Toilet Paper Alternatives – 5 Ways to Survive Without TP

toilet paper hoarding

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in a cave (good for you), you’ve been hearing about the COVID-19 virus. It seems that there are two different camps on this subject, those who are terrified and have locked themselves at home, or those who are going out and pretending there is nothing going on. Of course, there are folks in the middle, but they are typically a little more prepared in general and aren’t broadcasting all their business for the world to see.

Regardless of which camp you are in, we all need toilet paper and it is highly likely that you’ve been unable to find it lately. Insert panic buying!!! Shelves at Walmart are empty and Target has been cleared out as well. The stores that did have it, like Costco in Washington state last week, had lines that were over an hour-long to get into the store. The odds are that by the time you get in, they’ll be out of stock as well. 


corona virus COVID-19

It’s very important that you stay up to date on the latest closures, testing and infections of the disease in your own area. If you are interested in a good website to track current information on the coronavirus, check out BNO News.

They have updated maps, data, and timelines that will show you all the current cases around the world, the number of people recovered in those countries, and other related news. This is all good information. This is just one of many sites, and you can always check out large organizations like the CDC, WHO, etc. There are also state websites for your local areas. Check your state’s dot-gov websites for the latest information on your state and city. 

What now?

panic buying

All big-box retailers are vowing to stay open. Stores like Kroger, Walmart, Target, and others will stay open so that people can get food. They vow to keep things in stock for you, despite changing their hours.

Super Walmarts that are normally open 24 hours will now be closing at 11 pm and opening at 6 am. This is to allow them to restock adequately and reduce the exposure of the stocking staff, and you, to other people. They’ll be bringing in a crew to thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces to ensure that we stay safe. 

Despite their best efforts, many stores are simply incapable of keeping toilet paper in stock, however. There is still a possibility that you’ll have to endure short periods of time without toilet paper.

Take COVID-19 out of the picture, and they are still scenarios that occur all the time all around the world that cause shortages in hygiene products. Natural disasters, manmade disasters, disruptions in supply chains, etc., all contribute to these shortages.

What will you do to keep your backside clean? We have some great suggestions for you!

5 Toilet Paper Alternatives

These options are provided with the assumption that paper towels, wipes, and toilet paper are all out of stock, as they have been in most stores. You should also check smaller retail stores such as Family Dollar, Dollar General, and your local grocers. 

DIY wet wipes

To do this, you can use paper towels, washcloths, old tee-shirts cut into strips or any other form of material. You’ll need two buckets or containers…basically, anything you have available.

You’ll want one container with your clean cloths. The other bucket or container should have bleach water if you choose to keep your dirty washcloths and wash them for reuse. Otherwise, you can toss them after use, but you might run out of those as well. Think about longevity people.

The formula for your clean cloths should simply be a few drops of soap, very little because you don’t want your backside to be soapy, just clean. Use 2 drops of soap to a cup of water. You can also add 2 drops of baby oil or aloe gel to each cup of water, just to keep everything nice and soft.

Spray bottle and a dry cloth

This method is like creating your own version of a bidet and then using a clean cloth to wipe with. You’ll need a bucket to drop your dirty cloths into that has bleach water in it.

You will be laundering these just like old-school cloth diapers. In the old days, this is exactly what your grandma had to do when the baby was out of clean diapers. It isn’t convenient, and it’s no fun, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you think this one is bad, read on.

Plant leaves

This may sound ridiculous but it is the way your ancestors used to wipe. There are even plants that were nicknamed toilet paper plants, such as mullein or lamb’s ear. Both of these are velvety soft.

Many outdoor or backwoods magazines teach people to grow these specifically for this use and for composting. You may walk around your back yard or a walk at the park (as long as you stay 6 feet from others) and gather plenty of leaves, which can be simply thrown away after use. Don’t flush!

Newspapers and magazines

These are typically found in abundance around most homes. Remember, germs can be transferred on paper and you’re simply better off to use what you’ve already got around the house when you can. Experts suggest that a virus can remain viable on a piece of paper for more than 24 hours.

Reusable sponges

This works just like the washcloth method. You’ll need a way to rinse and wash them. They can be washed in the laundry, just like other things, and just let them air dry. Don’t put them in the dryer.

They’re nice and soft too. You can’t soak these in bleach, so you’ll need to use a germicidal form of cleaner to soak them and wash them. These cleaners would include things like PinSol. 


These are just a few alternatives and it certainly depends on how desperate you become. I even read a gentleman who joked that there were plenty of tortillas at the store…

Trust me, my jaw dropped but I truthfully don’t know if he was crazy or brilliant. You could bake your own at home. Flour would compost. Desperate times, people, desperate times. 

Stay clean my friends!


With over 17 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

Recent Posts