20 Best Alternatives To Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is not always available to you, especially if you live off the grid. That is the reason why we need to know what we can use instead of toilet paper.

If your stock runs out, you can still rely on alternatives without thinking of going to the nearest shop outlet. Keep in mind when you are off-grid, the nearest shop may be miles away!

It is possible to live without toilet paper. For centuries, people survived without the modern technology that manufactures toilet paper.

So, what were the alternatives? We will look at what you can use instead of relying on factory-produced toilet paper. You can also check our previous post on how to make toilet paper at home.

20 Best Alternatives To Toilet Paper

20 Best Alternatives To Toilet Paper

Toilet paper crisis can be caused by different situations. You may also not have time to go to the nearby shop outlet.

And even if you make it there on time, there is no guarantee to find the item. Sometimes you only realize that you don’t have toilet paper rolls just when you want to use one. What do you do in such situations?

Alternatives to toilet paper save the day! Consider the following items:

Compressed Toilet Paper Coins

These are the best alternatives to toilet paper and even present better properties. Compressed toilet paper coins are shaped like tablets and have strong fibers that don’t tear off when being used.

Like toilet paper, they are also bought in the nearby retail shop. That means you can possibly run out of compressed paper coins, just like toilet paper.

Compressed toilet paper coins are biodegradable and 100% non-toxic. The properties can vary slightly, depending on the brand.

Baby Wipes

Baby Wipes

Some people prefer baby wipes to toilet paper for the benefits that come with them.

Baby wipes are ideal for you if you have sensitive skin and don’t want to experience the side effects of using toilet paper, such as irritation. They also clean better than toilet paper.

Instead of using baby wipes, you can also buy adult wipes or clean-up wipes. These may be more expensive but are worth every penny you spend.

When buying baby wipes or adult wipes, you need to read the label to know what is in the mix.

Most of them have only water and a bit of alcohol, but some companies include bleach, ammonia, and other disinfectants. You need to avoid such if you want to use them as toilet paper alternatives.

Baby Wipes

Baby Wipes, Pampers Sensitive Water Based Baby Diaper Wipes, Hypoallergenic and Unscented, 8 Pop-Top Packs with 4 Refill Packs for Dispenser Tub, 864 Total Wipes (Packaging May Vary)
  • Includes: 8 Pampers Sensitive Perfume Free Pop-Top Packs (72 ct) and 4 Pampers Sensitive Perfume Free Refill Packs (72 ct), all bundled together for you
  • Our exclusive one-wipe dispensing pop-top prevents unwanted wipes from coming out of the pack
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A bidet is nothing but a container with a water faucet placed in the toilet. Some are the integral parts of the toilet bowl, while others are standalone toilet accessories.

Bidets are easy to install and cost-effective. However, you need to have a towel or any cloth for wiping the water from your body after using.

Water Bottle

Water Bottle

Using water bottles as toilet paper alternatives is a culture in some communities, especially Muslims. You carry a bottle of water for washing yourself after using the toilet.

Like bidets, using water bottles will make your body wet. So, you need a towel or dry cloth for drying off the water from your body. It is also a cost-effective option if water is not a problem in your location.

Old Receipts

Old receipts are one-time alternatives to toilet paper. They can help when you realize a little too late that you have no toilet paper close by.

Many people find themselves in such situations, but you have no worries because your old receipts are there to save you.

Check your wallet or purse. There is a high chance that you have some of these receipts from a supermarket or a grocery store that you no longer need. Use them to save the situation.  



Old newspapers are just everywhere: on the reading table, in the car, or on the shelves. There is a good chance that you can get a paper nearby, not necessarily a newspaper.

However, you should note that some papers have a rough texture and can potentially cause injuries when used as they are.

To make them feel comfortable, you can consider moistening them or rubbing them together. Using water to soak is the best option.

Napkins And Tissue

Some facial tissues and table napkins have a similar texture to toilet paper. You cannot use them as a permanent replacement for toilet paper but in emergency situations.

They are the best alternatives when you realize you don’t have a toilet paper roll.

Before using napkins or facial tissues, check the scent and what is in the mix. Some may contain methanol or other substances that can have side effects on your skin.

Also, don’t flush them after using them. Instead, put them in the trash can for proper disposal. Flushing your napkins or facial tissues can cause issues with your septic, including clogs.

Towels And Washcloths

Towels and washcloths are also preferred alternatives to toilet paper. You can cut an old family towel or buy a pack of hand rugs from a nearby store and keep them in the toilet.

The advantage they have over toilet paper is that they are softer and thicker.

However, towels and washcloths can harbor germs.

You, therefore, need to disinfect them with the appropriate chemical before washing them to keep yourself and your family safe. Also, wash your hands after using them to ensure proper cleanliness.

Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers can be used as a permanent replacement for toilet paper because they are reusable.

The idea may not sound well to some people. But if you want to never run out of a wipe, then going the cloth diaper way is the best option.

Cloth diapers are non-toxic, eco-friendly, affordable, and last long. Provided you maintain high hygiene, they should serve you and your family for a long time without any problems.

Cotton Balls

Cotton Balls

Many women in the United States carry purses with cotton balls inside. They may be meant for other purposes but are also reliable as wipes.

Cotton balls are thick enough. So, you will not end up with a mess on your hands in the process.

If you have a supply of cotton balls, you can use them as toilet paper. Plus, not during emergency situations only.

