Does toilet paper expire? In the pre-Covid days, not all that many people wondered about this question. A single roll of toilet paper lasts about 4 days for the average American, and for a family of four, that single roll may not even last the whole day. But it was easy enough to just buy more rolls of TP when you run out.
Covid obviously changed things, with plenty of people panic-buying virtually truckloads of toilet paper for their families. That wasn’t exactly a good thing to do, but panic isn’t really rational. And people just don’t want to sit on the toilet knowing that they don’t have any toilet paper at the end of it all.
So, more people bought toilet paper in bulk, and plenty still do these days (and probably in years to come). Thus, the issue of toilet paper expiration becomes a lot more relevant.
How Long Can Toilet Paper Last?
In general, a roll of toilet paper can last a long while. Probably years. However, it depends on several factors.
Exposure to Dampness
You will want to keep your toilet paper from getting damp, if you want the toilet paper to last. After all, the toilet paper was designed to dissolve when it gets wet, which is why you can flush it down the toilet. Obviously, if you let it get wet accidentally, it’ll just dissolve.
Even if it only gets slightly damp due to the humidity and it doesn’t dissolve, you can still have problems with mold growth. You really don’t want mold to get anywhere near any part of your body (especially your body orifices). That’s just icky.
Exposure to Heat
Just because you don’t want your toilet paper to get wet doesn’t mean you can just store it somewhere warm, like under direct sunlight all the time. The heat will dry the toilet paper out, and then the toilet paper will just break down. Eventually, it turns to dust.
The toilet paper doesn’t even have to turn to dust to make it unusable. It only has to be too dry that it becomes too rough to use. It’ll be like using regular paper for wiping yourself, and that’s just unpleasant.
The Overall Quality of the Toilet Paper
If you store the toilet paper properly and for the long run, then it should last years. Some of the higher quality rolls may even last decade. Still, even an average (or a substandard) roll of toilet paper should last long enough for you to use, with proper storage.
Long Term Storage Solutions
Since the general rule is to keep the toilet away from the wet and the heat, all you really have to do is to stick them inside a cabinet. It’s really that simple, when you have maybe 10 rolls of toilet paper to deal with.
But let’s say that you somehow ended up with a lot of toilet paper. Maybe you end up with a hundred rolls, which can last an entire year of normal usage for the average American. How do you store it so that none of them expire too soon?
Here are some tips:
Keep It Inside the Original Plastic Wrap
This doesn’t work if the toilet paper uses paper wrapping. You just end up with the same problems regarding exposure to dampness and humidity. But some toilet paper rolls are individually wrapped in plastic. These are usually waterproof, and the wrap can keep away the damp to keep the toilet paper inside warm and dry.
Of course, you need to check that the plastic wrap is intact and that it doesn’t have any holes or tears. If it’s not airtight, it won’t do. But if it is, you’re good to go. Just tear open the plastic wrap when it’s time to use the toilet paper inside.
It’s somewhat a different matter if you buy in bulk. They won’t all be in their individual wrappings. But some larger packages of toilet paper have smaller packages inside, with 4 or 6 rolls of toilet paper inside each plastic wrap. Try to go with these packages instead.
Check our latest guide about: How to get skid marks out of toilet.
Use a Watertight Container
Just as long as they’re large enough for your toilet paper, they’re okay. You can even use those sealable bags in which you keep your winter clothes.
You can buy these watertight containers easily enough these days. They come in various shapes and sizes, and they’re not all expensive. It’s a good idea to measure the space under your sink, so the container can fit there. It’s a convenient location.
Watertight containers for toilet paper can really work for long-term storage, as these containers can let your toilet paper last for decades. They’re also great for emergencies, such as with storms and other types of bad weather. If you’re going camping, then you’ll want these watertight containers for your toilet paper.
However, it’s not a good idea to use vacuum seal containers. Somehow, it will ruin the toilet paper if you place the roll inside a vacuum seal.
Store the TP High and Dry
Sure, it seems handy enough to store the toilet paper near the toilet or under the sink. But then you accidentally splash some water on it, and it’s not so handy anymore. The same goes if you suddenly get a leaky faucet.
So, it may be a better idea to store it somewhere higher in the bathroom where accidental splashes can’t reach it. In fact, you may even want to consider storing the toilet paper outside the bathroom. You may be better off putting your stash of toilet paper in a towel or linen closet that’s close enough to the bathroom.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t have an extra roll of toilet paper under the sink. That’s actually a good idea, as there may be an emergency involving an unexpectedly empty roll. We’re just saying that you should store the rest of the stash of toilet paper somewhere else.
Alternatives to Toilet Paper
If you run out of toilet paper, don’t use ordinary paper. They’re just too rough. The same goes for dollar bills.
But you can try other alternatives. Most of these options aren’t as good as toilet paper, but they should do for emergencies.
This is a receptacle or a small bowl where you can rinse your privates after you’ve used the toilet. They may be standalone pieces, or they may be attached to the toilet.
These things can be expensive, though. But if you’re remodeling the toilet, you may want to consider this addition.
In addition, you may still feel wet after using a bidet, in which case you’ll still need something to wipe you off.
This is actually a popular alternative to toilet paper. Some people even prefer this, especially if they have sensitive skin. Plenty of folks also say that they feel cleaner using this.
You can buy adult wipes, which work just as well. You just need to make sure that the wipes don’t use any disinfectant, which you won’t want to use.
The issue with baby or adult wipes is that they’re more expensive than toilet paper. In addition, even the supposedly “flushable” wipes don’t break down in the sewers.
Napkins and Facial Tissues
These may seem like viable alternatives, at least for an emergency. But most of the time, they’re too rough. But others are sufficiently soft.
You also don’t want to use napkins that contain minty fragrances such as menthol. These fragrances can be very irritating to the skin, especially down there.
This can work, but you need to be very careful regarding sanitation issues. For one, you can’t share these things with other members of the household. It’s strictly one cloth per person. That way, you minimize the risk of transmitting infections.
You also have to be extremely thorough when washing these things. Make sure to sanitize it properly before you use it again. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands before handling these clothes.
Towels and Washcloths
This can work if it’s an emergency. But you need to get them to the laundry afterwards, and you better make sure you sanitize them afterwards.
Look, we’re not advocating that you continue to panic-buy rolls of toilet paper, and stock them like it’s the end of the world. Covid is winding down, and pretty soon things will be back to normal. That means you should buy toilet paper as you normally would.
Buy enough for the family to last for maybe 2 weeks, or for a bit longer. Buying 10 rolls of toilet paper is pretty normal. Just store them properly, and they’ll surely last for a month. After all, with our storage tips, these toilet paper rolls can last for years.
Just keep the rolls of toilet paper away from the damp, and everything’s good!