The Best Toilet Paper Alternatives You Can Find Around Your Home

The Best Toilet Paper Alternatives You Can Find Around Your Home

Is there anything worse than getting cut short? If your toilet paper supplies have dwindled at an inconvenient time, you might find yourself looking for the best toilet paper alternative.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Today we're offering some toilet paper substitutes for when you need them most. Some of these options provide an eco-friendly solution and can save you money, too! Here’s everything that you need to know.

What can I use instead of toilet paper

Whether you’ve run out of loo roll in a pinch or you're looking for a long-term replacement, there are some smart toilet paper alternatives that you can try. Without further ado, let's take a look at five viable options that you may consider!

1. Install a bidet 

It's a more hygienic option.

First up, why not make like the rest of Europe and start using a bidet? If toilet paper shortages have taught us anything it’s that we're far too reliant on the stuff.

Not only could using this option help during phases of panic buying, but it could also save a whole load of trees in the long-run. According to Scientific American, if everyone in the US switched to using a bidet, they would save 15 million trees per year. With that in mind, the impact that we could have here in the UK would be more than a drop in the ocean.

What is a bidet?

A bidet is a bathroom fixture. It's often a low basin, separate from the main toilet, but it can also be part of the toilet itself. You crouch over the bidet and wash after using the toilet.

If you’ve ever holidayed in Europe and wondered what that funny, little extra toilet is in the bathroom, it's a bidet! Bidets are common in households across the continent and offer a sanitary way to keep clean.

Of course, traditional bidets are expensive and have to be plumbed into your bathroom. However, there is another way to go here. You can buy a bidet fixture for your current toilet online. Amazon has a range of bidet fixtures that you might want to check out for yourself. While these are still costly, they are easy to install and will mean that you can keep clean.

2. Use your showerhead

This is great in an emergency!

Next up, let’s talk about a makeshift idea. If you run out of toilet paper during quarantine, this tip is sure to be a smart way to go. Yes, using your showerhead to clean yourself will help you stay hygienic and also feel fresh. This idea works similarly to the bidet, you simply use warm water instead of toilet paper after you have used the loo. Simple.

Of course, ideally, you don’t want to use the same showerhead that you use to have a shower. If you happen to have a bath with a shower fixture on the faucet (as well as a separate shower!), this idea will work best. It’s smart to stand in the bath while washing yourself to make sure that you don’t make a mess in your bathroom.

TOP TIP: You can use some gentle soap when you’re washing here. Make sure that it’s safe for sensitive areas before you get! 

3. Get the nose tissues

packet of tissues
Just don't flush them!

If you can’t get your hands on toilet paper, nose tissues could be a smart alternative. While these tissues are of a similar density, they are slightly different to loo roll. The experts at Supply Time point out that the manufacturing process is different between the two types of tissue. Both are made from paper pulp. However, while toilet paper is made to dissolve quickly in water, the same cannot be said for nose or facial tissues.

While facial or nose tissues will no doubt feel nice to use, there’s one issue that you have to consider here. Flushing this type of paper down the toilet could be risky since it's not made to dissolve fast like toilet paper. For that reason, you should avoid flushing them. You can throw the used facial or nose tissue away, wrapping them in a nappy sack or bin bag if necessary. Doing so will mean that you don’t cause any unwanted blockages down the line.

Speaking of blockages, find out if you can flush hair down the toilet in our other article. 

4. Try flushable wipes

flushable wipes
Not everyone is a fan!

Let’s take a moment to talk about flushable wipes. Yes, these are exactly what they say on the tin (or the packet!). Basically, they are wet wipes that are approved to be flushed down the toilet. Hurrah! While the world’s shops are fast running out of toilet paper, you may be able to find some flushable wipes online and in some stores.

When you’re selecting the product for you, make sure that you read the label carefully. You need to look for wipes that specify they are flushable. While there are plenty of uses for baby wipes, these can't be flushed down the toilet. You may find that certain products note this on the front or back of their packaging. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all wet wipes are flushable. The truth of the matter is that they are not!

