With what’s going on in the world, something as ordinary as toilet paper is worth its weight in gold.
With people lining up for toilet paper, you treat it like it’s water in the desert (or something like that).
The last thing you want when you’re unrolling that roll of it is to see a bunch of gross tiny bugs crawling all over it. Gross!
Torn edges, tiny black bugs, or bugs hiding in the roll are probably more gross than where that piece of paper is going.
So what can you do about it? Why are these bugs eating up your precious toilet paper?
Learn how to get rid of paper eating bugs naturally with this guide!
- How to identify the bug eating your toilet paper
- Common types of bugs that eat paper
- How to get rid of them using DIY home remedies
- How to keep bugs out of your storage unit
- And more
If you have any questions, post a comment at the end of this page for assistance! I answer questions on my own time, so please be detailed!
Feel free to bookmark this page for future reference!
Sound good? Let’s get on with it.
Do bugs like toilet paper?
Of course, they do!
Some bugs love to eat paper because of the material it’s made from.
It’s soft, easily digestible, and contains plenty of carbohydrates. Toilet paper tends to bring in bugs that are also known for eating wallpaper, magazines, newspapers, books, paint, napkins, or paper towels.
You’ll find that the bugs in this guide have similar environments they prefer to infest because they all have similar conditional requirements.
What is eating my toilet paper?
There’s a handful of culprits that you’ll see in this group of pests.
They’re known for their affinity for paper goods because they’re packed with carbs.
We’ll go over each insect’s profile and what you can do to get rid of them so you can save your toilet paper.
Typically, you’ll follow this process:
- Identify the insect
- Eliminate it
- Set up natural repellents
- Set up traps to catch and monitor them
- Practice good habits to prevent future bug problems
So first, go through this list of species and identify what’s eating your TP.
Silverfish are those tiny gray-white bugs that you often see scurrying around.
They love paper goods and will eat them until it’s gone.
If you notice jagged or torn edges or bits of your toilet paper in small clumps, it can be silverfish. From the order Zygentoma, they’re about 1” in length at max size.
They have two lengthy antennae that are brown or yellowish with segmented bodies with visible patterns. The rear flank has three bristles that stick out. Silverfish tend to eat the outer edge of paper and will work their way into the core of it.
Like most bugs on this list, silverfish like humid, dark environments that are rarely disturbed by human activity. They will infest your stockpile of paper goods, whether it’s books or toilet paper.
They also hide behind wallpaper or paint that’s peeling because they chew on the glue that’s behind the paper. Damp environments are perfect for them, so that’s why you may find them in your bathroom.
They can infect the space in the under sink cabinets, medicine cabinets, or wherever is nicely hidden from people/pets. If you store your stash of toilet paper there, this is a free meal for them to eat.
Since your bathroom has your shower, sink, etc. it’s very humid and it repeats. The moisture gets into the space under your sink, cabinets, and wherever else has void space in your bathroom.
This makes it easy to trap the excess moisture, thus providing a space for silverfish to breed, nest, and of course, feed on your precious paper goods.
They can make their way into a sealed plastic bag of new toilet paper, so don’t think that it’ll prevent them from infesting it. You need to change how you store your goods to prevent new rows from being eaten.
Here are some handy tips that are proven to keep silverfish out of your toiletries:
- Remove the toilet paper from its plastic packaging and move the rolls into plastic bins.
- If you don’t have plastic containers available, use heavy-duty garbage bags with self-sealing rims.
- Put the rolls somewhere outside of your bathroom if possible and keep them somewhere that has more human activity
- Place the rolls somewhere with plenty of light
- Bugs don’t like human activity, so consider storing your paper rolls where you frequent
- If possible, keep the TP rolls elevated on a piece of furniture
- Use a layer of diatomaceous earth. This is a natural fine white powder that’ll dehydrate bugs that come into contact with it. Use organic, food-grade DE only. Sprinkle it around the storage compartment wherever you keep your rolls. It acts like a barrier that insects must crawl over to get to the goods. Avoid sprinkling onto the paper. And keep pets, people, and your small ones out of the area. Read warnings before use.
