Which Leaves Makes the Best Toilet Paper?


If you ever camped, you probably found yourself in the need of toilet paper and didn’t have it available for your use. Even if you never camped, you never know when you may need it. Toilet paper was only available in the U.S in the mid-19th century, so how did people clean after themselves back then? Well, many different ways. Now, if you think about native-Americans and camping enthusiasts, they likely used leaves as toilet papers.

The biggest problem when you use this method as toilet paper is that you risk running into poisonous leaves. Those won’t kill you, but they will give you a terrible rash in a very sensitive area. So, which leaves makes the best toilet paper? The best leaves are Mullein, large leaf aster, corn lily, wooly lambs’ ear, and thimbleberry. They are absorbent, resistant, and more importantly not poisonous. These leaves will get the job done when there’s no toilet paper around and make sure that you are able to keep basic hygiene in-check.

So, to make sure that you not only know which leaves are okay to use, I did some research so you can understand all the reasons why they are the best option for you. It’s also important to know how to identify those leaves otherwise you may end up making use of poison ivy or oak. If you do that, you will end up with a rash case that may go from light to severe.

You might want to avoid this all together. One option is to carry with you compact toilet paper that is the size of a large pill or Mentos tablet and can easily fit in your pocket. Check out this product here that is available on Amazon.


This plant is commonly known as cowboy toilet paper. This title has a very strong reason to be. The leaves of this plant are soft like velvet. This, as you can imagine, makes for the perfect toilet paper while in the wild. Just imagine how difficult it is to not have any water or toilet paper available to make sure you finish what you’ve started. You need basic knowledge to know which leaves to trust.

The Mullein leaves get even better when you find out that they are biennial, which means that they grow all year. They also grow in nearly every region. From coast to coast. So, if ever in need of toilet paper look for the green plants that look like they’re covered in velvet.

The main advantages of using these leaves are:

  1. Soft
  2. Absorbent
  3. Widely available

The easiest way to find them is to look near sideroads and trails. They grow with a yellow flower. Growing near 6 feet tall, they aren’t hard to spot. Once you do spot them, all you have to do is take a few leaves and proceed with your task. They don’t have any poisonous parts, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Large Leaf Aster

If the large Aster wasn’t celebrated by indigenous people as food and medicine, we could say that they were made for cleaning your derriere. These leaves are big, soft-enough, and their heart-shape makes them perfect. They are popularly known as lumberjack toilet paper. They’re widely used for that purpose by lumberjacks of the Northeast and Great Lake.

They’re easy to find in those regions. The great thing is especially their size. Now, in the regions that they grow there is usually poisonous oak, so it’s always good to keep an open eye to not make the mistake of getting the wrong leaves.

To make sure, look for the big leaves that are shaped like a heart. Also, look it up a photo online to make even more sure that you have an idea of what they look like.

Another important tip is, if you can, before using the leaves, test them on the back of your hand. This way you if you’re allergic to this or any other plant you have a greater chance of finding out. Remember, it’s better to have a rash on your hands than your derriere. So, just look for the heart-shaped, big leaves that you will be good to go.

Corn Lily

This is a plant that you’re going to find more in the American west region. They grow, especially in open meadows, and offer you a big leaf with the size of a football. The leaves are sturdy which makes them perfect for the task no matter how big you are. Again, they aren’t poisonous but it’s always good to test before using them. You never know to what you may be allergic to.

Since they aren’t as abundant in numbers you may want to make sure there is enough around you. Still, their leaves are so big that you probably will not have any problem.

Another important tip is to remember to only use the plants that look well and alive. This is because this plant is sometimes referred to as false skunk cabbage. This is due to the plant stinking when it withers from a drought. As long as you don’t get the dry leaves, you are good to go with your business.

Again, you’re going to find this plant in the west region likely in mountains or common places that people go hiking. They’re easy to spot, which makes them a perfect option for the bathroom situation.

Wooly Lambs Ear

Another great option you can use as toilet paper, the wooly lamb’s ear is perfect for the task. They’re quite similar to the Mullein leaves that we mentioned above. They are extremely soft. So soft that people describe them as clouds. They’re also very absorbent and big. This plant gets even better because it grows in every region of the United States. They’re also really easy to find and not easy to mistake for a poisonous plant.

Now, just in case you need it for something else, these leaves are also edible and are medicinal. You can use them as natural band-aids. If you find yourself in a survival situation this information may also be useful, so just don’t forget it.

This plant also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It treats even E. coli. It is a consensus among people who have used these leaves that they are better than toilet paper. Some people even let them inside a jar during growing season in the toilet to be used, you know when.

So, here’s what you’re should to do. Take a few leaves. Never harvest the whole plant, it’s just unnecessary and why would you destroy a source of future toilet paper for you and others? So, just take the necessary leaves for you and you’re good to use it.


This is another plant with really large leaves. Besides that, they also grow a favorite berry of many children and adults. They grow mainly in the west region of the country but you can also find them in some parts of the northeast.

Anyway, these leaves are a good substitute for toilet paper because they are big and sturdy. You can even fold them and they continue to have a good size to be used as toilet paper. Again, all you have to do is take a few leaves and you have enough to go on with your business.

To find this plant, you are going to have to go looking in the mountains, in places that are shady, cool, and moist. The leaves are fuzzy and big. They’re usually larger than an adult’s hand. They have the perfect size for the job.

When looking for this plant just be aware that small wildlife also loves the berries of this plant so you may encounter a wild animal. Nothing that will cause a problem but it’s always good to be alert.

So, make sure you take only the leaves you are going to need and to make sure that you get some berries to store as food for later. It is always good to be prepared.

Final Thoughts

These are the best leaves you can use as toilet paper. Some of them work even better than toilet paper. All you have to do is know what you’re looking for since they aren’t that difficult to find. Just remember to avoid the poisonous leaves. Make sure you know how they look like.

Also, only take what you need. Look for other uses for these leaves as well since most of them are either edible or medicinal. Sometimes both.

To make it an easy choice, you can get a toilet paper product sold on Amazon that is so compact, you can keep it in your pocket. Click here to get the latest product pricing on Amazon. If you chose this, they sellers also provide an easy carry container.

Related Questions

What are the best alternatives for toilet paper other than leaves?

There are other alternatives to toilet paper if you don’t have that or leaves around. The first one is the obvious one, water. If you have any water source, you can use it for that. Another great option is to use baby wipes. Also, you can use corncobs, small stones, oyster, cleaning tissues, and clamshell. These are the best options that you’re going to find besides toilet paper and leaves.

What to avoid as toilet paper in a survival situation?

It is safe to say that you should totally avoid poisonous plants. At the very best they cause a minor rash and the worst-case scenario you may have a serious reaction. Also, avoid anything that obviously will have a bacterial infestation. If you do that, you avoid 99% of the worst possibilities.


    1. It would be good to contact your county agricultural extension services to help you find these tree species.

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