Homemade Substitutes for Toilet Paper

A big part of being self-reliant is learning to make the most out of every resource. When the crisis strikes, you have absolutely no way of knowing when you will get another chance to stock up on supplies, whatever those might be.

Many people focus solely on food, water and medicine. While these are, indeed, the most important supplies, there are plenty of others to consider. What would you do if you ran out of toilet paper?

This is not something that many people give a lot of consideration to. But think about it. It is a product that everyone needs all the time. In that regard, it is placed in a pretty special category with other essentials which you simply cannot go without.

This means that toilet paper is a pretty important resource, but it is also a finite one.

No matter how many supplies of toilet paper you buy, it is a single use item, one which literally gets flushed down the toilet after being used. This not only represents a waste of money, but also an actual waste which you might have to deal with if your plumbing is damaged when SHTF. Therefore, it would make sense to look at homemade alternatives for toilet paper.

Using Cloth Toilet Paper

The most common alternative to regular toilet paper is cloth toilet paper which is also referred to as family cloth. Due to the sensitive nature of the product in question, some people might be reticent to change their habits and find a substitute for toilet paper. However, something to remember is that people used a lot of different other items before toilet paper even existed.

Those who accept this concept will see that family cloth does have several advantages over regular toilet paper.

  • For starters, it is completely homemade. Family cloth is simply squares of fabric which can be made from anything around the house including old clothes which you do not wear anymore.
  • The product is recyclable, a big plus when talking about maximizing our resources.
  • These cloths are simply kept in a basket in the bedroom and thrown in a bin after being used. Afterwards they are thrown in the washing machine and then left to dry.
  • They are reusable. While this might be the notion that upsets most people, it is also the one which constitutes the biggest advantage of family cloth.

Disregarding the specific product in question, whenever we are talking about two solutions, one reusable and one finite, the reusable one is always the most efficient choice.

If you are looking for a way to maximize your resources, then using family cloth is the way to go. Many people who use family cloth regularly claim that it is more comfortable. After all, it would be made from the same material as underwear so the sensation will be very familiar.

These reasons have convinced many people to switch off toilet paper in their everyday life. For them, there is also a financial motivation to consider. Reusing the same family cloth over and over again means not having to spend any more money on toilet paper.

And lastly, you need to consider that you might not have a choice. If SHTF and you become isolated from the community and you run out of toilet paper, this becomes a viable substitute whether you want to or not.

Making Your Own Toilet Paper

For many people, the best substitute for toiler paper is simply… toilet paper. It is possible to make your own as you do not need complicated tools, as you will be recycling all of your old paper which you have no use for anymore. You can use newspaper, general paper and even magazines as long as they do not have a shiny gloss. You will also want to add ingredients such as baby oil, lotions or aloe in order to keep the paper from hardening.

1. The first step would be to remove as much ink as possible from the paper, by soaking it in a tub or a bucket. Afterwards take the paper and place it in a pot with leaves and grass which will help the fibers remain together. The pot should be filled with water so that it completely covers the paper and then left to simmer. It is important not to boil the water from the beginning so that the dry materials have a chance to absorb the water.

2. After an hour of simmering comes about half an hour of boiling at high temperatures. It’s ok to add more water if necessary. You will also need to remove the foam which begins to rise to the top, as this is mostly ink, glue and other materials you don’t want.

3. Eventually, the paper turns into a pulp. At this time you will have to remove the water but without disturbing the pulp. Try to remove as much as possible and then simply wait for it to cool before removing the rest of the water. The pulp also needs to be taken out in order to remove the water, but it should not be done so that the pulp becomes completely dry. Once this is done the pulp is put back in the pot and it is mixed with the softening oils. If you have it, you can also add Witch Hazel which will act as an anti-bacterial.

4. Once this step is complete, it is time to scoop out the pulp. Do it in chunks and place them on a towel or a cloth on a flat surface. Afterwards you will use a rolling pin in order to spread out the pulp in a thin layer. Try to make it as thin as possible. A mallet can be used to gently deal with any lumps that might appear.

5. Now another towel or cloth should be placed on top of the layer as to create a sandwich. On top of this place something flat and rigid and then something heavy. You can even walk on it if you want. The goal here is to remove all the excess water.

6. If this is done you can remove the items placed on top. Be careful with the second towel as you do not want it to stick to the pulp. In order to remove the towel on the bottom, you will have to flip it all upside down. Do not try to remove the pulp off the towel.

Then you are left with a big layer of thin paper which needs to dry in the sun. Afterwards all you have to do is cut it into pieces and you’ll have your DIY toilet paper.

new EMP01

This article has been written by Bella Scotton for Survivopedia.

Latest comments
  • I don’t think cloth such as polyester would be suitable; only cotton.
    Would you want a polyester handkerchief?

  • Do what the muslims do, just use your hand, then wipe your hand on the ground. That’s why they eat with their left hand.

    • The Muslims do not eat with their left hands. They use their left hands to wipe their bottoms then usually use lots of water to clean off their hands if they have the water available. They only eat with their right hands because their left hands are considered dirty. I travelled in many Muslim countries and am lefthanded so I eat using my left hand on the table and holding my forks, etc. I was looked at with a look of distain by the locals eating around me because I did that but I did it anyway. Regarding use of the toilet, we would keep the toilet paper we used at our production plants in our own desks and carried what we needed into the bathroom each time we needed to do a number 2. Any toilet paper left in the holder by the commode was soaking wet after the locals used the toilets. There were water faucets in all of our bathrooms by the commodes and a bucket with a white handle dipper in the pan to use to pour the water between their legs as they wiped their bottoms and to clean their hands. They then would wipe their hands dry using the toilet paper so it was always wet or the spool empty. The floor of the bathroom was always wet from all the water splashed around in there when the locals used it. In fact, we had bathrooms in the office area that the non-locals used that used toilet paper as we do here in the US so we could use the toilet without all the water on the floor.

