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Oh No, There Is No Toilet Paper! What Do I Do?

There are very few situations in life that have ever caused me to lose my cool. I am quite proud of the fact that I can keep a level head when everyone else is stumbling around in a blind panic. However, there is one scenario that for some reason completely fills me with dread – discovering there is no toilet paper left while sitting on the toilet. It may be the embarrassment of having to call for help. Or, perhaps it’s the prospect of trundling around the house, looking for substitute toilet paper with my pants around my ankles that causes me such discomfort. I really don’t know. What I do know is, I don’t like it, and I go to great lengths to ensure that it never happens.

I appreciate that this is a delicate subject, so I will try my best to be as tactful as possible. I was also going to add that much of this article will be tongue in cheek, but I think that may have been a pun too far. Needless to say, there is no getting out of the fact that at some point in your life you will find yourself up the proverbial creek without a paddle. In order to get through this harrowing ordeal you will probably lose a little dignity too; it is practically unavoidable, I’m afraid.  No matter how embarrassing the situation is, though, try not to panic. Seriously – you could end up tripping over your own feet, and that is one predicament you do not want to have to explain to a paramedic. When you think about it, running out of toilet paper is actually a blessing in disguise. There are toilet paper alternatives readily available in and around the home; with a little bit of forethought and creativity, you could save yourself a small fortune by making or even growing your own.

Let’s start off with emergency supplies, and then we can move onto how you can create an almost endless supply of homemade toilet paper alternatives. All the methods in this article have been tested and proven to work; however, some will take a little bit of practice to get right.

Sponge on a Stick

Ah, the classic Roman method of undercarriage hygiene. A sponge on a stick is exactly what it suggests. Basically the ancient Roman’s would use the sponge to wipe, and once done they would wash it out with vinegar for later reuse. I personally don’t care too much for this method, as sponges are pretty porous and hard to effectively disinfect. If you are going to use the sponge repeatedly, I would recommend using a thinner sponge that is easier to clean. However, when your back is against the wall, the sponge is more than an acceptable alternative to toilet paper. Just make sure you don’t put it back in the shower, as that would really give the next person who uses it a nasty surprise.

Personal Cloths

Every home has cloths or soft material of some description, so these are good choices when you run out of toilet paper. You can reuse these cloths; however, bear in mind that they will first need thorough cleaning. Obviously you don’t want to immediately mix these cloths in with your other household washing; that would just be gross. Instead, keep a bucket with a lid beside the toilet, where you can temporarily keep your “personal cloths” separate from your other laundry.

How to be Self-Sufficient When The Unexpected Happens

I would recommend rinsing the cloths off before putting them in the bucket, or, fill the bucket with a water and vinegar solution to help break down any debris. Before washing your personal cloths, steep them in boiling hot water for at least an hour with vinegar or your choice of washing detergent. You can also use a plunger or similar device to agitate the material, which will help dislodge any undesirable hangers on. Outside of an emergency, you can actually make your own personal cloths, which you can reuse again and again. I found this article particularly informative on how to do just that.

Watering Cans and Spray Bottles

First let’s consider the humble watering can. Now, don’t laugh—this is one serious piece of equipment for getting out of a bathroom embarrassment. When used correctly, a long-spout watering can will clean you right up when you are in a pinch. This method does have a learning curve; however, with some practice it serves as a great bathroom accessory that everyone can use. A variation of this method is the peri bottle, which, as many mothers can attest, is one of the best personal hygiene accessories ever conceived. Although it was originally designed as a postpartum device for relieving common pains and irritations, the powerful spray action is ideal for cleaning yourself after concluding your business in the bathroom. If you do not already own a peri bottle, you can purchase one from a pharmacy or baby center.


Verbascum thapsus (or common mullein), which is often referred to as cowboytoilet paper, is a biennial plant that grows quite prolifically under clear sunlight. Although considered a weed, mullein does not pose a particular threat to agricultural plants, as it grows best out of the shade. Native Americans first used mullein for its medicinal properties; however, we are only interested in its wiping abilities. The leaves are big, soft and fuzzy, which makes them great as an emergency alternative to toilet paper.

Lamb’s Ear

Like mullein, lamb’s ear has soft leaves that are perfect for wiping. The flower grows well in almost any conditions and is easy to plant and care for. Removing the leaves will not damage the flower; in fact, it is a part of the pruning process. That means that using lamb’s ear leaves as toilet paper is mutually beneficial to both the plant and your bottom.

How to be Self-Sufficient When The Unexpected Happens

As well as an alternative to toilet paper, lamb’s ear leaves will take the bite out of bee stings and other wounds. Additionally, this attractive perennial flower is a welcome addition to any garden.

