How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (2023)

How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (1)

Here’s the scenario: your period came today without any signs, then you looked into your drawers and saw you have no pads left. But you have a ton of toilet paper, so you grabbed that before going to the convenience store.

But how long can you use toilet paper as a pad? If toilet paper is used in place of menstrual products, it must only be for 1 to 2 hours. You also cannot use it as a tampon.

Table of Contents

  • Periods and Menstrual Products
  • Using Toilet Paper as an Emergency Pad
  • How Long Can You Leave Them?
  • How to Use Toilet Paper as a DIY Pad
    • Method 1: DIY Day Pad
    • Method 2: DIY Overnight Pad
  • Risks and Side Effects of Using Toilet Paper as Menstrual Pads
  • Alternatives That You Can Use Instead of Toilet Paper
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Conclusion

Periods and Menstrual Products

How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (2)

Menstruation is a biological process wherein the uterus ejects tissue and blood. This may occur every month, but a menstrual cycle is usually every 21 to 35 days.

If you’re a person who menstruates, you can determine your cycle duration by counting the days of intervals between your periods. Start from the first day of your period (past or this month) up to the first day of the next.

Some applications can track your cycle too, so you would know when your next period will come and you can prepare for it by stocking up on menstrual products since the bleeding can last from 2 to 7 days

Before your period comes, you may experience these signs that you’re about to have your first day:

How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (3)

  • cramps
  • breakouts
  • bloating
  • sore breasts
  • mood swings
  • tiredness

But what if you didn’t have these signs?

What if you still need to stock up on menstrual products at home?

What if you get your period when outside but don’t have a pad or tampon?

Using Toilet Paper as an Emergency Pad

Recalling the previous questions, your resort would be to use tissue for your period, unless you’re willing to stain your handkerchief or other clothes.

Toilet paper is a type of tissue typically containing the following ingredients:

How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (4)

  • water
  • pulp from trees
  • chemicals for fiber extraction
  • bleach such as chlorine
  • fragrance
  • formaldehyde

Unlike paper towels, toilet paper disintegrates quickly so it can be flushed down the drain without harming the plumbing system. That said, toilet paper is not strong and leak-proof—but you have no choice if you run out of pads.

Many medical professionals have reacted to this as a health risk, especially if used continuously. Using tissue in place of menstrual products can cause infection as the ingredients contain toxic chemicals and sometimes, waste paper.

In addition, what happens to some women when they use toilet paper to simply wipe themselves after peeing can be as bad as:

How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (5)

  • vulvovaginitis (irritation or infection of the vulva)
  • urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • redness or swelling
  • small cuts
(Video) Menstrual Cycles without Tampons, Pads, or Toilet Paper - Minimalist Life

How Long Can You Leave Them?

If you’re on your period without pads or tampons, you can only use toilet paper for 1 to 2 hours before you switch to an actual menstrual product. This is stated by Dr. Daniel Adegbulu of Nigeria, a Senior Registrar of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the Federal Medical Centre.

Another essential piece of advice is to not insert tissue paper into your vagina like a tampon; this may do more harm than good.

How to Use Toilet Paper as a DIY Pad

Is it bad to use toilet paper for your period? Well, yes. But if you’re still going for it temporarily, we want to help you do it the best way.

Method 1: DIY Day Pad

How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (6)

1. To make a homemade pad, grab pieces of toilet paper and stack them together until ½ inches thick or more; you may use organic cotton toilet paper as a cotton pad too.

Ensure they are also wide horizontally to form “wings” and long enough to cover your underwear.

2. Place the stacked toilet paper on your underwear’s crotch. If there are excess edges, fold them like the wings of a pad.

3. If you’re using a toilet paper roll, wrap that 4 to 5 times around the stacked ones at the underwear’s crotch. If it’s a tissue box, take 5 pieces of toilet paper for this process.

We’re doing it like a plus (+) sign. The stacked toilet paper was placed vertically like a regular pad, and the toilet paper wrap will be done horizontally for more security.

4. Make sure you discard this makeshift pad after 2 hours maximum.

Method 2: DIY Overnight Pad

How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (7)

1. Our sleeping positions are unpredictable at night, and this usually leads to period leaks even when wearing pads.


We can wrap toilet paper around a clean sock for a more absorbent makeshift pad.

