toilet paper alternatives

13 Toilet paper alternatives – so many ways to clean your bum!

Can’t find any toilet paper in the shops? Looking for budget and eco-friendly toilet paper alternatives? A few years ago I set myself the challenge to avoid using toilet paper for a month. Cutting out toilet paper obviously saves money, but for me it was more about not destroying the rainforests than anything else. When I looked into it I discovered there are plenty of toilet roll alternatives you can use instead and I’ve listed them below.

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They all boil down to two main options in life – wash or wipe (although washing often also involves wiping).

Toilet paper alternatives – the wiping options

In the absence of toilet roll, it can be tempting to use something else to wipe your backside and then flush it down the loo. Don’t do it! If it isn’t designed to be flushed it can cause blockages in the sewage system and no-one needs that, especially not right now. Only flush the 3 p’s – pee, paper and poo! So if you are going to use a toilet paper alternative to wipe, you will need to wash it, or bin it afterwards!

Reusable toilet wipe alternatives

Cloth wipes

These will need washing afterwards. You can buy them or make your own. The problem with these are that when I looked into them I wasn’t convinced that they were better for the environment than using toilet paper. Plus they can contaminate your washing and make you ill if you aren’t careful with the way they are cleaned. They need to be sterilised before washing and then washed on a very hot wash.

My verdict: Not for me!


The ancient Romans and Greeks are thought to have used pebbles to wipe their bottoms. I doubt they sterilised them back then, but any modern users should sterilise them between uses.

My Verdict: Not for me!

Disposable toilet wiping alternatives.

Depending on the time and place people have used their resourcefulness to make use of what is available to them to wipe after going to the loo. If you are going to use a disposable toilet wipe alternative, it is really important to make sure that you put these in the bin after use to stop toilet blockages. Do not flush them.

Putting stuff in the bin isn’t great for the environment, so you might be wondering about composting it instead. Do not compost anything with poo on it. Wee on the other hand can be a good addition to your compost heap – according to the National Geographic in their article: Human pee added to compost heaps boosts crops.

Another thing to consider before putting these toilet paper alternatives in your compost bin, is what the wipe is made of and if it contains inks, glues, plastic, bleaches or dyes that are not compostable.

The alternatives:.

  • Old newspapers
  • Scrap paper
  • Leaves
  • Wool
  • Cotton wool

My verdict – Not for me!

Toilet paper alternatives – the washing options

  • Using a wet sponge on a stick – apparently the Romans used to do this (and they use to share them – soaking them in salt water between uses).
  • Wet cloths (still a pain as they need washing afterwards)
  • A hose next to the toilet (great if you have one already installed, a bit expensive if you don’t)
  • Bidet (again great if you have one already installed, a bit expensive if you don’t)
  • Get in the shower – good option, but water intensive.
  • Left hand and water (not my preferred method)
  • The water pistol/ spray bottle method (I think this one is a winner!)

Once I discovered the water pistol/ spray bottle method, I was sold on it. We have a few of them that normally barely get used, so I fished them out from the back of a cupboard.

It worked really well for me. All you need is a tap and the water pistol or spray bottle. You don’t get anything dirty (e.g. a cloth/ sponge/ stone/ hand), you don’t need to wash anything up or sterilise anything and you don’t need to collect/ compost anything.  It also doesn’t use up much water. You do need to keep the water pistol clean though and try to dry it out between uses.

You might need to towel dry afterwards, but it isn’t that different to drying your body after you have had a shower. So that means you don’t need to sterilise it.

My verdict – washing with a water pistol was the winner for me!

Not keen on these toilet paper alternatives?

Don’t like any of these options? After going toilet paper free for a month I became dubious about the environmental benefits because of needing to wash towels more regularly and I went back to using toilet paper. Most recently this one after reviewing it: Budget plastic free toilet paper review *Ad*

So if it came to it, what would your preferred toilet paper alternative be?

Alternatives to toilet paper, toilet roll, water pistol