They are soft, have high absorbency, and have high density, making them appropriate toilet paper alternatives.

Cotton Balls Organic by Sky Organics (300 ct. 3×100)

Sky Organics Organic Jumbo Cotton Balls for Sensitive Skin, 100% Pure Organic Cotton Sustainably Grown, Chlorine Free, Hypoallergenic, Ultra-Soft and Absorbant for Beauty & Personal Care, 300 ct.
  • 100% Pure Organic Jumbo Cotton Balls: Made with sustainably grown, super soft, hypo-allergenic and chlorine-free organic cotton, these jumbo cotton balls are dense, fluffy and ultra-absorbant, making them ideal for countless uses
  • Gentle On Skin: Our ultra-soft organic jumbo cotton balls are extra gentle for sensitive skin. Made with you and your daily routine in mind. Perfect for applying toners, removing makeup and nail polish, delicately cleansing cuts and scrapes and for DIY craft projects
  • INGREDIENTS WITH PURPOSE: 100% pure, sustainably-farmed cotton fiber, processed without chlorine and conforming to organic standards, is ultra-soft and absorbent to provide gentle care for skin

Reusable Cloth (Family Cloth)

Reusable cloth or family cloth differs from toilet paper in that it can be used, washed, and used again. It is also much thicker than conventional toilet paper, meaning you don’t need much of it.

However, family clothes can spread infection from one individual to the next because they offer breeding grounds for bacteria and other disease-causing organisms.

Family clothes should, therefore, be disinfected, washed, and dried between uses. You should also wash your hands thoroughly after using.

You could also consider having a reusable cloth for each family member to avoid spreading bacteria. However, even in this case they must be washed and disinfected as well.

Sanitary Pad

Converting sanitary pads into permanent alternatives to toilet papers is expensive. However, if you have a toilet paper shortage or an emergency, then they are the best options.

In any household with at least one female member, you cannot miss both toilet paper and sanitary pads concurrently.

You can use one-time sanitary pads or reusable ones. They are soft, washable, and comfortable when used as wipes. If you don’t mind the high price, then use sanitary pads as alternatives to toilet paper.



Your worn-out socks can serve you for one last time as wipes. Instead of just throwing them away, you can wash, dry, and put them in a container labeled “ready wipes.

Socks are not reusable. Put them in a trash bag for disposal after use because flushing them can block your plumbing system.

Plant Leaves

You can find toilet paper alternatives in nature. Some tree leaves are soft and ideal as wipes, while others are not.

You have to be careful when choosing plant leaves. Some have thorns, and others sting, causing uncomfortable irritation.

Stinging nettle is one of the plants that can deceive you by its look. Their leaves look soft because of the hairs on them, but those are nothing but a time bomb.

They contain formic acid and other irritants that will not give you peace after using them as wipes.

Birch Bark

The birch tree can also come to your aid in an emergency. It produces a soft bark that can be easily peeled off and used as a wipe without causing any mess to your hand.

It is a good option if it grows in your area. However, you should not flush birch bark after using it.

Corn Husks

Corn husks and cobs were used by our ancestors before the toilet paper error. In fact, some people even preferred them after the introduction of toilet paper.

Not all corn husks are preferred in this case. You need to peel the middle softer layers for the purpose. Outer ones are very rough, and inner ones are thin.

Coconut Husk

Coconut husks were used by natives and settlers to clean themselves. Today, they may not be so popular because of modernization.

However, if you are in a crisis, you can use coconut husks. They are soft and have high absorbent properties. You can also find them in most states.


If you run out of toilet paper in winter, you can resort to snow for cleaning yourself. It might be chilling, but you will at least evade the mess.


Sponges can easily be found around the home. If you have some just lying around, then you can repurpose them as wipes.

The technique was used by the ancient Romans. They used sea sponges attached to one end of a stick to clean up their mess.

You should be careful when using sponges. Dispose of them as appropriate and don’t think of flushing them.

Smooth Stones

It is not in vain that nature smoothens rocks through tumbling. If you are a survivalist, you can appreciate nature for giving you a free alternative to toilet paper.

Choose a smooth stone and use it to clean yourself. The method may not be appropriate when you live in a city or congested area because of the health risks.

Safety And Disposal Rules When Using Alternative Toilet Paper

Some toilet paper alternatives present health concerns because you cannot dispose of them as you do when using toilet paper. Not all are flushable and you need to find that out.

If you are using the paper alternatives, put about four pieces in a container filled to two-thirds with water.

Close and shake the container for a few seconds and let it settle. If the papers start dissolving, then they are flushable. Otherwise, use a trash can to dispose of them.

With toilet paper alternatives, you also have to deal with the unpleasant odor. You should invest your money in an airtight container for holding reusable wipes.

When it is time for washing, soak in warm water with bleach to disinfect. Wash them separately without other clothes.

If you opt for both reusable and one-time use, you will need two separate airtight trash cans. One with disposable used wipes should be hauled away or disposed of properly.

Reusable toilet paper alternatives should never be shared among the family members to avert the possible spread of diseases. However, they should still be disinfected and all other wastes treated.

In Conclusion  

You don’t have to panic if you run out of toilet paper. We have represented toilet paper alternatives you can use in such situations without messing up yourself.

If this information helped, please share it with your friends, and thank you in advance for your support. We also invite you to explore similar topics at the Em Offgrid.