2. Put the wrapped sock on your underwear’s crotch, then wrap more toilet paper around it horizontally for more security.

3. But again, we do not recommend using toilet paper as a menstrual product for more than 2 hours, as this concerns your safety and period leaks too.

If you can, find a 24-hour convenience store to get your sanitary pads.

Risks and Side Effects of Using Toilet Paper as Menstrual Pads

Using DIY menstrual pads made of toilet paper have its pros and cons, with the risks overshadowing the benefits in the long run.

  • Pros: Toilet paper is a cheaper alternative to use instead of pads temporarily until you can get ahold of menstrual products.
  • Cons: Using toilet paper as a substitute pad does not guarantee leak protection and is not as absorbent compared with a proper pad. Having toilet paper get in contact with your vagina can cause infection or allergic reaction. Swelling, redness, micro-cuts, vulvovaginitis, and UTI are the possible outcomes when you use toilet paper as a pad.

Overall, using toilet paper as menstrual pads is recommended. It can pose several risks and side effects. This DIY method should only resort to in case of emergency.

Alternatives That You Can Use Instead of Toilet Paper

How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered) (8)

Instead of using toilet paper here is what to do if you don’t have a pad.

  • Menstrual cups. These are reusable or disposable cups that you insert in your vagina like a tampon. There are 2 or 3 sizes depending on the flow’s strength and the doctor’s expert opinion on which one you should use.
  • Reusable cloth pads. Having a reusable pad in your home and your bag is convenient as you will always have something to use when your period unexpectedly comes. You may have to dispose of it once you wash and reuse it a lot of times, but it still saves money.
  • Period underwear. This is a type of underwear made with microfiber polyester layers to absorb your blood flow. Period underwear looks like normal underwear that doesn’t let your skin feel like it’s soaking in liquid.
  • Makeshift pad using a cotton cloth. If you don’t have the previously mentioned products at home, you can try using a thick and absorbent cotton cloth as a temporary pad—preferably having a dark color or a cloth you don’t mind staining.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Often Should You Change a Toilet Paper Pad?

(Video) I Found A Little People Toilet

It is advised to discard a toilet paper pad in 1 to 2 hours and switch to an actual menstrual product afterward.

In the event that 2 hours have passed but you still don’t have a pad or tampon, use new toilet paper for your underwear and discard it again within the recommended hours. But we strongly recommend buying any kind of menstrual product at the nearest convenience store.

Can You Flush Toilet Paper Pads Down the Toilet?

Toilet paper is safe to flush down the drains as it breaks down within 1 to 4 minutes. That said, a toilet paper pad won’t clog your plumbing system.


Is it OK to use toilet paper as menstrual pads? Health-wise, it’s not advisable. Gynecologists have warned against toilet paper contact with the vagina as it can cause infections that range from redness or swelling up to vulvovaginitis and UTI.

But if it’s only temporary until you can get ahold of menstrual products, how long can you use toilet paper as a pad? You may only use it for 1 to 2 hours, then you must switch to sanitary pads after.

5/5 - (2 votes)


How Long Can You Use Toilet Paper as a Pad? (Answered)? ›

Exactly how often you'll need to change the pad will depend on the heaviness of your flow and the durability of the paper you used. However, when the pad gets soaked or starts to disintegrate, or once you've had it in place for several hours, it's time to replace it.

Is it OK to use toilet paper as a pad? ›

In a chat with PUNCH HealthWise, the fertility doctor said: “The use of tissue paper as a sanitary pad could lead to severe health complications as infections which pass through the vagina cavity can ascend to other parts of the genital tract. “Some of these tissue papers are products of waste paper.

What is the toilet paper rule? ›

If the toilet paper is hung "over" their fingers only touch the toilet paper that they'll be using, which will subsequently be flushed. However, if the toilet paper is hung "under" there's a good chance their fingers will brush the wall as well, leaving a deposit.