Plants and leaves work well as toilet paper; however, care should be taken in choosing which ones to use and how often you use them. The last thing you want is a serious rash on your nether regions to add to the embarrassment of being caught mid-movement without toilet paper. Before using the leaves of any plant, make sure that you do some research. Determine the toxicity of the leaves, whether they are known to cause allergic reactions or irritation, and if they contain any particular parasites that you should worry about.

Recycled Toilet Paper

That’s right, I said recycled toilet paper. Now, before you run screaming into the hills, it’s not what you think. During my quest to make sure that I never ran out of TP again, I found this great tutorial on how to make your own toilet paper. DIY toilet paper is environmentally friendly, up-cycles materials that you already have, and cuts both the cost and the need to travel in order to acquire the toilet paper. You will find most if not all the tools you need for this task around the home. However, for anything that you don’t have, you can easily find alternatives. You can even play around with the tutorial to create the perfect toilet paper for you. For instance, the tutorial mentions placing the towels on a hard, flat surface – I found that using a porous washboard allowed the water to drain much more quickly and resulted in softer sheets.

So there you have it, a number of ways that will ensure that you are never again without toilet paper.

©2012 Off the Grid News

© Copyright Off The Grid News


  1. You didn’t mention the “Muslim shower”, the most hygienic system of all.

  2. I keep about 300 rolls around just so if the SHTF I am covered. Yes you have to have enough rood for storage. I buy the 36 rolls pack at Costco. You can never have enough good sex, freedom, good food, gold, silver, Guns & ammo and love. And of course toilet paper.

  3. I was in high school before we had store bought toilet paper. We used Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs. Today for emergency toilet paper and as a fire starter we have a stash of old phone books.

  4. Yep,….a phone book can become your best friend.

  5. Once I was “in a pinch” while fishing out on the lake and had nothing with me but the socks on my feet. So I can tell you that socks work well as a last resort.

  6. Any paper works, junk mail is ready made. To use other paper wad it up and rub it together until it becomes a soft paper.

  7. In survival school we used snow. We were in the Wyoming mountains during winter for months.
    Snow is very comforting and great on hemorrhoids.
    It cleans excellently.

  8. or you’re friendly

  9. Have you ever seen a logger with stagged pants and shirts? Guess where the missing pieces went? ha
    ~And don’t forget the depression era of the lowly dried corn cob! Not the friendliest of helpers, but sho gets the job done! 😉

  10. With the current state of the economy and the rising price of paper products and in an interest to “Go Green” and save the environment, I expect, any day, that Obama will issue a mandate through executive order that all Americans use both sides of the piece of toilet paper.

    • We were watching the History Channel and it said that wash clothes were originally made to wipe with. My husband and I have purchased a large number of them from Walmart.

  11. making your own ,recycle newspaper and old flower plant leaves and petals recycle old cloths , if making your own paper ,wet it and roll it out on old plywood till thin , let dry and roll up or old it in small stacks , think back before the invention, ask old people for their ideas , you have to be clean use old spray bottles for water cleaning , they work good

  12. Has anyone explored a liquid diet – in an extreme emergency – with the colorless non-meat or vegie fiber? Going all liquid with some form of fiber that won’t “rot” in your gut, with other nutrients in the drink? Might have any solid waste, after a short time, end up minimal and more non-toxic…?

  13. Looks like I need to buy a ****load of wash towels….Pun fully intended! As a side note, be sure to have some source of water to clean all those towels with; a well with a handpump comes to mind….

  14. We have found that if you need something in a pinch (my very handicapped mother-in-law can only clean herself using her BeDae—can’t spell French word) just keep one small gallon sized garden spray pump with the knozzle and/or wand works great and has the water force for really,really good cleaning while you sit. We had to come up with somethig when we chose to take her on a vacation where there was no luxeries like she had at her house.

  15. When I was a kid my uncle taught me a nice method. Fold a piece of paper twice. Cut of a wedge of the center and save it. Stick your finger through the hole in the paper. Stick the finger in the area and gather the stuff. Clean your finger by taking off the paper very carefully. Throw away the paper. Now get the wedge that you saved and clean you fingernail with it. Dispose of the wedge.
    It works every time. I gave it up when we started buying newspapers.

  16. vinegar is cheaper than bleach but do u still need bleach? Also can a hand pump be used on a modern well that’s 400 ft deep and where can I find one? Looking for a manual tub clothes washer or something like it.. Thanks

    • Lehman’s, an Amish company in Ohio, has hand and/or windmill pumps for cisterns, shallow wells, or deep wells. I bought their “deep well bucket.” that will bring up 1.9 gallons from a deep well., until we can afford one of their hand pumps. They carry nearly anything you can think of for off-grid living.

