Is Toilet Paper Better than Water?

This article discusses if toilet paper is better than water. In some cultures, using water while going to the toilet is part of their daily lives. On the other hand, some cultures would prefer to use toilet paper. Using water or toilet paper usually depends on the region of living as well as the practices that are done since childhood. However, when it comes to comparing toilet paper and water, which is the better choice?

Is toilet paper better than water? Water is better in providing toilet hygiene as compared to toilet paper. Dry toilet paper cannot clean in the same way as water. Moreover, excessive use of toilet paper can cause irritation and leave some residue on the body. Water is known as a universal solvent and is effective when it comes to cleaning the body.

What are the Pros and cons of using toilet paper and water? Why should you use water instead of toilet paper? Is toilet paper sanitary? These are some of the questions that we will discuss in this article. Read the rest of the post below for more tips and information.

Is toilet paper better than water
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Why Use Toilet Paper?

Toilet paper is disposable, handy, and readily available. They can easily be found in local stores and even online. Toilet paper is also a suitable alternative when water is not available. Below are several reasons why toilet paper is used.

It is Disposable

One of the reasons why people use toilet paper is because it is disposable. It is made to be very light so that it easily dissolves in water and will not clog up the septic system. Some toilet paper is made to be flushable and will easily flush down the toilet and pass through the drainage system. We have also written this article that discusses is bamboo toilet paper is flushable. Check out the article for more information about the topic.

It is Handy

Toilet paper is handy and can be carried inside a pouch or bag while traveling. To avoid being bulky, toilet paper is manufactured without cardboard, compressed gently, and stored in a small plastic bag. You can easily reach for it inside your bag in case you stop at a public toilet and there is no bidet or water supply available.

It is Widely Available

Toilet paper can be easily found in supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, and even online. You can find a wide array of choices that you can opt from like recycled toilet paper and those that are made from eco-friendly materials like bamboo and hemp. You can also check out this article titled, which is better: hemp or bamboo toilet paper? Find out the pros and cons of each type of toilet paper.

It is a Suitable Alternative

If water is not available or in areas where there is a limited water supply, toilet paper is a suitable alternative when going to the toilet.

Why We Should Not Use Toilet Paper?

Toilet paper does not guarantee total cleaning. There is also an increased risk of allowing germs in your hands when you use toilet paper. Since toilet paper is made from trees, it is not good for the environment. Let us discuss more on why we should not use toilet paper below.

You Can Get in Contact With Germs

Using toilet paper can increase the chances of getting in contact with germs from urine and stool. It also increases the chance of those germs staying in your hands if you do not properly wash them. Take note that germs can easily enter your body through your hands. Moreover, if you do not store toilet paper properly, it can get exposed to germs, dust, and bacteria. Toilet papers that are single ply are very thin and using them to wipe liquid and wet areas can easily leak in your hands. We have also shared this article that discusses if toilet paper really cleans. Check out the article for more information about the topic.

Not Environment-Friendly

Toilet papers are made from trees and a single tree can create 200 rolls of toilet paper. Take note that there are more than 80 million rolls that are produced daily which is not good for the environment. Also, using toilet paper adds to water and land pollution because it requires time to decompose.

Does Not Guarantee Total Cleaning

Using toilet paper to clean after going to the toilet does not guarantee total cleaning. There are small amounts of fecal matter that can stick to the skin and in the surrounding area as well which can increase the risk of germ accumulation and put your health at risk. Also, excessive wiping with the use of toilet paper can cause the skin to get irritated.

Why Use Water Instead of Toilet Paper?

Using water promotes better personal hygiene and cleaning. Water does not irritate the skin and is also comfortable to use. Using water instead of toilet paper helps the environment and reduces deforestation. Water reduces plumbing problems and will not clog your pipes and drains. Besides, it saves money and also reduces your household waste.

Helps the Environment

An American uses approximately 57 sheets of toilet paper a day. This can sum up to a total of over three million tons of toilet paper used in the US per year. Meaning, it requires 54 million trees to be cut down. Moreover, a large amount of water is needed to produce toilet paper. 3.7 gallons of water is needed to produce the 57 sheets of toilet paper used per day on average.

