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Alternatives to Toilet Paper

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 5

There actually are plenty of alternatives to toilet paper out there. Some of them are fairly gross, but some are actually fairly sanitary. Many reading this article may wonder why in the world anyone would need an alternative to toilet paper. For those wondering why, you may be surprised to know that many countries around the world don't use it at all. In addition, you may be stuck somewhere, perhaps in your own home, when there is simply none available. For those looking at toilet paper alternatives, you have plenty of options.

Paper towel:

This will work in a pinch as a legitimate toilet paper alternative, but it's not usually a great idea to use in your own home. Paper toweling is generally much thicker, and as such, it does not break down as quickly. It can cause issues with septic systems, and it may cause a plug. The plunger will usually take care of this toilet paper alternative when it causes a clog, but it's really best to use paper towels only as a last resort. Warning: The white ones work okay, but the brown, industrial type of paper towels are really rough and don't work very well.

Facial Tissues:

This is one of the most common toilet paper alternatives. I must admit, I've used it myself many times. If there's not TP in the home, and no time to wait, the old Kleenex box will work out just fine. Like the paper towels, they just don't break down as quickly, and can cause the occasional clog. Still, you can use them with little worries, as long as it's just the occasional use. Best of all, you find them with lotion and scents, so you may even have a frilly alternative to toilet paper in your home. The O-ring can be fancy this way.


These are kind of rough on the undercarriage, but they will work if you don't have any better and softer ideas. Just like many of the others already mentioned, they don't break down well, but they can be used in a pinch. Don't use these for long timeframes, or you will likely have issues, and not just with your home's septic system.

Standard paper:

Ouch. This one would be really rough on your most sensitive areas. I suppose it would work when you had no other viable options. I definitely wouldn't suggest flushing it, or you will likely have some issues with your home's septic system. If you use it too much, you may not be able to sit on any firm surface for a while.

The fancy bidet:

This really will only serve as a viable alternative to toilet paper if you are lucky enough to be traveling, or have one in your home. They are popular in some countries. Basically, this is a sink that cleans off the black hole and keeps your personal plumbing nice and clean.

Plastic bags:

Oh boy, I can only imagine the mess you would have by using plastic bags as one of the alternatives to toilet paper. They are not absorbent at all, and should never be flushed. I suppose this could work in a pinch out in the woods or something, but I think there are some better alternatives to toilet paper out there. If you have no other options, this one may work, but It'll be really gross.

Leaf, fern use:

Many hunters or avid outdoorsman have had to use a leaf or two out in the woods as an alternative to toilet paper. While they don't work well at all, they are certainly better than nothing. It's best not use the ones that are dried up, or you'll just have a bigger mess going on down there than before when they shred apart. You will also want to make sure there are no wood ticks or spiders on them. A tick down there would be no fun to pull out. Also, many unsuspecting victims have use poison ivy or poison oak. Even the worst case of roids couldn't match the itching and pain you'll feel if you use the wrong plant. While it's a great alternative to toilet paper when outdoors, you better use some caution.

Clothing or a rag:

I suppose a sock could be used as one of the many alternatives to toilet paper. I'm guessing the clothing item you use should either be washed very thoroughly, or just tossed out. I guess that cloth diapers can be washed and reused, so I suppose your sock could be as well. I think I would just prefer to toss it out. I would not suggest a shirt sleeve, especially if it's the only shirt you have. I can imagine a button or snap of some sort would cause some major pain on your most sensitive areas, so you should use some caution. If you use a rag, don't use one with cleaning products on it, or one from the garage covered with oil and WD-40 or you'll likely feel some real pain.

Your hand:

This would solve your nasty nail biting habit…..hopefully. It may be incredibly gross, but it is something done in many areas of the world. I would suggest using your left hand if right handed, or vice versa. Make sure there is plenty of soap and water available in the immediate area. Hopefully you aren't eating your lunch while reading this, or the waste may come out of the attic, and not the basement.

New underwear:

If you have no viable alternatives to toilet paper in your area, you may want to simply set aside a few dollars for new underwear, or bleach. If you must use this option, it's best to avoid public areas until you get home.

A nice shower:

If you have access to a shower, it may serve as a legitimate alternative to toilet paper. Taking a nice, long, hot and soapy shower can get your undercarriage cleaned up right. A bath probably wouldn't be the way to go since you'll be sitting in your own diluted poo.

Next time you find yourself without toilet paper, you will hopefully have some good alternatives to use. When you're in a pinch, and you need to pinch one off, you will need to think on toes.



Oct 24, 2009 5:12pm
Well, although I had not considered the issue previously, we did get by without toilet paper way back when didn't we?
Nov 4, 2009 12:57am
The only thing I can consider to add to your comprehensive list of toilet paper is an old phone book. Seriously there are discussions of this very type on many websites across the internet. I will submit your list to BHM forum so they know in a shtf type situation there is hope.
Nov 4, 2009 9:22pm
I can vouch for at least one of your suggestions. Nothing beats a nice dirty sock. Plus when you're done.. you can see what you accomplished! ha ha ha
Nov 7, 2009 8:05am
Thanks to all for the comments.
Apr 14, 2010 3:38am
That was a realy comprhensive article.. Good laugh to. I remember the old dunnies.. and all we had was newspaper, i cant remember it the print came off on our bot like it does on our hands.
And speaking of toilet paper .. when traveling there is nothing more disgusting when in the bush than seeing all the toilet paper blowing around the countryside. I hate it with a passion. Why cant they at least cover it with sand or stone or leaves it is horrible.
Great article though and thanks for sharing it.
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