If you have silverfish, see this guide for getting rid of fishmoths at home.
What are those tiny bugs in the bathroom? Paper mites!
The word “paper mite” is given to any group of small insects that “bite” found in paper-based goods.
Whether the bite was real or imaginary, the same word applies.
Bugs in paper towels are called paper mites because they’re tiny bugs that hide in your toilet paper. That’s the basis of it.
Yes, even imaginary bites can be called “paper mite bites.”
This is because when people are flipping through old magazines or books, they may get a small bite and then itch.
Since the bug is unknown, it’s just referred to as a paper mite. It’s kind of like how people say they got bitten by a “flea” when there are thousands of pests that it can actually refer to.
They can be white, brown, black, silver, gray, or even orange. These tiny bugs encompass a wide range of species.
It can include any bug found in paper goods like booklice, straw itch mites, bed bugs, or bird mites. They may also be called pepper mites because of their speck-like appearance as black peppers.
Paper mites can be found in magazines, newspapers, windowsills, books, cardboard, storage units, garages, cabinets, pantries, wallpaper, or toilet paper.
Since mites are extremely small, they can be invisible to the naked eye. When people get bitten, they label it as a paper mite.
It’s important to identify the pest first so you can take proper action from there.
Here are some tips to “catch” the mite so you can see what it is:
- Don’t use tape to stick it. It’ll destroy the anatomy so then you can’t identify it
- When you see one crawling on your skin, brush it off onto a light-colored piece of cardboard
- Use a paintbrush to put the bug into a small vial, then fill it with rubbing alcohol
- Take the vial to a professional exterminator for examination
If you can never seem to catch one in action, use glue boards to stick them in place. They could be nocturnal or diurnal.
How do you get rid of paper-eating bugs?
Glue boards are excellent because they catch pests passively and you can check which one has the most pest activity- this will give you answers to find out where they’re hiding, what they’re eating, or where they hang out.
You can even show the glue board to an exterminator for proper identification. Glue boards should be placed in strategic locations, not just randomly.
The sticky traps often have minimum effective distances they should be placed from each other. Read the labels before using.
Mites can be controlled often by removing the humidity from the area. Your bathroom is high humidity and following basic practices can reduce it. If you have plants, remove them.
Run the exhaust fan or use a dehumidifier. Prop windows open or keep the bathroom door open to help evaporate moisture.
Borax or food-grade diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled around the baseboards of where you keep your TP. This will force the mites to crawl over it and come into contact, which will pierce their exterior.
You can also build a “fence” around your toilet paper by using sticky tape or traps.
Some mites are capable of floating over barriers, so keep that in mind. The right storage of your bathroom toiletries is critical to preventing damage.
Put rolls in storage bins as far from the ground as possible. Keep your toothbrushes covered with a proper toothbrush cover (you’d be surprised as the bugs that can hide between the bristles). Don’t leave packets of floss accessible. Cap your toothpaste. Always flush the toilet. Clean spills.
Be sure you clean your sink/shower regularly. Check for mold, mildew, or fungus growing on the tiles, walls, or ceilings.
The spores that form are food sources for fungus gnats, drain flies, psocids, gnats, or grout mites. Don’t underestimate their prevalence in numbers when the proper conditions are provided. Don’t assume they’re only after your TP as well.
What if they’re eating the fungus growing on your bathroom tile but happen to crawl into that roll on the spindle? It’s important to find out what exactly they’re eating!
Check to see where the mites are often found. If they’re in your toilet paper, they’re likely booklice.
But if they’re found in multiple locations, they could be some other mite that has infestation sites around the room. If you’re being bitten by them, do some research on the bite itself.
Does it swell? Do they bite in a pattern? Do you always get bitten at the same time? Where do they bite? These are important to answer if you want to find the right mite.
