The coronavirus-related household craze we are REALLY not sure about

Shortages in everyday toiletries are resulting in people turning to alternative methods

Supermarket shelves are getting emptier and emptier as people are stocking up in the wake of coronavirus. But there’s one household essential, in particular, that people are stockpiling — toilet paper.

Related: An expert reveals if Mrs Hinch's favourite disinfectant, Zoflora, protects homes against coronavirus

As a result of this, people are getting creative with ways to make their loo roll last longer — the main one being reusable toilet paper.

Yes, I'm afraid you DID read that correctly!

Many of these reusable products come in cloth form — a material which can be washed over and over again after it’s used. As long as you have access to a washing machine, that is...

bathroom with bathtub and blue wall

(Image credit: TBC)

Being a sustainable solution to one-time-use paper, it makes sense that these eco-friendly toilet rolls have been around for a while. But now, in the midst of coronavirus, business owners have seen them soar in popularity.

Eloise Marsh, who makes rolls for her business Handmade Australian Textiles, posted on her Facebook page about the surge in interest.

She said, ‘Let me guess, you desperately needed toilet paper so you ducked to the shops only to find the entire town has started panic buying and stocked up their own personal toilet paper supply to last them the next year. Leaving none for people like yourself that actually need some. I have somewhat of a solution for you.’

‘Each roll is made up of twenty squares of non-paper, made from a gorgeous printed material to pretty up your bathroom and a terry towel backing (you can choose to have microfibre backing instead of the towelling).’

Her square cloth designs come in a number of tropical and floral prints, and have poppers so they can easily be easily ripped off the roll.

bathroom with bundle tissue paper

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sussie Bell)

But is reusable toilet roll actually safe to use? We spoke to germ expert Jason Tetro, author of bestseller The Germ Files.

Jason exclusively told Ideal Home, 'If you are new to using cloth, the first thing you need to understand is cross-contamination. While I am sure you may not experience a moment like Spud in Trainspotting, there is a good chance that faecal matter may end up in places you don’t want. Make sure that the protocol of taking the cloth from the toilet to the hamper or bucket to the washer is not only easy to perform, but also well known to anyone who is going to perform it.'

He adds, 'The second thing you need to know is that are two ways to kill the microbes in the cloth. The first is hot water above 70 degrees C (160F). The second is a disinfectant that will kill everything. The most obvious is bleach. When you wash the cloth, make sure to keep the water as hot as possible and use that bleach to be sure everything is killed. Also, make sure to disinfect the washer once a week so there is no chance for biofilms in the rubber sealing or the detergent holder.' *

So it seems that reusable toilet roll can be hygienic. That is, if you are exceptional careful about cross-contamination.

*Disclaimer: When using bleach on anything it's important to make sure it's thoroughly rinsed out. To be safe, rinse the reusable cloths afterwards and rinse the washing machine to ensure all the bleach is removed for future washes.