What Are the Best Alternatives to Toilet Paper?

Have you ever witnessed times when you are running short on toilet paper? Or have you come across new ideologies to encourage user-friendly and sustainable practices to save the world? Then allow me to walk you through the best alternatives for toilet paper.

As an alternative to toilet paper, you can use sponges, baby wipes, a bidet, washcloths, napkins, and more. In reality, using toilet paper is not even the healthiest option; therefore, adopting alternatives that are more hygienic can be advantageous.

Toilet paper alternatives can also be helpful when you have a small bathroom.

Let’s get right into the in-depth discussion of toilet paper alternatives and address any queries you may have.

Why Should You Consider Alternatives to Toilet Paper?

You should consider alternatives to toilet paper to decrease toilet paper consumption. Excessive use of paper is damaging the environment due to the excessive cutting of forests. Toilet papers also contain harmful chemicals to the environment.

Alternatives to toilet paper can also save you money.

Apart from this, there are times like pandemics and lockdowns when we might experience shortages. Thus it is better to consider substitutes to avoid unpleasant situations. 

Here are some reasons why you should switch to toilet paper alternatives.

Environmental Cause

an environmental message with an image of a tissue as a background
Image from Greg Henderson

It is easy for people to use as much toilet paper as they want and not think about the environmental damage they cause. Countries that produce thousands and millions of toilet paper rolls each year contribute to deforestation on a global level.

As a result, excessive carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Along with this, the industries that manufacture toilet paper are a major cause of water and air pollution as the use of chlorine produces dioxins in the environment. 

These particles are non-biodegradable and exist in the atmosphere forever. 

Hence, it is better to turn towards better and environment-friendly alternatives to toilet paper for a sustainable environment.

Global Crisis and Emergency

shortage of toilet paper in a supermarket

Have you ever considered what you would do if you were out of toilet paper? Like in the recent time when the world was going through a pandemic and lockdown, we witnessed an acute shortage of toilet paper rolls in supermarkets.

Even if the toilet paper runs short, you can’t stop cleaning yourself. Thus it is necessary to know about some best alternatives that can be used for the intended purpose when needed.

Toilet Paper and Human Health

Have you ever experienced a bloated stomach and gastrointestinal issues and never been able to root out the reason for this medical condition? There is a possibility that your problem is because of using toilet paper.

It is absurd, but it’s true! Toilet papers, especially scented papers, have immediate and subtle effects that people don’t realize. Hidden chemicals like formaldehyde, BPA, and bleach derivatives cause skin irritation, bloating, stomach cramps, and impact adversely on human health.

Best Toilet Paper Alternatives

Water-Based Toilet Paper Alternatives

Starting with water-based substitutes, we have a bidet and water bottles. Here you don’t have to worry about the disposal of waste and go the extra mile for it. 


a modern bidet

A bidet is an oval-shaped bowl that people use to wash the bottom. There are multiple types of bidets ranging from basic freestanding bidets to modern handheld portable bidets. These bathroom fixtures are easy to get and install.

Modern bidets have easy drainage, heated seats, air dryers, and an in-water supply. 

European countries like France and Italy use bidets to reduce toilet paper consumption and production costs.

There are three bidets available:

  1. Freestanding bidet
  2. Handheld portable bidet
  3. Electronic bidet

Water Bottle

If the bidet is not a suitable option for you, either in monetary terms or if the situation is not adjustable, you can opt for water bottles. You just need to get some water bottles, fill them up, and punch holes in the caps, to make a stream. You can use them according to your convenience for the intended use of cleaning up. 

Bum Gun

A woman's hand takes a gum gun for washing

If you’re not comfortable using water bottles or bidets, then the bum gun is for you! The bum gun uses a hose to squirt water at someone’s rear end.

It’s very common in Asian countries like India and Pakistan.

You can also use the bum gun for a number of purposes like cleaning toilets, washing cars, or mopping floors.


If you run out of toilet paper, you could try using a shower. You just have to rinse your bottom while standing and start scrubbing. You will be surprised at how well this works, and there is no need for additional products like toilet cleaners or paper towels.

Make sure that there are no particles left sticking to your legs.

After washing, don’t forget to sanitize your shower.


a toilet in a forest full of snow

Sounds really creative, doesn’t it? If you are in a bind where you have no other choice and running out of toilet paper, then try snow.

Just grab a handful of snow and wipe your bottom with it.

Cotton-Based Toilet Paper Alternatives

If you are looking for some cotton and cloth-based toilet paper alternatives, view the following options.

Reusable Toilet Cloth

You might have heard about family cloth at famous supermarkets like Walmart and Target. Family cloth or reusable toilet cloth is a term used to define fabric clothing that you can use to replace toilet paper. 

