After finding the shelves bare when the pandemic was going on, you surely started thinking about how you should be stocking up on toilet paper.
I mean, if you can’t buy toilet paper everytime an emergency like a storm or some kind of economic crisis happens, then what can you do?
Ok, so you’ve decided your best bet is to start stockpiling once you can buy in bulk again.
Should you, though? Doesn’t toilet paper expire?
Well, yes and no. There is an expiration date on the packages, but you can pretty much ignore that. Which isn’t to say that it will last forever.
There are some things you have to know about toilet paper shelf life and storage before you go out and start hoarding!
In this article, I will answer all of your questions about how long TP lasts and how to store it.
How long does toilet paper last?
The average American uses up to 100 rolls of toilet paper per year. A family of four then uses around 400 rolls. Since packs come in many different quantities it’s impossible to say how long your TP will last in that sense.
If you’re asking how long a roll of toilet paper bought today will last before it is unusable, it depends on a number of factors.
It can last decades before it becomes unusable when it is properly stored but that does also depend on the type of paper it is made from.
You may find that the roll of toilet paper used years from now does the job it was designed to do, just not as comfortably as when it was new.
We will go into the proper way to store toilet paper in a bit.
Does toilet paper dissolve?
Toilet paper is designed to dissolve. Either in water over time like in your toilet pipes in case of a clog. Or, also in the environment.
Now, when talking about whether it will dissolve before you get a chance to use it this is a different discussion. Again, when stored properly your toilet paper will not dissolve on you. If it is tightly wrapped in its original packaging, it will be fine in most cases.
Now, if you have bought very cheap toilet paper and it is simply wrapped in a paper package, then it could actually dissolve before you get to use it. As I mentioned, we will get to how to store it further into the article.
Can toilet paper get moldy/mildew?
This is a definite, yes, it can get moldy or mildew if you live in a damp environment. In fact, even when left in its original packaging, if it is not stored in a dry area, humidity can get into the bag and end up causing the toilet paper to get moldy and become unusable.
If you buy in bulk, a lot of those big packages are not totally sealed so they can end up all getting ruined unless you keep them in a dry area.
How to store toilet paper
Ok, the moment everybody has been waiting for. This is where you want me to tell you how to hoard toilet paper. Well, let me start by saying that if you are planning to keep hundreds of rolls of toilet paper on hand to ride out any crisis, my honest advice is to not do that.
You’re going to be taking up a lot of space that can be used for more important things your family will need in case of an emergency.
Instead, look into ways to live toilet paper free with buying a bidet at the top of the list.
If you do decide to stock up though or just want to know how to keep your toilet paper in good shape in case it takes a while to get to it then read on.
Keep it in its plastic package
Most of the time, your toilet paper comes sealed in a plastic package. It should be airtight, so take a look at the packaging of the TP before you buy it to make sure it doesn’t have any holes in it. Pay close attention to the seams where the package was sealed as they may not be sealed properly.
Don’t take it out of the plastic to stack it on shelves as you will be giving your TP a death sentence.
When you open a package and you feel like it is going to take a long time to get through the rolls that are left, then put them in a sealable bag like one you would store winter clothes in, just don’t vacuum seal it as you will ruin the roll. You just want to prevent air or moisture from entering the bag.
Buy smaller packages
Even if you plan to stock up on toilet paper to last a few years, you shouldn’t buy the packages that have dozens of rolls. Instead buy packages with maybe 10 and then stock them up that way.
The thinking here is two fold.
First, if you open a package, you aren’t exposing the rest of the rolls to the atmosphere for long periods. If you live in a humid area this is important as the other rolls will get moldy eventually if you don’t get to them fast enough.
Second, the smaller packages are almost always sealed better than the big ones. This means that you are less likely to lose your rolls to the elements if the bag is not sealed properly.
And as a bonus, the third way they help is if the bag is damaged you are only losing a few rolls instead of a lot of them.
Find the right storage spot
The storage area has to be dry and dark. If the rolls are well sealed but exposed to the sun through a window, then the paper will begin to break down. By the time you get to them, the paper will be too weak to use and will break apart as you wipe.
It also needs to be dry as any humidity will end up ruining the rolls also. If your package seems to be sealed well, then it may be fine, but what if the seams are not as tight where the bag was sealed? Then air will get in and ruin the rolls. Better to put the rolls into sealable bags to keep the air and moisture out.
Toilet paper alternatives
Look, why go through all of this just to hoard toilet paper? Go get yourself a bidet. There are electric and non electric bidet seat attachments you can use to keep your bum clean even during an emergency when it is hard to find toilet paper in the stores.
And you are helping the environment as a bidet cuts down on toilet paper use so it saves resources. Less trees chopped down or, in the case of recycled toilet paper, less water and fuel used to create it.
You can also go the family cloth route and wipe with some baby wash towels that you buy or make yourself. You will never run out of them and they can be made out of old clothes or linens in a pinch. I think if you are a prepper then this is the way to go as you can save space that could go to more important items like food or water instead of TP.
There are so many reasons to not use toilet paper and the pandemic shined a light on the biggest flaw there is. Supply chains being vulnerable.
The best thing you can do instead of stocking up on toilet paper is to use a bidet. They are more sanitary and will also help you become less dependent on lots of things that are out of your control.
If you are unfamiliar with them you can read up on how to use one here and see if it sways your opinion about toilet paper.