Flushable wet wipes are an expensive toilet paper alternative, which means that they are not for everyone. While you may be able to get a few packs of these wipes, you might want to consider the cost of using them on a long-term basis.

NOTE: Not everyone agrees with flushing wipes - even those which claim to be "flushable". You could always dispose of them with household waste, tied up in a nappy sack. 

5. Switch to washable wipes

And finally, here’s an eco-friendly solution to toilet paper. Have you heard about washable wipes yet? These products are cloths that you wash regularly. That means that you’re helping the environment while solving your problem. While most of these are branded as baby wipe alternatives, they could work just as well as a toilet paper alternative too.

Babipur and Cheeky Wipes are two of the leading providers of these eco-friendly products. In the latter case, you can get an All-In-One Premium Kit that contains everything you need to get started. The bundle includes a fresh wipe container, a mucky container, the washable wipes, essential oils (for cleaning!), and bags too. You should follow the instructions on the brand’s website to find out how to wash the wipes safely.

Needless to say, should you choose this option, you need to make sure that you adhere to the highest hygiene standards. You will need to store used wipes in a box and wash them all together to make this a viable and affordable option. If the thought of doing that is not for you, you may want to choose one of the other toilet paper alternatives we’ve listed.

Looking for more bathroom tips? Learn how to get rid of limescale in the toilet



Are bidets expensive?

Yes! Having a bidet fitted in your bathroom is certain to be costly. However, you can get portable bidets that cost less than you might expect. If you have the cash to do so, getting one could be smart.

Can I use baby wipes as toilet paper?

This option is not advisable! While baby wipes will certainly get the job done, the problem comes when flushing them down the toilet. Since these are thicker than your average toilet roll, you may find that they block your drains or cause problems in the sewerage system.

Unless the products specifically state that they are ‘flushable’, you should avoid doing so. Safety first!

Can I use a cloth as toilet paper?

It’s up to you! Using a cloth and washing it with your laundry is one way to get around a shortage of toilet paper. However, you need to keep in mind that this option may not be as comfortable as you imagine. What’s more, hygiene could be a genuine issue here too. If you’re using a cloth, you will need to wash it regularly and at a high enough temperature to ensure you kill all bacteria.

A better toilet roll alternative may be to get several washable cloths that are made for this purpose. That way, you can assure your own comfort and follow the brand’s cleaning guidelines to make sure that you’re as hygienic as possible. Use each cloth once and wash it as soon as possible afterwards. 

Can I use newspapers as toilet paper? 

Not really. While this may seem like a smart idea, it shouldn’t be your first resort. Cleanliness is a real issue and you don’t want to use a material that has been touched by loads of people. Plus, you can't flush this thicker paper down the toilet.


Can you think of any other alternatives to toilet paper? Let us know in the comments below!


Joanne A


Expert in finding beautiful solutions for small and rented spaces. Would happily spend the rest of my life shopping for homewares and watching Disney movies - I only wish I had Cinderella's army of mice to help me clean!

  1. Author david Bowyer on March 31, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Not tried it - but what about cutting a kitchen towel in half

    1. Author Joanne A on March 31, 2020 at 10:06 am

      Not a bad idea, David!

    2. Author maureen on April 1, 2020 at 9:19 am

      Don't flush them though they block the drains...too thick

    3. Author Joanne A on April 1, 2020 at 2:41 pm

      Yes - and they won't disintegrate in the same way toilet paper does.

  2. Author Blessing on March 31, 2020 at 10:50 am

    These ideas are so timely and quite helpful since I am already low on cash and supplies in this trying time. Are there any other storage and recycling ideas you have?

  3. Author Dean on March 31, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    When we were kids we used newspaper

    1. Author Joanne A on April 1, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      That's interesting, Dean! Did you flush it or dispose of it with household waste?