  17. Thinking about alternatives to toilet paper, I immediately thought about reams of copy paper. At Walmart, 500 8 1/2 X 11 sheets of paper at only $3.00 a ream is a pretty good deal, especially since you can cut them up into 4 pieces of toilet paper size. Another source of paper could be the books on your shelves. Also, for quite some time, Ive been refilling my 2 liter jugs of pop with water for use in an emergency. Also, using any extra bibles you might have could work as toilet paper. Just some thoughts off the top of my head…

  18. In many civilisations people would simply wash their Ass Hole area with water fron a Jug.
    This is the method that I use (at home).
    It is not difficult to ‘ass wash’ moreover,it is much cleaner than just paper as this still leaves the Anal area with a terrible smell & at risk of infection especially in high temperatures. It is worth noting that the Old Testament has guidance for one’s Toileting ! I do hope I have not offended anyone with my opinions, I can assure you that this method really does work; as I use this every day!
    We must all try to think very carefully about our current lifestyles and the practical alternatives that are ‘Tried, Tested and Proven’.
    You do not have to be a ‘Grizzly Adams’ type of person to simply store 1month supply of dry soup mix, learn how to cook food on a camping stove, keep 2/3 weeks salary at home or, have a plan to ” evacuate’ into the wilderness in an emergency.
    Don’t worry about being laughed at by those around you, it is for your own survival that this is being done,not theirs. Good planning is an asset. Get to it !

  19. Buy cloth diapers, a case of bleach, and a 5 gallon pail.

  20. This was a FANTASTIC article!

  21. Feb 26th 2013 we depend on jobs,we lose them, we depend on everything…then the oh no ,nothing to blow my nose on, oh no…. no toliet paper left in the bathroom, that happens to me everytime…i buy 4 rolls and its gone in one can that be? its only two people here. i will back track..wait a minute here, i thought i was getting a good deal..4 rolls for one dollar,that should last. i tell myself this everytime…okay there is 30 days in a month sometimes, okay i go threw toilet paper like water washing down the drain…um…i know…..i will spend 60.00 on toilet paper…that seems like alot of money…..well if there was nothing left to use but paper money,oh no i would never wipe myself with all those germs from paper money.i think the best choice is to have this in your house to live on this earth. move to the country, plant your own garden,have flour to make your own bread, learn everything that they did in the past so we dont have to ever bother again for toilet paper….thats all i know,im still learning,from Jesus, because i was taught wrong from the world. we cant always depend on money or stores,we need to depend on Jesus and ask for the use of things that are needed for us in a much easier way…..think ,well what would jesus do? ill look for answers from Jesus and ill get back to you,love donise

  22. I am curious what the “Muslim Shower” is, I would appreciate it if Najma Sadeque would share, please.

  23. Poor to Rich a Day at a Time

    You would not want to use a whole lot of Mullein to be wiping your self with, those hairs that have it being so fuzzy and feeling so soft? That is a skin irritant and it only takes a minute of handling the leaves for your skin to break out and be all irritated! Just a FYI

  24. I will lick it all with my tongue just tell me

  25. Rabbits are quite nice and soft, plus you can get at least 3 wipes out of each one !!!.

    Seriously though, has anyone tried making a Bidet from a garden sprayer ??.

    (1) it holds plenty of water and you could adjust the pressure !.

  26. This is very attention-grabbing, You are an overly skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your feed and sit up for in search of extra of your
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  27. No toilet paper is no drama in my house.

    Get a coke bottle with a lid. Place a small hole just below the lid in the bottle. Fill with water and then screw the cap back on firmly – turn upside down, aim & squeeze.

  28. Where I came from, we had outhouses and I learned to wipe with leaves, rocks when at the shore, Others would drive corn cobs to be used. These cobs would then be burned. In times when we had paper, it would be magazines, Catalogues, or anything else that comes around. I would recommend old phone books. Than follow that up with a quick wash.

  29. You just go outside and scoot like a dog.

  30. Ever think someone sitting on a toilet in this situation is the ONLY reason someone would look this up? Cuz that’s where I am…get to the point next time asshole I need solutions that’s won’t clog my toilet not some cheeky remarks about your level head and how nothing ever goes wrong

    • I shall not lose my dignity!

      I’m in the exact same spot my friend, except my mother is down stairs and she’s Habitually deaf so i’m just sitting here trying to figure what to do

  31. Is it sad I’m on the toilet with no toilet paper googling things like this?

  32. It was so much fun to read. Thanks JOHN for such an alternative collections of toilet paper. I can add the stones that usually used by muslims. I didn’t heard before about sponge that are used by Romans. But I liked it as well. Most of the time I felt sorry for my toilet tissue while reading. Great post really.

  33. socks when in need

  34. Huh, a laughted a lot, thanks for sharing these funny crazy ideas. You have definitely made the ulrinate list of toilte paper alternatives 🙂

  35. I am so glad to read your post, here are you share the best solution after the toilet, so really I need to buy a load of wash towel Pun fully intended!

  36. Cool stuff you have and you keep overhaul every one of us.

  37. It’s really a great and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing!

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