If you really can’t get rid of them, hire a professional. Sometimes, it’s worth it.
These mites can easily be mistaken for clover mites, soil mites, or surely mold mites.
Since they’re so small, the untrained eye will see them as nothing more than black dots all over the bathroom.
It’s important to identify it so you know how to get rid of it.
Are they coming from outside? Is there a window in your bathroom? Or plants? How did they get into your bathroom? Or your TP?
You need to thoroughly investigate and find out the answers before you attempt to get rid of them. They’re walking evidence.
Yes, it’s frustrating to spend time doing this, but it’ll save you time.
Catch a few of them and zoom in with your phone cam. Then look up some pictures online to see what exactly it is. Go from there.
Drain flies don’t usually infest toilet paper rolls, but you may see them crawling on it if you have enough of these pests.
They look like tiny black or gray gnats, which get their name because they come out of the shower drain. Drain flies can also infest the sink.
They feed on the tiny mold and bacteria that grow in the sludge down in your drains. As they breed, they deposit eggs in this sludge, which gives rise to more flies.
They generally hang out inside the drain or outside around the strainer. If you find them in your bathroom, they may fly around to get to your TP, toilet, or even your toothbrush. Gross.
Drain flies won’t eat or damage your TP, but they’re gross to have regardless. Follow this guide to eliminate drain flies for good.
Booklice is a fan of paper. They consume books, magazines, newspapers, wallpaper, and of course, your toilet paper. These guys do exactly as their name implies.
They’re often found in dark, humid, undisturbed environments so they can feed in peace. Booklice just eats like it’s nobody’s business.
They’re tiny, small, and hard to see without any magnification. You need some
If you’ve ever watched them in private, you’ll see that a single booklouse (also called Psocoptera) will feed all day on paper goods. Like this video:
These little bugs are small, but they pack a huge appetite for carbs. They’ll eat anything that’s carb-loaded, so eating paper is their specialty.
Humidity will soak into the paper, which they use to breed, feed, and do their bug thing.
Booklice are known to destroy pictures, books, and other old keepsakes. If you spot them in your bathroom, you’ll want to immediately assume that all current TP rolls are contaminated.
The new rolls you buy should be stored in thick plastic containers. Do not underestimate the power of these pests. They’ll chew through plastic packaging that’s been worn out.
These pests look like tiny fleas.
They can be silver, white, brown, orange, black, or any color in between. Fungus gnats are very common in the house. They hide in the plant substrate.
While they don’t infest rolls of TP, they can be a real nuisance because they produce impressive population numbers. You may find them flying around your bathroom sink, toilet, or shower. They can even infest your cat litter.
They like damp environments and will lap up moisture like nothing.
If you have plants inside the bathroom, they can harbor dozens of these gnats. If you find them in your bathroom, remove the plant and that should do the trick.
You can also line the perimeter of your bathroom with food-grade diatomaceous earth (use as directed). This powder will dehydrate the gnats when they come across it.
Changing the soil may help eliminate deposited eggs and reduce future generations of gnats. Follow basic practices like drying up the sink, drying up the shower, or cleaning up spilled water on bathroom tiles.
Use a dehumidifier if you can’t prop the window/door open.
Bringing the humidity down will help keep the gnats from breeding.
Check out this guide for home remedies to eliminate fungus gnats naturally.
Spider mites won’t destroy your paper goods but could show up on your towels, tiles, or other toiletries. These mites are extremely small and hard to see.
Spider mites can be of all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. They can show up as tiny black specks, brown ones, or even red.
These pests infect their host plants and pierce their mouthparts through the plant leaves.
They suck out the nutrients from the plant and then dehydrate it eventually.
If you see random specks crawling on your TP, it can very well be spider mites.
If you have plants inside your bathroom, it’s possible that the spider mites were disturbed or floated to the rolls or other toiletries. Red spider mites are easy to see on white paper.
