10 FREE Alternatives to Toilet Paper

Robin Greenfield sitting amidst toilet paper plant.
ConsciousnessFamily ResourcesForget Money / Demonetize LifeIntentional LivingMinimalismPermacultureSustainable Living

I haven’t bought toilet paper in nearly a decade, and no I have not just mooched on someone else’s TP. Here are 10 ways to wipe your butt for free.

  1. Grow your own. There are plants out there that grow soft, durable leaves to be used as toilet paper. The plant I grow in Florida is Plectranthus barbatus (common name: Blue Spur Flower). Here’s a photo of it growing at my place, where I use it with my outdoor compost toilet. In climates where it freezes, my top recommendation is mullein. Want to start growing your own toilet paper? We can mail you the cuttings of blue spur flower or seeds of mullein. Learn more and request your cuttings or seeds here!
  2. Leaves. This is easy if you’re in the woods taking a squat, but you could also grab a bunch of your favorite leaves and bring them home with you. Plants with soft, wide leaves are ideal, but there are hundreds of plant species that you can use to get the job done. Check out my compost toilet to learn about this. You’ll want to compost them using a compost toilet.
  3. Cloth toilet paper. Make nice little wipes out of old t-shirts and then wash them just as you would washable diapers. Here’s a guide if to want to do it.
  4. Use a bidet. (Ok, I guess this isn’t quite free since you have to pay for the water, but it’s pretty close to free). You can purchase a bidet add on to attach to a standard flush toilet.
  5. Use a bum gun. This is a little spray nozzle next to the toilet to spray your butt clean with water. This is common in many regions of Southeast Asia.
  6. Even simpler than installing a bidet or bum gun is to put a little kettle by the toilet and pour water onto your bum area. I had a roommate from India and he taught me how to do this. I loved it.
  7. Dumpster dive at pharmacies for perfectly good toilet paper. I’ve often found unopened twelve and twenty-four packs of toilet paper. This can be due to a torn or squished package or because someone stole a roll so the package was incomplete.
  8. Smooth stones. I’ve done this quite a few times while out in the woods and found this to be pretty great!
  9. Go to fast food restaurants and pick up the dozens of unused napkins that people leave on their table. People often take a stack of napkins just to throw half away. (I’m not saying to mooch off the restaurant. I am saying to take napkins that would have gone into the garbage unused.)
  10. Newspaper. Grab it out of the recycling bin or trash can and put it to good use. Don’t flush newspaper or anything else more tough than toilet paper as it can clog the toilet. Compost it. In many countries they have a garbage can for used toilet paper and you could do that as well. It’s no more gross than throwing away used diapers for all you parents out there.

Note: Some of these options will involve a compost toilet. You don’t want to flush things down the toilet that would clog the toilet or the system. You can also use a normal flush toilet but instead of flushing the “toilet paper”, have a separate bin and compost it (or even just put it in the garbage). In many countries they have a little garbage can for used toilet paper.

25,000 cut down each day from our toilet paper usage. It also takes a lot of water and energy to create toilet paper. Then it’s got to be shipped which burns fossil fuels of course. Trees chopped down, water wasted, and fossil fuels burned just to wipe your butt? Toilet paper is a huge environmental nuisance and a complete waste of money. Maybe it’s time you stop wiping your butt with your money?

Start growing your own Toilet Paper!. We’ll help you get started!

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