As we started to run low, I started testing alternatives to toilet paper knowing that the end of our stash was coming soon.

8 Alternatives to Use When You Run Out of Toilet Paper

By Albert Swantner

Look let’s be honest, we’re all running out of toilet paper.  As the quarantine enters its seemingly 100th week at our house we have been out of toilet paper since day 14 (bad planning on my part).  As we started to run low, I started testing alternatives to toilet paper knowing that the end of our stash was coming soon. Fortunately, the kids love playing with their own poop so they were willing to try all of these.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Seashells- We have some old seashells from a family trip to the beach and I was able to find a perfectly shaped clam shaped shell.  Honestly, I could not get this to work. Maybe it’s my history of living on land but it was slightly painful and pretty gross to clean.  There were some streaks left and I really had to dig into the shell so my little one’s butt was pretty red by the end. 5/10

Corn cobs- Corn is one of my kid’s favorite foods so this one was a joy to start with.  After we cooked and ate all the kernels, the corn cob was warm and soft. We placed this cob by the toilet and played the waiting game.  When it was time, we grabbed what was now a soggy cold cob and gave it a go. The corn cob actually did a good job, although it seemed to me that I would need an almost endless supply to get this to work unless corn cobs are reusable.  I can’t reuse these corn cobs. 6/10

Newspaper- Newspaper!  Of course! What a natural selection.  This did a good job of streaking the kids clean, also kind of left a black residue which required a shower afterwards.  But did the job. 7/10

Magazines- I could not find a historically accurate Sears catalog so I ended up using a Wired magazine I had laying around the house.  I guess pages weren’t so shiny in the past because this ended up being a smeared mess. I had to use some of my precious toilet paper to clean up the poop which was now all over.  3/10

Rags- This worked great, but now all my dish rags are covered in poop.  I also had to wash them in the tub initially to shake off the poop so there was poop in the bathtub, poop on the rag, in the washing machine.  One of the best alternatives so far. 8/10

Clumps of snow (ice)- We used our crushed ice setting and grabbed a handful of the cold, good stuff.  This generally worked, I recommend it. Once you get past rubbing ice on your butt, which my youngest could never quite do, this is a winner.  Just remember to wash your hands. 9/10

Leaves- This was a disaster.  I don’t know if I needed to pre-clean my leaves or what but I ended up with a butt covered in dirt, poop, and my kids trying to flush leaves that I accidentally dropped down the toilet . 3/10

Bidet- Winner!  This is the one that stuck and the best alternative for our family.  The kids love the fresh spray of water on their butts. We also have an old baby blanket that we cut up to use to dry our butts.  There are tons of brands that sell bidets and truthfully we may never go back to TP again.

Let me know what else you have tried to make it through.  Good luck out there!



About the Author

Albert is a parent of two young boys living in Austin, TX. Find him here –