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The Toilet Paper Shortage Solution

Reusable toilet cloth wipes in a basket
March 27th, 2020

First Impressions

When I first heard about a reusable version of toilet paper I have to admit, I was a bit squeamish. But after a bit of reading and some time to get used to the idea, my opinion changed. Some people mainly use it for the environment, others for economical reasons, and then there are all of the people currently hopping on board due to an unprecedented and unexpected shortage of toilet paper in the world. I'm going to share the easiest way to make your own reusable toilet cloth sheets, along with tips on how to care for them, and an extra clever solution for dealing with the “mess”. :D

Easy DIY Solution

Does making your own toilet cloth sounds like too much work? For those wanting a quick and simple solution, here's what you can do. The only thing you'll need is an old t-shirt and a sharp pair of scissors. The fabric t-shirts are made from doesn't fray, is cozy & thin, and is usually blended with cotton which is absorbent. All you need to do is cut the t-shirt into pieces larger than a regular sheet of disposable toilet paper.

Cleaning & Sanitizing

To clean reusable toilet cloth sheets, start with a rinse cycle in cold water with a small amount (¼ teaspoon) of laundry detergent. Then add more detergent and run a hot wash cycle. If soiled, add an oxygen cleaner to the wash, such as hydrogen peroxide. Use the hot setting on the dryer. It's important NOT to use any fabric softener (liquid or dryer sheets) because they leave a film on the fabric which prevents absorption.

Storage Tips

Toilet cloth sheets are often stored in a basket beside the toilet. Sometimes they're rolled up around the toilet paper dispenser. The used sheets can be tossed into a bag or waste bin. Some people prefer storing new and used ones in a double pocket wet-dry bag with separate compartments for clean and used cloth.

Example of a wet-dry bag for storage

A Clever Solution

For a pro-level tip, you can use water to rinse off the area before wiping. If you don't have a bidet, a squirt-bottle with warm water works well while sitting on the toilet (aim downwards, of course). :D Bidets are designed for keeping that area clean. There are two types of bidets. The first is a separate mini ceramic fountain beside the toilet for hovering over (see photo). The second, which is space-saving and easier to install, is a bidet toilet attachment. Both kinds bring fresh water in varying pressures and temperatures for ease of use and comfort. I found one on Amazon for $40 CAD that has cold water only.

This European-style bidet has a fountain in the middle
Bidet toilet attachment style example

All things considered, reusable toilet cloth is a great option especially when stores are sold out of toilet paper. For those new to using cloth sheets, it's easy to forget and then toss them into the toilet. It's easier to remember when they're stored in a different location than the disposable toilet paper, Besides, it's good to keep some of the disposable stuff for guests. Since the invention of toilet paper, I don't think we've ever seen a shortage like this one. Hopefully these tips will help during this challenging time we're facing.

If you're interested in purchasing some flannel sheets of toilet cloth, I have some available at the Etsy shop.


  • Toilet Paper
  • Environment
  • DIY
  • economical