They can “float” in midair from their lightweight size.
Spider mites can be removed from your bathroom simply by removing plant or organic matter.
That’ll get rid of the mites on your TP.
But if you want to eliminate them, you’ll need to purge the mites on your plants. That’s a different story.
Here’s a guide for natural remedies to kill spider mites.
Small black tiny ants in the bathroom is common.
They’re less than a quarter-inch and will form trails that go through your baseboards to your cabinets. They seek food sources similar to the common household ant.
Food leftovers from your trash, burrito stains on your jeans, or even used toilet paper in your trash. Yup.
You’re sitting on the throne doing your business.
Then you reach for a square (just one square!) to find a single black ant on it, you get disappointed. It could be looking for food. Or it could be carrying food back to its nest. Either way, it’s gross.
Ants don’t eat paper goods by default. Whether they’re fire ants, army ants, carpenter ants, or the household ant. It’s likely that the ants in your bathroom are only there to harvest food, water, or form a trail to their next destination.
They’re not interesting in your TP, but you should find out why they’re there in the first place. There’s likely food debris nearby.
While you don’t need to freak out and protect your TP just yet, you should be alert that the bathroom needs some serious cleanup. Find out what they’re eating and get rid of it. You can follow the trail to get clues.
To rid the ants, here are some basic pointers:
- Use a layer of borax or diatomaceous earth (organic food grade) around the baseboards of your bathroom
- Place sticky traps in areas with high ant activity- use them to gauge where ants are hanging out as a passive monitoring tool
- Get rid of the bathroom trash regularly- it only takes a few hours for ants to pick up on a food trail
- Never throw food bits into the bathroom trash (wrappers, napkins, empty cans, etc.) or remove the trash entirely
- Wipe up spills from the sink/shower
- Use trails to spot where they’re going/where they’re coming from before you kill them
- 1 teaspoon of dish soap with 1 quart of water makes a good DIY ant killer
- Don’t use commercial sprays if possible
- Peppermint or lavender essential oils are good for naturally repelling ants
- Vacuum and clean your bathroom often
Weevils are similar to beetles.
They look the same, have the same habits, and even their names rhyme. For the common homeowner, beetles are often confused with weevils.
Weevils are usually found in dry goods such as grains, rice, pasta, beans, flour, etc. But they may make their way into your storage place where you keep your surplus goods.
Some people, don’t keep their toilet paper in the bathroom. But rather, they’re stored with other goods, like food.
Think preppers or those with a storage room for emergencies.
If this is you, it’s easy for weevils to infest your paper goods since they’re placed next to each other.
Weevils aren’t known to eat TP on their own. But if you store it near foods that they DO eat, it’s only expected that they’ll find their way into the rolls, right?
They can eat through paper, plastic, and cardboard, albeit thin thickness.
This allows them access to your rolls of TP even if they’re in plastic wrap.
If you have weevils in the same room as your storage goods, then you can see how they get into the rolls.
Weevils can be easily controlled compared to the other bathroom bugs on this list. See this guide for weevil control.
Use a combination of natural repellents, insect exclusion, and weevil killer to make them no longer a problem.
Here are some ideas:
- Move all your paper rolls to thick plastic storage units
- Sprinkle borax near your infection site
- Use lavender or peppermint oils to naturally repel weevil pests
- Store your items in isolation
- Store items in bright places rather than dark
- Use dehumidifiers in storage compartments for paper goods
- Don’t put dry grains near your toilet paper
- Use sticky tape to catch them passively
- Get organized
- Removed clutter to destroy insect homes
N0te that weevils commonly infest your property in one of two ways:
- From the outside
- From grocery stores
Weevils can be smuggled into the house through foods that are infested.
Whether they have adult weevils or eggs, some foods are laden with weevils.
If you buy them and then bring them into your pantry, that’s how they get inside your house!
It’s important to keep dry foods under watch over time monitor them. Ripped, torn, or damaged foods should never be purchased. They’re possible vectors for infestation.
