The current coronavirus pandemic has people hoarding essentials (which we do not recommend). One such essential is toilet paper and, unfortunately, this has led to a scarcity around the world. As people run out of the sanitary paper and are unable to find it in local shops, the question is: What do we use instead? Unfortunately, people are getting creative.
For example, this is one toilet paper "hack" that we recently came across:
The video essentially recommends that one tear out the pages from a large phone book, crumple them up until they are soft, and then use them in place of toilet paper.
Though a comedy video, this man's instructions for making a toilet paper "substitute" aren't far off from what people are actually considering:
In the clip, he takes printer paper, cuts it in half, soaks it in water for four hours, and then bakes the strips of paper at 250ºF, for 30 minutes, on a cookie sheet. (If you watch until the end, you'll see that he switches out the printer paper for actual toilet paper.) Also, please don't bake paper in the oven.
Now, there are many reasons why you should never try to make your own toilet paper. Here are just a few:
- Other forms of paper (even tissues and paper towels) will not break down like toilet paper. Therefore, they are not safe for plumbing and the last thing you need right now is a plumbing emergency.
- If you're using paper that has been printed on — like a phone book, newspaper, or receipts — you don't know what chemicals are in the ink. Heck, you don't even know what chemicals have been applied to the paper itself. You shouldn't, then, wipe these unknown substances on such a sensitive part of your body.
- Also, if you're using a phone book or newspaper, you have no idea who has touched it or where else it has been. Even if it's been sitting in your home, collecting dust, that doesn't make it sanitary.
- Other forms of paper are not soft like toilet paper, no matter how much you crumple them up or bake them.
Please, do not try to make your own toilet paper at home. If you can't find toilet paper anywhere and have run out, you can use paper towels or tissues, but do not flush them. Place them in a plastic bag or wastebasket when you are finished using them. Then, dispose of them when the bag is full. You can also try to find an eco-friendly bidet, so you'll never have to worry about toilet paper again.
We'd also like to point out that there is no need to hoard essentials — especially toilet paper, which does nothing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. If you do happen to have extra supplies lying around, offer them to community members and local organizations that may need them now more than ever.
Anna is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle and design content for Hunker. She's written for Apartment Therapy, the L.A. Times, Forge, and more. She previously worked as the lifestyle editor at HelloGiggles and deputy editor at So Yummy. Her email: email@example.com