Most people can relate to the moment of panic when needing to use toilet paper but being faced with an empty roll. What if you have run out of toilet paper entirely and can't get more anytime soon? Toilet paper shortages do happen in times of crisis if supermarkets can't stock up as fast as people are buying.

If you find yourself with a lack of toilet paper, it might be useful to have an idea of how you can find alternatives. Use inventive and creative methods to make your own toilet paper so you will never be worried about running out again!

A simple swap

The easiest way to replace toilet paper is with a similar and equally absorbent alternative, such as facial tissue. Most households have a box or a pack of tissues that can be used in an emergency. Portable packages of facial tissue also come in handy when you're using a public restroom that has no toilet paper. If your local department store has run out of toilet paper, they might still have facial tissue available to buy.

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Old pieces of fabric can make great toilet paper substitutes. In fact, many years ago, it was common for people to use reusable cloth pieces—sometimes called "family cloth"—for bathroom hygiene. A larger piece of cloth can be cut into squares and left in the bathroom. The used cloth can be put into a bin and at the end of the day and washed before reuse.

Cloth Fabric Jorn / Getty Images



Washing with water is a simple way to clean when toilet paper is not available. Some bathrooms are fitted with a bidet, which is designed for washing after using the toilet. You can access water using any way you prefer; a shower, spray bottle, or hose are all viable options. Be sure to dry properly and wash your hands afterward to maintain good hygiene.

Bidet Toilet Washing Water ferrantraite / Getty Images



Paper is usually readily available around the home and can work well as a toilet paper substitute. Although paper is rougher than the soft toilet paper we are used to, it does the job and can be a good emergency back up. Crumpling the paper up to soften it a little before use can help.

Newspaper Paper PhoTon / Getty Images


Homemade fabric

If you are crafty and can knit or crochet, you can use these skills to make a toilet paper substitute. Small knitted squares are soft, easy to use, and would be ideal for children. Similar to "family cloth," they can be tossed into a basket or bin after use and washed.

Knitting Fabric Squares Crochet Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images



Sponge makes an ideal material for cleaning after using the toilet. It is soft and absorbent and can be cleaned easily by soaking it in a bucket of disinfectant or bleach after use. A large household sponge can be cut into smaller pieces, making it easier to handle and last longer.

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Cleaning cloths

You may find that stores still have cleaning cloths in stock in the event of toilet paper shortage. Cleaning cloths are designed to be soft and absorbent, making them an ideal toilet paper substitute. Just make sure it's a new or fresh cloth with no remnants of cleaning products on it.

Cleaning cloth

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Make your own

You can make your own toilet paper if you have the time and know-how. The process involves boiling paper to remove any ink and glue residue, leaving a pulp behind. This pulp is mixed with softening oils and sometimes an antibacterial such as witch hazel. Roll it out, leave it to dry, then cut it up into smaller pieces to create toilet paper.

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Leaves can make the perfect toilet paper substitute, especially when you are in the outdoors. It is usually easy to find a large flat leaf to use, but a handful of smaller leaves can also do the job. Be sure not to pick poisonous or irritating plants!

Leaves Outdoors Fresh Adam Jones / Getty Images



Moss has the ideal properties for use as toilet paper because it grows in flat clumps and is soft. Moss is often found in abundance in the outdoors and can be brought home and stored, ready for use in the bathroom. Shake out the moss before using it to make sure there are no tiny insects or bugs hidden within it.

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