Roaches are everywhere. Even your TP. Roaches can eat nearly everything in existence. Even plastic.
Your paper is no exception!
Cockroaches are difficult to fully eradicate, so you’ll have to put in some work.
Start with the following:
- Store newly purchased paper goods in plastic containers with secure lids
- Ensure that your shower/sink have absolutely zero leaks
- Wipe up spills from using the sink immediately when you’re done
- Use diatomaceous earth around your bathroom baseboards, cupboards, and under the sink to dehydrate roaches (use
- Precautions/read labels before use)- only use food-grade DE
- Use a dehumidifier to dry up the bathroom
- Keep the bathroom window open to help reduce the moisture content
- Open the bathroom door when done showering
- Take shorter showers
Cockroaches will continue to thrive even if you remove the toilet paper. Damaged, torn, or small bits of toilet paper are common when they’re feeding on it.
They’ll continue to feed on it while finding other sources. If you remove it, it’s not good enough to keep them out.
You’ll need to use a full-out operation to get rid of them because they can eat OTHER things in your bathroom (including the mold that grows in your shower).
Consider using borax, diatomaceous earth, sticky tape, or commercial roach bait.
Depending on the type of roach you’re dealing with, you have to alter your plan of attack.
Here are some guides you may find handy:
Keeping houseplants is a good idea. They’re good for you. They’re good for bugs, too!
Whether you’re buying plants from your local nursery or bringing them in from the garden, they’re prime real estate for all sorts of neat little critters.
Bugs will infest the leaves, stems, and/or soil. Then they can ditch the host plant and start infesting your house if they wish to do so.
Usually, the sudden change from outdoors to indoors is enough to shock bugs to search for a new environment. This is why bugs tend to “shed” off new plants and start flying around your household since the sudden change in the environment is a disturbance.
Regardless, if you keep plants inside your bathroom, kitchen, or wherever else that may be warm, humid, or damp, they can be possible places pests hide.
Everything from weevils to beetles to fleas can come off the plant. Fungus gnats come from infested soil. Spider mites come from the leaves. Crickets and maggots may be hiding in there too.
If you start to notice bugs showing up out of nowhere, consider the following:
- Have you purchased any new indoor plants the past year (sometimes eggs take many months to hatch- the plant may have been infested for quite some time since you bought it)?
- Did you move plants or foliage indoors recently?
- Has there been an uptick in bugs showing up in your garden?
- Did you change soils, mulch, or add a new plant food?
- Could bugs be coming in through windows or patio doors?
- Did you get new pets recently?
Once bugs get in, they seek a familiar environment. Plant-based materials are a suitable source. They can infest it, then deposit eggs.
After a single life cycle, they’ll start emerging from it. This is when homeowners start to notice their activity. And if they happen to like eating your rolls of toilet paper, then so be it.
That’s where they’re coming from. Your houseplants!
In this case, you should isolate the plants by moving them outside. If you still want to keep it, then prune off all damaged or infested leaves. Change the soil.
Spray it down with neem oil or horticulture spray.
Depending on the type of bug, it can be very difficult to fully eradicate them. Identify the pests first, then get a plan of action to eradicate them. Search the bug type on this site- I may have a guide for it.
All in all, your plants that you keep indoors are a key hiding area for pests. Don’t overlook them.
Here are some resources you may find helpful:
Save your TP from pests
Now that you have some knowledge up your sleeve, you should be more confident in identifying what’s eating your precious toilet paper.
Use the resources linked in this DIY guide to eliminate whatever is infesting your bathroom. Then you never have to suffer from eating rolls again.
If you have a specific pest question to ask, post a comment and let me know. If you have tips/tricks for proper storage, please let other readers know your words of wisdom.
Was this guide helpful? Your feedback is always appreciated.
Please share with a friend who can get some value out of it- it helps me out =].
Thanks for reading. Here’s to your pest-free bathroom!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.