Does Toilet Paper Expire? (Storage Tips)

When the Coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, consumers worldwide raced to the stores to stock up on necessities to make sure they would not run out when the manufacturing plants closed down. If you bought enough toilet paper to last a few years, you might be wondering when it expires.

does toilet paper expire

In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not toilet paper expires and let you know the best ways to store toilet paper long-term. We’ll also answer some popular questions about toilet paper, including what chemicals are in it, whether or not it dissolves, and what you could use in place of toilet paper.

Does Toilet Paper Expire?

Toilet paper can last for decades if you store it correctly. It doesn’t expire in the traditional sense like food, where it can go bad by a specific date, but it can break down if it’s not stored correctly. If you stock up on toilet paper, keep it in a cool, dry location.

How To Store Toilet Paper Long-Term (3 Helpful Tips)

Toilet paper can last indefinitely as long as it’s stored in the right conditions. Let’s look at the best way to store toilet paper long-term.

toilet paper storage tips

Store In Airtight Containers

If you’re planning to store your toilet paper for years, you should put the packages in an airtight container.

One way to do this is to take a plastic bin, like a Rubbermaid tub with a lid, like you would use to store holiday decorations.

Line the container with a large trash bag as an extra layer of protection from humidity, fill it with your toilet paper packages, put the lid on, and seal it with heavy-duty duct tape.

If you live in a particularly humid climate or your house has previously experienced flood or storm damage, you may also want to put in a few packets of silica gel to keep the inside of the container as dry as possible.

Keep It In A Cool, Dry Location

Even if you’ve only got a few months’ supply of toilet paper, it’s essential to store it in a cool, dry location.

Heat and UV rays from the sun can cause toilet paper to break down too quickly, so make sure you don’t store it too close to windows. 

Keeping a roll or two of toilet paper under the bathroom sink is a good idea in the short term, but you shouldn’t keep extra packages in the bathroom if you have other places to store them.

Keeping it under the bathroom sink is a dangerous game: if the plumbing leaks, it will ruin all your toilet paper. Remember, since toilet paper is manufactured to break down in water, any moisture will start this process.

Ward Off Bugs With Insect Repellent

If you’re planning to store your extra toilet paper in your basement or garage, you should put it in an airtight container as outlined above to keep out any moisture.

You may also want to add an insect repellent to the container to keep bugs from eating or nesting in it.

To avoid contaminating it with chemicals, consider using diatomaceous earth, wood chips, or cotton balls with drops of insect-repelling essential oils, like lavender or peppermint.

What If I Run Out Of Toilet Paper?

empty toilet roll

If you’ve run out of toilet paper, don’t despair. There are several alternative ways to get clean after using the bathroom.

  • Newspaper or Phonebook: Phonebooks are largely obsolete today, but it doesn’t stop telephone companies from sending them out once a year whether you want them or not. Similarly, after you’ve read the daily newspaper, there’s little use for it. Put all that unnecessary paper to good use in the bathroom if you don’t have access to toilet paper.
  • An Old Washcloth: Though it may not seem appealing at first, using old washcloths instead of toilet paper is incredibly eco-friendly. To make this option as sanitary as possible, keep a stack of old washcloths by the toilet. If you don’t have washcloths, you could make some out of old shirts or socks. Keep a bucket filled halfway with white vinegar or bleach and water. When you need to go, simply wet the cloth and clean your bottom, then place the cloth in the bucket. On laundry day, rinse the cloths in the bucket by swishing them with a plunger, wring out excess water, and place them in the washing machine.
  • A Bidet: Clearly, this option won’t work if you’ve just run out of toilet paper, but if you’re having trouble getting your hands on more for a few weeks, you could install a bidet. Bidets are simple to use. All you need to do is use the bathroom, press the button that starts the water spray for 30-60 seconds, and pat dry with a clean cloth. You can keep a bucket with vinegar or water and bleach next to your toilet to place the drying cloths between laundering to keep your bathroom sanitary, then wring out the cloths and put them into your washing machine on laundry day.

FAQ

How Long Does Toilet Paper Last In Storage?

Toilet paper can last for decades as long as you store it in a cool, dry location. Putting it in an airtight container can help extend its shelf life.

Is it OK to Store Toilet Paper in the Garage?

It depends on how water-tight and climate-controlled your garage is and how long you plan to store it. If you recently purchased a few months’ worth of toilet paper, storing it in the garage until you need it is fine.

If your garage draws moisture, you may want to put it up on a shelf or place the packages in a waterproof container.

If you’re storing your toilet paper for prepping purposes, you’ll need to put the packages in an airtight container and keep those containers on a shelf.

If you live in a hot climate, this may not be the best place to store toilet paper because heat can break down the material.

If you have no other place to keep it, make sure you seal the container as best you can to keep out any other contaminants (besides the heat) to make it last as long as possible.

Does Toilet Paper Dissolve?

Yes, toilet paper does dissolve. All toilet paper is manufactured to break down or dissolve in water. Some cheaper or environmentally-friendly brands may also dissolve after a few years in storage.

Does Toilet Paper Contain Chemicals?

Yes, most toilet paper contains chemicals, namely chlorine bleach and formaldehyde. The bleach is what gives toilet paper its pristine, white appearance.

Both of these chemicals are skin irritants that can mimic yeast infections in women. If you have sensitive skin and find that your bum is frequently irritated, you should consider switching to chlorine-free toilet paper like Seventh Generation or EcoLeaf.

Conclusion

The idea of running out of toilet paper can make anyone consider stocking up. Luckily, toilet paper can last for decades if you store it in a cool, dry place.

Unfortunately, many brands contain chemicals like chlorine bleach and formaldehyde, so if you find yourself with an irritated bottom, consider switching to a chlorine-free brand.

If you do run out of toilet paper, don’t despair; there are a few eco-friendly ways to get clean without it.

Shauna Stone