Can Toilet Paper Get Mold? (Yes, Here’s Why)

can toilet paper get mold

Using the restroom may be a part of daily life, but that doesn’t change the fact that your toilet paper is the last place you want to find mold! The question is, can toilet paper get mold?

Mold growth occurs on material that is damp, making wood one of the most common places for mold to thrive dur to it’s porous, moisture-absorbing nature. Toilet paper is not only created from wood pulp, but is normally located in areas prone to moisture. Therefore, toilet paper can grow mold.

Yikes! There we have it: toilet paper is susceptible to mold. In this article we’ll look into how long toilet paper can last before growing mold, why paper can even get moldy, and the harm moldy paper might cause.

How Long Does Toilet Paper Last Before it Goes Bad?

Toilet paper is not like food items or makeup: it does not go bad at any high rate of speed, even if your favorite brand includes an expiration date on the packaging.

However, that does not mean toilet paper lasts forever. Toilet paper that is kept in a dry, controlled climate can last as long as twenty years without expiring.

There are, unfortunately, ways to speed up the expiration of your toilet paper, rendering it useless and, let’s face it, pretty gross.

The fastest way to lose an unused roll of toilet paper is for it to get wet.

Toilet paper is made to be flushed, so most brands of toilet paper are constructed so that toilet paper breaks down in water.

Usually this works in our favor: a used wad of toilet paper gets wet, does it’s job, and disappears, either down the drain or into the garbage can! 

However, if a roll of toilet paper gets wet before you intended or even got a chance to use it, that roll won’t last very long. It may not disintegrate before your eyes, but the presence of moisture will lead to the growth of mold.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, mold can develop within a day of your toilet paper getting wet. Therefore, toilet paper that has been left in moisture only lasts 24 hours after exposure to the wetness.

Once mold is on your toilet paper roll, it becomes unsafe to use, and you will wind up having to throw the whole roll away. 

Can Paper Get Moldy?

Some people have only experienced mold on food, in dank basements, or on old furniture items. It might be surprising to learn that paper can, in fact, get moldy too. This happens thanks to a number of factors.

Cellulose and it’s Role in Mold Growth on Paper

Paper is made of a combination of materials, but they are mostly plant-based. The main culprit in making paper fertile ground for mold growth is a polysaccharide called “cellulose.”

Cellulose does come from plants, and it is used in paper materials. It is especially present in toilet paper, and in fact, cellulose is the reason toilet paper dissolves so nicely in water.

The short fibers of cellulose are woven together, giving toilet paper a nice, fine texture so that it’s easier on sensitive areas of skin. Then when the cellulose comes into contact with water, the fibers lose hold of one another and help the toilet paper to dissolve.

The problem with cellulose is that it is a food source for several types of mold! Mold that settles onto moist toilet paper finds a plentiful supply of cellulose and tends to stick around and grow.

How Do I Know My Toilet Paper is Moldy?

Mold comes in over 100,000 variations, but it’s appearance is sometimes subtle and can go unnoticed. After all, if you simply see what looks like a little smudge on your roll of toilet paper, it could be dirt, or it could be active mold spores.

Mold on toilet paper is usually fuzzy. It can come in shades of brown, orange, green, and even black. Sometimes it appears as a speckled discoloration, and sometimes it is just the same size and texture as a random stain.

The best way to be sure that any blotch on your white paper is mold is not to look at it, but to smell it. Mold is accompanied by a very distinct, musty odor. If your toilet paper has a stinky aroma to it, there’s a chance it got wet somewhere along the way and has grown mold.

Is Mold on Paper Harmful?

If you do find mold on your toilet paper, you’ll begin to wonder how harmful it can be. Mold is technically a fungus, and although this isn’t exactly a fun fact, mold is actually all around us most of the time. 

The vast majority of mold is harmless when they come in individual spores. These spores are so small that we can’t see them, and they tend to float on the air. However, when spores group together and colonize, they become visible on toilet paper. 

When they are visible, mold spores are powerful enough to be harmful.

Mold spores can cause an allergic reaction, similar to the kind some might get when exposed to pollen. Symptoms of prolonged exposure to mold are:

  • watery eyes
  • fatigue
  • sneezing
  • itching
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing
  • headaches

The longer someone is in contact with mold, the more sensitive their body becomes to it, and the more often they can experience these irritating reactions. It is best to dispose of moldy toilet paper immediately.

Can Mold Spores Live on Paper?

Mold spores are miniscule reproductive cells which float through the air, whether inside or outside. They feed on dead and organic material, especially plant life, which is what paper is made out of. Mold spores can and do settle on toilet paper.

Mold spores can only survive in certain environments. For a mold spore to remain on toilet paper and cause harm, the toilet paper has to be wet or at least damp.


What is the answer to the question: can toilet paper get mold? Yes, toilet paper can not only feed mold spores due to the plant material it is made of, but because toilet paper is often near sources of moisture. To make sure your toilet paper doesn’t grow mold that can lead to harmful side affects for you, dispose of wet toilet paper immediately and keep the rest stored in a dry environment!

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