With most of us sheltering in place at home, those who bought extra toilet paper in the last few weeks are probably glad we made that purchasing decision. But being stuck at home for days on end instead of going to work or school definitely increases the need for TP at home.
If you are one of the many unfortunate households that didn’t get the chance to buy extra before the shelves went bare, what can you do when you run out of toilet paper?
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can use besides toilet paper, but none of them can be flushed down the toilet without risking a sewage clog or backup—and not just for you, but also for your neighbors.
When you find yourself pondering your toilet paper alternatives, turn to the tips below to be sure you make the right choice for your household. Also, consider how you will dispose of your alternative material; if it’s not toilet paper or human waste, it’s not meant to be flushed down the toilet!
Toilet Paper Alternatives
- Can You Flush Baby Wipes?
No, you should not flush baby wipes. If you’re like millions of other consumers during this trying time, you’re considering wet wipes as your toilet paper alternative of choice. While moist towelettes might provide a great wipe, they are not, in fact, designed to be flushed down the toilet. Sadly, the term “flushable wipe” is a misnomer. That’s because these products are made of woven cotton or synthetic fibers, meaning they are technically cloth, not paper, and do not break down in the sewage system like toilet paper is designed to. So, once you use a baby wipe, put it straight in the trash can.
- Can You Flush Paper Towels?
No, you should not flush paper towels or napkins down the toilet. When the shock from the empty toilet paper shelves wears off, your eye will naturally turn to the paper towels and napkins neatly stacked just a little further down the paper products aisle. But alas, these options are much thicker and sturdier than toilet paper, which makes them unsuitable for flushing. If you must use paper towels or napkins, dispose of them in the trash, not the toilet.
- Can You Flush Facial Tissues?
No, you shouldn’t flush facial tissues down the toilet. Holding a tissue in one and hand a square of toilet paper in the other, they feel pretty similar. However, toilet paper is designed to dissolve rapidly in water; facial tissues are not. A tissue could be a pleasant toilet paper alternative, but don’t flush it. Put it in the garbage can.
- Can You Flush Washable Cloths?
No, you definitely shouldn’t flush reusable cloths down the toilet.
Install a Bidet or a Bidet Attachment. Over the past several decades, the popularity of bidets has grown around the world. Bidet toilet attachments have even caught on in North America, where the bidet trend has been historically resisted. And the bidet’s popularity may skyrocket as people become more desperate for toilet paper alternatives (see Google Trends below). Depending on your personal method of use, bidets can completely eliminate your need for toilet paper altogether. There are great bidets on the market, and your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing can install one for you.
What to Do About Clogged Pipes During a Crisis
While Mr. Rooter Plumbing can’t fix a local toilet paper shortage, we can resolve plumbing problems you’re experiencing while you shelter in place. Your local Mr. Rooter remains available to help with critical services like water heater malfunctions or clogged drains or pipes. You can request an estimate online or just call us at (855) 591-0128 to connect with your locally owned Mr. Rooter Plumbing location.