What can I use instead of a pad? ›

4 Alternative Menstrual Products If You're Sick of Tampons & Pads
  • 1) Menstrual Cups. Menstrual cups are probably the most popular and well-known tampon/pad alternative at the moment. ...
  • 2) Period Underwear. ...
  • 3) Menstrual Discs. ...
  • 4) Reusable Pads.
Jun 23, 2021

How much toilet paper does a person use per day? ›

Individual Toilet Paper Use

Approximately 57 sheets per day of toilet paper are used, with 8.6 sheets being used per trip to the bathroom. Most people use about 20,000 sheets of toilet paper per year (or about 100 rolls).

Can you use toilet paper instead of cotton pads? ›

“The ideal is a cotton pad,” says Chiu, “but when you are traveling and without it, it's definitely OK to sub toilet paper or Kleenex if needed!

Is it bad to wear a pad when not on period? ›

Pads can be worn whenever, either on or off your period. They can be used as back-up support for those times when you're uncertain about the day you're period is going to start.

How many squares of toilet paper should you use when you pee? ›

Surprisingly few resources online suggest how many squares of toilet paper to use. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia suggests 3 to 4.

Why don t some cultures use toilet paper? ›

For many cultures, bathroom habits come from what has been available, rather than what is easy. The washroom essential for many cultures is a container of water. Instead of wiping, they rinse themselves clean by pouring water over a bowl, or even a hole.

What did people use before toilet paper? ›

Leaves, sticks, moss, sand and water were common choices, depending on early humans' environment. Once we developed agriculture, we had options like hay and corn husks. People who lived on islands or on the coast used shells and a scraping technique.

How long do periods last? ›

Your period can last between 2 and 7 days, but it will usually last for about 5 days. The bleeding tends to be heaviest in the first 2 days. When your period is at its heaviest, the blood will be red. On lighter days, it may be pink or brown.

How can I sleep without a pad? ›

There's no position that'll guarantee you won't leak during your period. However, sleeping on your side like you're back in the womb helps take pressure off your abdominal muscles and helps to relieve cramps, too. Sleeping on your front can squeeze and cause blood to move around.

Can you use towels as pads? ›

An absorbent layer - I used a thin but absorbent old towel (if you are wanting to make this even more absorbent then you can always add an extra towel. However I recommend trying with one as its surprisingly absorbent compared to disposables and you don't want to make it unnecessarily bulky).

How do I stop using too much toilet paper? ›

Make sure everyone in your household understands they should always fold the toilet tissue when they use it. Many people tend to wad it up, but this provides less surface area and requires more paper. By folding, you are given more surface area for actual use and you will be able to get by without using so much.

Is it normal to use a lot of toilet paper? ›

Having to use a lot of toilet paper after pooping imay indicate some health conditions, including hemorrhoids or fecal incontinence. If you feel like you have to use half the roll of toilet paper after you have a bowel movement, chances are you may have an underlying health condition.

What percent of people don't use toilet paper? ›

About 70% - 75 % of the world's population does not use toilet paper. People in some parts of the world do not use toilet paper due to a lack of trees. Some people don't use toilet paper because they can't afford it. Many people would rather not spend money on fancy paper to wipe their behinds.

Why do you wrap pads in toilet paper? ›

This helps you avoid leaks and odor. Always wrap a used pad (toilet paper works well) and throw it out. Never flush pads down the toilet! Some tampons and their tubes are flushable.

Can make up pads be flushed? ›

Cosmetics. Cosmetics such as your old moisturiser or other beauty care products that are past their use-by date are potentially toxic. Don't flush them down your toilet, as they are disruptive to septic systems and wastewater treatment plants.

Should I change my pad every time I pee? ›

How often should I change my pad? Change your pad at least every 4 to 8 hours or whenever it seems full or feels wet and uncomfortable. Some girls change their pads each time they urinate.

Can you tell if a girl is wearing a pad? ›

Many tweens worry that people will notice that they are wearing a pad. Explain that pads (even super absorbent or long versions) are designed so they aren't visible through clothing. Therefore, nobody needs to know someone is wearing a pad or is having their period unless they decide to tell them.

Can I swim with a pad on? ›

Swimming on your period with a pad is not advised. Pads are made out of absorbent material that soaks up liquids within seconds. Submerged in water like a pool, a pad will completely fill with water, leaving no room for it to absorb your menstrual fluid. Plus, it may swell up into a big soppy mess.

