Using Toilet Paper as a Pad or Tampon

Some of us just aren’t that efficient at marking down our period days on the calendar, and because of that, we tend to get caught off guard when it arrives. It is also most uncanny how our period tends to come at inopportune times, presenting somewhat of a crisis. 

Can you avert that crisis by using toilet paper as a makeshift sanitary napkin?

Yes, toilet paper will definitely work as a pad, but it is something you only really want to turn to when there are no other options at your disposal. It can be a good alternative for periods, provided that you wrap it thick enough.

Not having pads or tampons while you are on your period might seem like an extraordinary reality to be faced with. But it has probably happened to most women at some point, regardless of social or economic background. Read on to find out how you can use toilet paper to save the day.


How To Use Toilet Paper As A Pad

When you are on your period, you can get away with using a large wad of toilet paper, either by folding it back and forth numerous times or by wrapping it around your underwear. One difficulty, however, is that it disintegrates very easily, so it is not the most ideal option out there.

In many instances, though, it can be used as a combo with other items and materials that function as a suitable alternative to pads and tampons when you are on your period.

An example of this would be something like cotton balls, which you could wrap into your underwear using toilet paper. The only caveat is that you will have to wrap a considerable amount of that toilet paper around the cotton balls to provide the support and stability that you need. 

If done right, it should work well, though.

The wad of toilet paper you use to create a pad needs to be about two inches thick, or maybe a little thicker than that, to ensure absorbability when you are on your period. 

The thickness will help compensate for how quickly toilet paper disintegrates when wet, especially if you have a heavy flow. While you are not going to get the toilet paper to be the same length as a regular pad, you can still ensure that it is as wide as a typical pad when you fold it for use while you are on your period. 

When you place the thick stack of toilet paper into the crotch of your underwear, you should also try to find some tape to help hold it down. This can usually be achieved by sticking the tape together in such a way that it sticks on both sides.

Once you have successfully stacked toilet paper in the crotch of your underwear, you can then wrap some additional toilet paper around your underwear enough times to provide any additional support you feel you might need. 

Usually, wrapping it around four or five times will be sufficient, but that should not hold you back from doing more if you feel you need to.

Hopefully, you won’t need to go through this more than once in a cycle, as this should buy you enough time to get to a store and purchase pads or tampons.

Is Toilet Paper Safe To Use As A Pad?

While some toxic chemicals are present in toilet paper, using toilet paper as a pad is no less safe than using it to clean yourself after visiting the bathroom. 

Toilet paper is actually safer than some of the other options that are available when you do not have access to a pad or tampon, considering the groin has such sensitive skin.

Toilet paper simply does not pose a big enough health risk to avoid using it as a pad during a time of emergency. In many impoverished communities, young girls do not actually have much of a choice in the matter because of affordability

Toilet paper is the only option available to them, and they pull through just fine.

What Are Other Alternatives To Pads And Tampons?

When you do not have access to feminine hygiene products or toilet paper, you want to look for some kind of material that is considerably more absorbent as a pad, tampon, and toilet paper alternative.

One example of more absorbent material than toilet paper is paper towels, which are readily available in many female bathrooms. If the public restrooms in your community lean more towards using hand dryers, it might be prudent of you to carry around a set of Kleenex paper towels in your bag. 

Paper towels are designed to be more durable and are therefore a little more efficient when dealing with your period.

toilet paper as pad or tampon
Absorbent Toilet Paper

A cheap washcloth or cloth napkin is an outstanding alternative when you do not have a pad or tampon on hand. It is a lot more absorbent than toilet paper or paper towels and easier to manipulate or adjust when fitting it on. 

The difficulty with a washcloth, though, is that there isn’t always one just lying around, waiting for your period of emergency. And if there is a store around that sells washcloths, it seems pretty likely that you could just purchase a pad or tampon, too. 

A pair of clean gym socks can also be highly effective when you do not have access to pads or tampons while you are on your period. 

Even thin socks can be highly absorbent, and they are easier to deal with than any of the other options we have presented to you in this article. 

Socks are also one of those items that tend to be readily available. You need them when wearing shoes, after all.

There is probably nothing worse than being caught off guard by your period at a wedding or any other formal dinner function. However, the silver lining at functions like these is that napkins are usually readily available right there on the table. 

Napkins can be an outstanding solution when you do not have tampons or pads at your disposal while you are on your period.

First aid kits are also readily available in most buildings (it is a legal requirement in most countries) and can offer meaningful solutions when you are on your period. 

The best available solutions for your period in those first aid kits would be cotton balls or some form of strapping

Cotton balls are surprisingly durable and are designed to absorb large amounts of liquids such as menstrual blood.


Walking around with toilet paper, a washcloth, socks, cotton balls, napkins, or paper towels wrapped in your underwear might make you feel a little ridiculous. However, those are all very practical solutions to an inevitable problem that we all run into at some point. 

However, if there is a silver lining that can be extracted from this, it might just help you never forget your pads when that time of the month draws closer.