You can use different pieces of old clothes for this purpose.

You can cut:

  • Old t-shirts
  • Blankets
  • Socks
  • Rag clothes
  • Curtains
  • Old bedsheets

However, make sure that each family member has their specific set of toilet cloth pieces. It is necessary to be mindful of this regard to avoid spreading bacteria and diseases. 

Flushable Wipes

a yellow package flushable wipe

Another product that can help you in emergencies is a pack of flushable wipes. This convenience product has gained popularity because you can easily flush them down your toilet. 

But it is advised that you do not flush them too often and use a trash can to dispose of them safely.

Baby Wipes

In difficult times like the lockdown, when the supply chains were highly affected, people used baby wipes as a substitute for toilet paper. You can wipe a baby’s bottom with this product, or you can even use it to clean yourself after a trip to the toilet. 

You can even use clean-up wipes if baby wipes are not available. But carefully check for ingredients and make sure they are skin-friendly. 

Sanitary Pads

sanitary pads

You can consider using sanitary pads in replacement of toilet paper. They are thicker than toilet paper. Hence it can help to reduce your overall consumption cost. Also, it’s highly absorbent and skin-friendly, so the chances of getting rashes are quite low. 


You can use a sponge to clean yourself thoroughly. The sponges have high water absorbency and are soft. But using it dry can be a bit harsh on your skin. It is better to wet it with water before the intended use. 

However, it is advised to dispose of the sponge after a bowel movement as it involves high risks of bacteria growth and disease transmission. 


white towel

A towel can be used as a substitute for toilet paper. However, it should only be used as a last resort. Not only because of hygiene concerns but also because towels can absorb water and become heavy after being saturated with liquid.

Although towels are soft and easy to use, they aren’t as hygienic as it sounds. They may spread germs if not properly disposed of.


If you can’t find any of the aforementioned substitutes, you can use a piece of rope to clean yourself. Make sure the rope is disposable and not reusable to avoid spreading germs.

Nature-Based Toilet Paper Alternatives

If you are looking for some natural alternatives to toilet paper, do not worry! You are all sorted because I have some nature-based substitutes on this list.

Mullein Leaves

close up photo of Mullein Leaves

Mostly referred to as natural toilet paper. The Mullein leaves are famous for their soft and wooly texture, along with high water absorbency. These leaves are grown in almost every continent, including Asia, North America, Africa, and Australia. 


Mosses are non-flowering fauna that is grown in damp places and environments. They are grown near rocks and trees and are known to have high absorbency levels. As a result, it can be used as a better alternative to toilet paper. 

But because they are home to multiple insects, make sure to inspect the moss carefully before using it.

Banana Leaves

Banana leaves can serve as a natural substitute for toilet paper in critical conditions. It is smooth and flexible in nature. Its size is a plus point- even a single leaf is big enough for cleaning yourself once. 

Paper-Based Toilet Paper Alternatives

But what if you don’t have either of the things mentioned above? Relax, we have your back! Here is a list of easily available items you can find at your place.



No one would come up claiming that they do not have access to a newspaper or don’t have a single sheet of old newspaper at their place. In difficult times in history, like during the Great Depression, people used to utilize their old or new newspapers for cleaning their bottoms after a trip to the toilet.


You are running low on tp rolls, but you still have handy cardboard tubes lying around. But using them as it is can be rough on your skin. Instead, you can dip it in some water before using it.


If you happen to have receipts at home, all the better. They are perfect for cleaning yourself after taking a crap. Just wet them down and use them like regular toilet paper!

How Can You Dispose of TP Alternatives Without Clogging the Toilets?

To dispose of toilet paper alternatives, invest in an enclosed garbage can that seals tightly, and the odor doesn’t leak. For natural alternatives, you can easily use it as manure for the soil. As for paper substitutes, if they are flushable, directly flush them down the toilet. If not, use a separate trash can for disposing of it off.

garbage can in a toilet for toilet paper alternatives
Image from Twdbuy01

Different materials have different disposal procedures. If you are looking for safe ways to dispose of your sanitary waste, it is necessary to know which type of waste can dissolve in water and can be flushed easily into the toilet. 

Only septic-safe toilet paper and some flushable wipes and papers can be disposed of this way. Other materials, like sanitary pads, family cloth pieces, baby wipes, cardboards, and newspapers, should be sorted into different bins according to their biodegradability. 

This way, the waste can be disposed of in a correct and eco-friendly manner.


Many families consider using a combination of toilet paper alternatives to cater to everyday needs. 

Based on personal choice, financial conditions, or just for the sake of the environment, people are shifting towards using toilet paper alternatives. This change in consumer behavior can lead to a sustainable environment in the future.

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