    2. Author Dean on April 2, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      We used to flush them

  4. Author Don Armour on April 1, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Be careful using kitchen towel, they are not designed to break down i.e. NOT flushable, in fact most water companies will tell you not to use them, however, if you treat them the same way as baby wipes, bag them and bin them then that's OK. Oddly enough though, as many will have found, the cheaper ones break up when you try and mop up spills, so I guess they might also break up when you flush them but I certainly wouldn't risk it, they can accumulate and block the sewage system, there have been some horrifying pictures of "fatbergs" with a high content of wipes and non degradable kitchen towels. On the subject of using cloths, in terms of "comfort" it pays to be selective, I wouldn't recommend denim but an old sheet or pillowcase cut to suitable size works fine though for the sake of hygiene, before you put them in your washing machine, shake or scrape any loose solids into the toilet then soak them in a bucket of water with a capful of bleach THEN wash them - it's what we used to do with babies' nappies in the days before disposables (although the bleaching agent was specifically formulated for the purpose).

    1. Author Joanne A on April 1, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      All very true! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Author simon john on April 1, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Flushable wipes are NOT flushable ask any plumber they are the worst for starting blockages in your drains they should be binned like other sanitary products

    1. Author Joanne A on April 1, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Simon! We do warn readers about this in the article.

  6. Author Pamela Cook on April 1, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Well kitchen roll is an alternative or why not go back to roman times and use a sponge tied to a stick (washing between uses of course)

    1. Author Joanne A on April 1, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Pamela! Kitchen roll is an alternative, but it still shouldn't be flushed as it can block the sewers. A sponge is an interesting idea - not sure I could get on with it though!

  7. Author Rachael on April 1, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Flushable wet wipes are still not flushable! They may say they are but they are still blocking drains and sewers and full of plastic. Kitchen roll cut into two or three. Newspapers was an alternative in the war times Britain.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 1, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Racheal! Yes, we have warned about this in the article. People could always use them and dispose of them with household waste. Kitchen roll and newspaper are good ideas, but are also not suitable to be flushed down the toilet.

  8. Author Victoria on April 1, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Use dampened old socks and put them in a nappy sanitised bucket once used.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 1, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Good idea!

  9. Author Brenda on April 1, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Although using tissues are not recommended by using the larger tissues cut into four and carefully separated, thes should flush down easily.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 1, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Brenda! They may flush, but they could still cause blockages in sewers. Toilet paper is designed to disintegrate.

  10. Author Lawrence Smith on April 2, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Hi, Solution to non flushables........Have a roll of doggy poo bags in toilet, fill with tissues, then dispose of in black waste.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 2, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Dog waste bags are a great idea - thanks for the suggestion! They're usually opaque so you can't see what's inside.

  11. Author MISTER STOCKWELL on April 2, 2020 at 10:08 am

    When I were a lad we took our copy of the Daily Worker ( other left-wing publications are available ), separated each page by means of the second-best breadknife and quartered each page with Gran's dressmaking scissors. A double meathook through the corner and the wad was ready to be hung up in the laths of our privy at the bottom of the garden. Just had to be careful not to set light to it with the the candle in case of a midnight visit. In which case one would use a brassica leaf. Or similar.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 2, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      Very economical - thanks for sharing!

