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Toilet paper is out of stock everywhere. Here’s how to order it online

Toilet paper is one of those things that you probably don’t think about, unless you run out and you’re in the middle of a … delicate situation. At least that was true until the pandemic of 2020.

Roving hordes of panicked people have hoarded almost every roll to be found across the United States. As the pandemic has progressed, the ways stores have handled the shortage has progressed. Some stores have limited the number of people in their buildings at one time and have limited the number of packages people can buy. Still, finding rolls in some area is difficult.

If your stores have been cleaned out and you don’t want to even consider standing in line to grab a pack when a new shipment comes in, the next logical choice would be to search online. Unfortunately, hoarders have ransacked online stores, too. So can you even get a roll or two online? Yes, but you have to have a plan.

where to get toilet paper in a pandemic
Anna Shvets/Pexels

The magic disappearing toilet paper

Like in brick-and-mortar stores, finding toilet paper at online stores is really hit or miss. I’ve had a lot of trouble myself with the magic disappearing rolls.

For instance, an ad for toilet paper at Walmart’s online store popped up on my Facebook feed. I was delighted, since somehow my household of four seems to go through a shocking amount of TP. I clicked on the ad and digitally tossed a pack into my shopping cart. Unfortunately, I got into a conversation with my husband, and by the time I went to check out, the toilet paper was sold out.

Not to be defeated, I went to Amazon’s website. They always have what you need, and I’ve never been let down by Amazon. Sure enough, there were packs available. I added some to my cart, then (apparently not learning from my mistakes) fell down the Amazon rabbit hole, only to surface at the checkout some time later. Yep, you guessed it. The packs of two-ply have all been plundered, leaving me with with a low-key dread.

Check often, and attack

An emergency roll of toilet paper
Elle Hughes/Pexels

By this point, I have become an online toilet paper pandemic shopping champion. First, you need to have a list of online retailers to check for new supplies, and you need to check them often to score a new shipment. Thankfully, this is a lot easier than running to every store in your town looking for a roll. In addition to conventional online stores like Walmart, Amazon, and Target, check at some less obvious sites like Lowes, Home Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples.

Another option I’ve found helpful is to type “toilet paper” into Google, and then select the Shopping option on the search page. Google will list all of the toilet paper that’s for sale on the shopping page. They’ve also created a policy remove any options that include price gouging, which can make your search a little less frustrating.

Once you’ve found a pack, don’t wait! Load your cart with as many packs as you need and head straight to the checkout and complete your order. This will keep your TP from getting snipped away from you.

You may run into some problems

Even if you follow the guidelines above, you’ll probably run into some problems with ordering toilet paper online beyond simply snagging a roll before someone else does. One problem is delays with shipping times. It may take a while for your order to get to you. While I can usually get anything shipped to me in two days or less with my Amazon Prime membership, my last order of TP took six days to get to me. I know someone who ordered his toilet paper from Office Max and WB Mason, and eventually got his rolls after a couple of weeks. So, make sure you order a new pack well before you need it. You may also want to check and see if the site has an option to pick up your purchase at the store, if you only have a few squares left on the roll.

Another problem may be cost. While Amazon and eBay have put the smack down on sellers who are jacking up prices to make a huge profit off of the pandemic, you still may find prices not to your liking, no matter where you shop. This is because the only packs you may find are in bulk quantities, forcing you to shell out way more than you normally would. The upside of this is that you can stock up in a socially acceptable way.

Still, no luck? Here’s an idea

There is a chance that you won’t be able to catch anything for sale online due to bad luck or bad timing. While that may leave you thinking about cutting up an old T-shirt or finding a use for those wayward unmatched socks, I have a better solution.

I know bidets aren’t very mainstream in the United States, but other countries have been using them for decades to get their bottoms sparkling clean. You don’t even need to renovate your bathroom or overhaul your toilet, either. You can get toilet seats that clean, warm, and dry your fanny that are super easy to install. Here’s our list of the best bidets of 2020 to get you started on your path to less dependence on TP.

Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford has been a tech, lifestyle and science writer for more than 20 years. Her work is read by millions each month…
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