scott Paper Company began selling toilet paper in roll form.
What did people use before toilet paper?
Before the invention of toilet paper, people used whatever was ‘handy’. Yes, they even used their hands. Some cultures still do. Leaves, rags, stones, hay, snow, moss, corncobs, water, and seashells (ouch) were also commonly used.
The Romans used a sponge on a stick, which was then soaked in a bucket of vinegar. You literally would not want to grab the wrong end of THAT stick!
Colonial Americans used corn cobs and later, newspapers, to clean their tushies.
The French used bidets (and still do).
Reasonable toilet paper alternatives
Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you use rocks, shells, or moss to wipe your behind! These days, there are far more comfortable options when you (or the stores) run out of toilet paper.
Paper- If you run out of toilet paper, search your home for other paper products such as:
- Facial tissue
- Paper towels
- Napkins (remember that stash of fast food napkins in your glove box?)
- Printer paper (ball it up and open a few times to soften)
- Tissue paper
- Receipts (hey, we’re desperate, remember?)
- Pages from books
- The inside roll from an empty roll of toilet paper
- Notebook paper
- Sanitary pads and pantyliners
- Facial wipes (also make-up wipes)
- Baby wipes
Bidet- Europeans are laughing as people around the world scramble for toilet paper!
- Bidet (complete system)
- Bidet toilet seat or an adapter for an existing toilet seat
- Portable Bidet
- Peri bottle (even better than a portable bidet because it has a curved end)
- Hand-held showerhead
Cloth- Soak used cloth wipes in a bucket filled with water. Add a bit of vinegar or bleach for germ/smell containment. Top with a lid and wash separately in hot water.
- Old rags
- Torn-up sheets
- Old socks
- Flannel squares
- Fabric scraps
- Old teeshirts
- Cotton balls and pads
Plants- You don’t need a green thumb to wipe your bum!
- Corn husks
- Romaine lettuce
- Mullein leaves
- Banana leaves (heck, you can use banana peels if you’re in a bind)
- Cottonwood leaves
- Big Leaf Aster leaves
- Wooly lamb’s ear leaves
- Maple leaves
- Your hand
- A large, smooth rock
I’m sure you have many of these toilet paper alternatives already laying around your home! Why not declutter and put them to good use before disposing of them?
Above all, remember, toilet paper is a modern convenience. Much like yesterday’s salad, this too shall pass. And, for the love of Pete (and Pete’s bottom), STOP HOARDING TOILET PAPER!