Why do I wipe and wipe and still have poop? ›

Common causes include: Chronic diarrhea Constipation Hemorrhoids Crohn's disease The skin of the anus can stick to the stool and make it difficult to clean the anorectal area after a bowel movement. Leaky gut Leaky gut is also known as fecal incontinence.

What happens when you don't wipe after peeing? ›

You see, when you don't clean yourself down there after peeing, the urine droplets stuck in your pubes get transferred to your underwear. This gives rise to a foul odour. Moreover, it also gives birth to bacteria in your underwear, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI).

How do you wipe your bottom when you can't reach? ›

If mobility issues or pain prevent you from bending or reaching, there are products that can help. You can buy toilet paper aids with long handles that hold toilet paper on the end or tong-style products that grip the toilet paper between the prongs. Some even come in small carrying cases so you can use them on the go.

What does Japan use instead of toilet paper? ›

Toilet paper alternatives from around the world

Japan is the one Asian stand-out in that they adopted bidets rather than other ways of washing the bum. You'll find in most European countries on this list that public restrooms are actually something you have to pay for due to the need to keep them stocked and clean.

Do Japanese use toilet paper? ›

Toilet paper is used in Japan, even by those who own toilets with bidets and washlet functions (see below). In Japan, toilet paper is thrown directly into the toilet after use. However, please be sure to put just the toilet paper provided in the toilet.

What did cowboys use for toilet paper? ›

Mullein aka “cowboy toilet paper”

If the cowboys used the large velvety leaves of the mullein (Verbascum thapsus) plant while out on the range, then you can too! Mullein is a biennial plant available for use in almost every bioregion.

How did Native Americans wipe? ›

Early American

Stones, sponges-on-a-stick, and wooden sticks are all unique ancient wiping methods. However, throughout time, if a person did not have one of these wiping methods available, they would often resort to the tried and true “closest smooth-ish object” wiping method.

How did Romans wipe their bottoms? ›

The Romans cleaned their behinds with sea sponges attached to a stick, and the gutter supplied clean flowing water to dip the sponges in. This soft, gentle tool was called a tersorium, which literally meant “a wiping thing.” The Romans liked to move their bowels in comfort.

What did Native Americans use as toilet paper? ›

Corn cobs. Dried corn cobs were plentiful in rural agrarian societies throughout history. From colonial Americans to ancient Mayans — the corncob worked by turning on its axis to clean the region (you get the picture). According to our official internet sources, some outhouses in western US states still use this method ...

What is the heaviest day of your period? ›

The bleeding tends to be heaviest in the first 2 days – but everyone is different. When your period is at its heaviest, the blood will be red. On lighter days, it may be pink, brown or black. You'll lose about 5 to 12 teaspoons of blood during your period although some women bleed more heavily than this.

Do you count brown blood as last day of period? ›

At the beginning and the end, your period could look more like discolored discharge ranging from pink to brown than the very red blood that you see on the heavier days of bleeding. Mark your first day on the day you see this color change and the last day according to this same description.

What is the brown liquid after my period? ›

Following your period, brown discharge is in most cases simply blood that has taken a little longer to be expelled. If you're spotting between periods, blood may mix with your usual white vaginal discharge, resulting in a brown, thick, rubber-like consistency. All of this is totally normal and fine.

Do periods start in the morning or night? ›

A significantly greater number of cycles (70.4%) commenced during the night or in the first 4 h after rising, compared with later in the day. In a large proportion of these (29 out of 76), blood was noted to be present on waking, menstruation thus having begun at some time during the hours of sleep.

Can feel my period blood coming out? ›

When you wear a tampon, you shouldn't be able to feel anything coming out, regardless of how heavy the flow is. When you wear a pad or a liner, you may be able to feel the blood as it exits your body, but this typically only happens when your flow is fairly heavy. Either way, it should be painless!

Why is there blood only when I wipe during period? ›

If you notice it only when wiping or can easily absorb any light bleeding with a pantyliner (or even just underwear), it's spotting. If you need a pad or tampon to absorb bleeding between periods, it generally wouldn't be considered spotting.

What do pads stick to? ›

In most cases pads have adhesives that stick to the panties, while others have wings that wrap under the panties to keep the pad in place.