  12. Author Paul on April 2, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Why all the big fuss about toilet paper??? This product is just another example of brainwashing the gullible people into buying an unnecessary product, just like chlorine. Toilet paper is NOT HYGIENIC, just look at the various studies, you only remove the bulk of any left over waste product, the residue is just spread over the area the paper comes into contact with, as well as your hands. You also need to wash your hands, after using this product, with soap and water. Therefore the most common sense and hygienic way to clean this area is with soap and water, or even shower gel, the same as you use when you have a shower. If you don't have a bidet the easiest way is to have a 'washbowl', flannel and choice of soap, next to the toilet. Then as you would with the toilet paper, while STILL over the toilet, use the flannel and soap as your own personal cleansing solution. If you wet the flannel and add the soap and lather up first it makes it super soft. Rinse the flannel and rewipe as often as you feel you need to and then dry with either another flannel or small towel. If you clean the flannel after every use it can last for a while, you wash the flannel as normal when you feel you need to. The flannel can always be kept in a ziplock bag, after being hand washed after use, and having used your favourite softener or aromatic oil, so is always moist and smells nice. You could also colour coordinate the flannels, so that each family member had there own colour and the BONUS is that you WILL ALWAYS HAVE WASHED YOUR HANDS, after using the toilet. Using this 'personally hygienic individual' method would reduce the chance of any infection at any time, it would also drastically reduce the use of unnecessary toilet paper, maybe even eradicate toilet paper all together, so benefit the planet by saving the tree's and stopping all of the waste product and pollutants produced when making and shipping toilet paper. The current health issues don't need people to stockpile toilet paper, it needs to make you realise that you are being BRAINWASHED INTO BUYING A PRODUCT.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 2, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      That's very true, Paul! People do pay for convenience and to avoid the unpleasant task of washing cloths.

  13. Author niglo on April 2, 2020 at 11:38 am

    what about the good old newspaper? Cut it up in squares and put a hole through the top and attach a string to it. I don't know ultimately what happens in the plumbing, but newpaper dissolves. Watch out for runny print (not many newspapers with that left as they are all printed electronically. That is why they were used to wipe windows and make them shine. Otherwise , it is a black bum that needs washing too!

    1. Author Joanne A on April 2, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Niglo! Newspaper is a great idea, but I wouldn't recommend flushing it.

  14. Author Sonia on April 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    A tongue-in-cheek comment: When all else fail and with Christmas coming up, now's the opportunity to start taking strips of wallpaper of the wall, give it a quick scrunchies to soften it up and Bob's your uncle. Dispose used wallpaper in a nappy sack!

    1. Author Joanne A on April 3, 2020 at 5:08 pm

      Not sure how I feel about this! haha

  15. Author Ingrid Clement on October 11, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I use a back brush it's cleaner, rinse in the running water when you flush the toilet, disinfect the brush after each use. Use different colour brush for your back so you don't mix them up.

    1. Author Joanne A on November 10, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      That's really interesting, Ingrid! What do you use to disinfect the brush and where do you store it when not in use?

  16. Author John on November 17, 2020 at 11:47 am

    What about using all the fallen leaves that are around at this time of year? Collect the large ones in a bin bag, make sure they are damp, use them gently then dispose off on the compost heap or dig a hole to put them in.

    1. Author Joanne A on November 17, 2020 at 3:06 pm

      I don't think that would be very sanitary, but thanks for the suggestion!

  17. Author rupert hannant on November 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    try useing kitchen roll

    1. Author Joanne A on November 17, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      Not a bad idea, though I'm not sure you could flush it!

  18. Author heather hawkes on December 17, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    Newspaper was used many years ago mainly when toilets were outside in the garden. Pieces torn into pieces ready to use...!! I imagine toilets at that time didn't have the type of plumbing we have now so I don't remember any blockages! Print on the bum wasn't a concern.

    1. Author Joanne A on July 28, 2022 at 10:30 am

      Thanks for sharing, Heather!

  19. Author Mandy Pontet on December 19, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    I have done a lot of traveling and visited many Countries and Islands, most of the population of the World do not flush toilet paper! I think it's very much a Western Mainland thing, infact a huge proportion of humans don't even have access to toilet paper or even toilets! Washing is the most hygienic way to clean yourself, TP is a luxury we should be doing without, millions of trees are felled each year, we've ploughed through the little remaining EU forests and now Canada's forests are disappearing because of it. I'm against any single use products so can say my preference is washing or bidets

    1. Author Joanne A on September 14, 2022 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks for sharing your view, Mandy!

  20. Author Lynda on February 2, 2024 at 7:58 pm

    All you need is a plastic mixing bowl fill it with soapy water place in toilet seat the sit and wash your butt. Done it for years no need for any fancy bidet

    1. Author Joanne A on February 7, 2024 at 9:26 am

      Thanks for sharing!


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