Promotes Better Personal Hygiene

Wiping with the use of toilet paper after going to the bathroom can still leave you feeling unclean as there is some fecal residue that might remain on the skin. Using water will not leave any residue on the skin and will also make you feel thoroughly clean and refreshed.

Cost-Effective and Minimizes Household Waste

Purchasing a bidet and using water can save money and will also minimize your household waste. Sure, you may still need to use a small amount of toilet paper to dry off but it will only amount to a fraction if you do not use a bidet.

Good for the Skin and More Comfortable to Use

Dry toilet paper is rough on the skin and is not that comfortable to use. If you are dealing with skin irritation and other skin problems, using warm water can be soothing and will also clean better. Furthermore, there are rectal and anal conditions that can make using toilet paper to be very painful. If you have hemorrhoids, water is the best choice to clean yourself after going to the toilet.

Avoids Plumbing Problems and Prevent Clogs

Using water can help avoid plumbing problems and prevent drain clogs in your home. Toilet paper, especially those that have thick layers can get stuck on the drain and pipes which can require you to hire the services of a professional plumber and cause you a huge chunk off your budget. You can also read this article titled, what is the worst toilet paper for septic systems? We have shared the different types of toilet paper that can block or damage the septic system.

✅ Video – Using water instead of toilet paper (Sustainable Zero Waste Options)

Julie Cappello shared the video below on her YouTube channel. She talks about using water instead of toilet paper for a sustainable zero waste option. The many benefits of using water are discussed as well as the disadvantages of using toilet paper. Check out the video below for more information.

Toilet Paper Vs Water

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of toilet paper and water for the environment, personal hygiene, cleanliness, and health.

For the Environment

Using water is less harmful to the environment as compared to using toilet paper. Using toilet paper can result in cutting down millions of trees. Also, considerable amounts of energy, water, and other materials are required to run and sustain toilet paper production which has a negative effect on the environment.

For Personal Hygiene

Using water is better for personal hygiene than toilet paper. Using toilet paper does not guarantee total cleaning and there is still urine or fecal residue left on the skin. Toilet paper cannot clean the body in the same way as water. Excessive use of it can result in irritation and skin allergies.

For Cleanliness

Water is regarded as a universal solvent. Meaning, it is most effective in cleaning the body. It can thoroughly clean the body and will protect your skin from infectious illnesses. As compared to toilet paper, water can make you feel completely clean and refreshed after using the toilet.

For Health

If you have a condition where you bleed when you wipe, using warm water to clean yourself is your best option. A study from 2009 compares warm water sprays to sitz baths for those who had surgery around their anus and found no difference in wound healing. On the other hand, those who were in the water spray group said the spray was more convenient and satisfying to use.

Why Cleaning with Water is More Effective than Wiping with Toilet Paper?

Cleaning with the use of water is more effective as compared to wiping with the use of toilet paper. A study in 2005 which is done in an American nursing home found that the instances of UTIs decreased in patients who used a bidet as compared to those who didn’t. Using toilet paper will not totally remove urine and feces on the skin. On the other hand, water will be able to reduce the number of fecal bacteria that is left on the skin. Check out this article that we have shared that talks about the history of toilet paper. We shared interesting facts about TP that you might not be aware of.

Is Toilet Paper or Water more Hygienic?

Water is more hygienic as compared to toilet paper. According to doctors, toilet paper is the healthiest option to clean up after going to the toilet. As a matter of fact, it will not totally clean your butt and can only smear around the fecal matter. Water is more hygienic and will also cause less injury to the skin.

Is Toilet Paper Sanitary?

Toilet paper is considered the standard method of cleaning after using the toilet, but it is not the healthiest way or the most sanitary. Water is considered the best choice because it is gentler, hygienic, and will not smear fecal matter around the skin.

How to Use Water Instead of Toilet Paper

There are different methods for cleaning with the use of water and these vary from culture to culture, religions, and across different places. The bidet is a popular choice and you can find different types of bidets available on the market. For more information about this topic, you can check out this article that we have shared titled, guide to using water instead of toilet paper.


In this article, we have discussed if toilet paper is better than water. We have learned that water is a better choice as compared to using toilet paper. Using water has many benefits not only when it comes to personal hygiene but also for the health, the plumbing system, and the environment. Water is a safer, hygienic, sanitary, comfortable, eco-friendly, and gentle way to clean after using the bathroom. Thank you for reading!

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