What to do if you don t have a tampon? ›

5 Tampon Alternatives You Need to Know About
  1. Period Underwear. ...
  2. Menstrual Cups. ...
  3. Menstrual Discs. ...
  4. Reusable Cloth Pads. ...
  5. Sterile Gauze.
Jul 6, 2020

Can wiping too much cause bleeding? ›

Over-wiping with rough and dry toilet paper can lead to itching, pain, and bleeding. In fact, improper wiping is the leading cause of America's most common bum-related injury – anal fissures (aka anal tears). Other common problems include UTI's and hemorrhoids.

What can bad toilet paper do? ›

Experts from the University of Florida warn that your toilet paper could contain toxic “forever chemicals,” also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), which have previously been linked to certain cancers and even low sperm count.

Does toilet paper get clogged? ›

Much like your kitchen sink drain, toilet drains can become clogged. The usual culprits are waste, an object, or even toilet paper, which can all get lodged in the drain.

Is wiping with toilet paper enough? ›

These doctors warn that wiping with toilet paper alone could “leave feces behind” and could lead to excessive wiping that “could cause health problems such as anal fissures and urinary tract infections.” Indeed, they point out that toilet paper may wipe, but it does not actually clean because it does not contain ...

What is more hygienic toilet paper or water? ›

Washing with water is a much more effective and long-lasting way of cleaning, and removes more germs and bacteria than paper. Using water is a much more gentle and soothing way of cleaning after using the toilet and the feeling of freshness and cleanliness is incomparable to when using paper.

Do most men wipe after they pee? ›

Nearly all women (90%) say they always wipe with toilet paper after peeing, while just 22% of men say they do.

How long does a roll of toilet paper last for a woman? ›

One person will go through a regular roll of 150 sheets in about 4.3 days. And if you've ever wondered how much toilet paper you use in a year, the answer is probably somewhere in the ballpark of 85 rolls! What about when you've got a few people in your household?

What percent of people use toilet paper? ›

Everyone Poops — But Not Everyone Uses Toilet Paper

While pooping is universal, using toilet paper isn't. Less than 30% of the world's population uses toilet paper. That leaves a whopping 4 billion people who don't. In some places, it's because of access.

How do you discreetly take a pad to the bathroom? ›

Slip it under the waistband of your pants or skirt and hide it under your shirt, slide it between your boot and your ankle, or put it under a bra strap. If you have long sleeves, you can tuck a pad or tampon under the cuff or roll it up inside your sleeve.

Can I use a cloth as a pad? ›

Cloth menstrual pads are cloth pads worn in the underwear to collect menstrual fluid (blood from uterine lining). They are a type of reusable menstrual hygiene product, and are an alternative to sanitary napkins or to menstrual cups.

Is it normal to use 5 pads a day? ›

How many pads should you use in a day? Good question. However, there isn't a single right answer because there are a few factors to consider that might change how many you'd need. A very rough estimate would be four or five pads, assuming that you're getting at least the recommended 7 hours of sleep at night.

How many pads does a woman use in a year? ›

WoMena is advocating for further research. HOW MANY PRODUCTS ARE USED? There are few estimates in scientific literature, but many sources suggest that women using disposable pads use 2-4 per day. If a woman bleeds 5/28 days, this means 130-260 pads/tampons per year, or 5,000-10,000 over her reproductive years.

Can I wear a pad for 12 hours? ›

No matter how light your flow is, or even if there is no flow, bacteria can build up. Changing your pad every 3 or 4 hours (more if your period is heavy) is good hygiene and helps prevent bad odors.

How do you swim with a period pad? ›

Swimming on your period with a pad is not advised. Pads are made out of absorbent material that soaks up liquids within seconds. Submerged in water like a pool, a pad will completely fill with water, leaving no room for it to absorb your menstrual fluid.

How to do the pad trick for period? ›

"Place a pad on your panties like you normally would. "Then get a second pad and place horizontally where your butt goes. "This helps prevent leaks and collect more blood." At the time of writing, after just one week of being live on TikTok, Alice's video has racked up a whopping 16 million views.

Can you see a pad through pants? ›

Unless you are wearing skin tight or semi-translucent clothing, it's unlikely that anyone will be able to see your pad. PIMP cloth pads aren't bulky like lots of conventional pads or even other reusables, so you don't have to worry about extra bulge in your pants, skirts, or shorts.


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