      • It Linda sounds dirty when you described the squatting toilets. And sadly I can imagine an agree with you about it. But I believe that this is not because this tradition is more primitive or less hygienic in any way, quite the opposite even. It’s because the people are starting to become more ignorant after western colonialism and​ the internet.
        Their customs and culture used to be a lot more refined and people were really clean. It is a very big deal because being clean is a corner stone of the Islamic faith.

        • Correction: Kinda

  • Using a cloth is a very old concept my grandmother would certainly recognize. I also would like to suggest a hamper not just any old place to throw the dirty ones. (cuts down on the odor if there is one and keeps small hands and pets from harm) Hand washing becomes even more important under these conditions…. This is a valid way for women to deal with menstruation as well. And if you are dependent on disposable diapers, cloth ones used to be the norm. Although forever, only marginally satisfactory, I suppose the sears catalogue days are gone for good.

  • save your corn cobs the fresher the better

    • If you raise a garden with the heritage seeds, you will be drying a portion of it for seeds in the future. An advantage of this is that after removing the seeds from the cob, you can twist the cob in your hands to make it soft. It actually becomes quite “silky” feeling and makes a great substitute for toilet paper.

  • Here in the coastal North West, we have thimbleberry leaves – nature’s toilet paper : )

  • How can I make use of those little pieces of soap that are too small to continue using?

    • Old bars of bath soap can be put into a small container like a plastic traveler soap dish and add water, the soap will dissolve after a while and fuse together.

    • If you know how to crochet, you can make small mesh bags using cotton yarn. Use a drawstring to tie it closed. Fill it with your soap nubbins, then use the whole thing as a soapy washcloth. Make them in different colors so each family member has their own soapy wash bag.

    • You can crochet, knit, weave, or sew a little draw string bag to place small pieces of soap into. Then when you need to use soap, wet your little bag and squeeze it until the soap inside lathers up. Once you have enough soapy lather in your hands rinse off your bag and hang it up to dry between uses. It’s a bit like using a soap on a rope. After the soap inside “disappears”, wash,rinse and dry the bag to reuse the next time your soap bar is too small to handle, once again.

  • I make and sell reusable napkins, kitchen wipes, baby wipes, and family cloth. All 100% cotton flannel, double layer with serged edges. Also available in a sealed prepper pack which I have in my own supplies.

  • Additionally, you can just bring a bottle full of water and SOAP to the loo. I cannot stress the soap enough. Liquid soap or those disposable paper soaps are preferable. Work the soap into a foam with your left hand, pour water on the area first for an initial rinse, then wash up and let it dry.
    Much cleaner and fresher than toilet paper in my opinion.

  • What about water? Just saying why try to replace toilet paper when you may be able to get by with a cleansing bottle and some water?

    • Because this method is very messy and your clothing is very likely to get wet!

  • You all are laughing, but let me just say this..7 people, never enough tp…hey this is a life saver..thank you so much for this knowledge….im gonna try this rite this minute… round of applause…u should b thanking tp making person here…i am.

  • I am a strong believer that nature knows best. I have a hard time to come up with a creature which needs “accessories” when eliminates waste. If you consume the nutrition your body was designed very likely you do not need a lot or any toilet paper. My own experience with eating only row vegetable and fruit, that my bathroom tissue consumption drops.

  • Make sure to plant some Hollyhocks, and Comfrey plants near the outhouse. Those leaves are great in a pinch!

  • I want to make my own, we have plently of old cloth and towels in the house. My biggest concern is that my kids will accidently flush them out of habit. My six year old still needs a bit of help with getting clean but my teen son will forget and flush. I have old pumbling and it would cause so many probelms if he forgot.

  • A sponge can be used to wipe after finishing the toilet job. This was basic practice in old Rome, where they used to put a sponge of the top of a stick and clean themselves with that. Simply realize that if the sponge isn’t cleaned legitimately, it can without much of a stretch harbor microscopic organisms, so after each use you should absorb it bleach water or boil it and afterward wash it out.

  • This is really amazing post. I like your information. It’s a really great post. Thank you for share such helpful post.. Toilet pepper is very essential for the people.

    • Toilet paper is essential but do you know how toilet paper made of? Billions of trees are cutting down for making only toilet paper per year. It should be avoided by every one. Otherwise, you can try those bamboo made toilet paper and these substitutes can be the best solution ever. These information was really great as you mentioned but I can’t agree with your last sentence. Don’t mind Powell…:(

  • My spouse and I make promote reusable napkins, kitchen baby wipes, baby wipes, and household cloth. Most 100% silk cotton flannel, two times layer using serged perimeters. Also available in the sealed prepper pack I have during my own items. Whatever, great sharing such type of informative post !!

  • In a SHTF event, I really doubt that there will be water enough to use for most bodily waste “cleanups.” When water is no longer flowing from the faucets and toilets, any water you’re using will likely be filtered rain water, pond water, lake water, etc.. With a person needing approximately 7 gallons daily for drinking, washing yourself, cooking, etc., toilets will be useless for normal activities, and water will be at a premium. A family of four would need about 28 gallons per day for normal activities. That’s a lot of water that would be needed from some source nearby. Only water used for drinking and cooking would need to be filtered, but filtering is usually a slow process for 16 or so gallons of water per day for the family. You need to find a reliable source for water that can be filtered as necessary.