≡ Menu

How to Sanitize Paper Rolls for Crafts – How to Sanitize Toilet Paper Rolls Chemical Free

Both toilet paper and paper towel rolls are very popular for crafts. They’re virtually free, and who doesn’t want free crafting supplies? However, I’ve noticed a lot of concern about the safety of using paper rolls for crafts, especially toil paper rolls. I’ve seen people suggest spraying tubes down with Lysol or setting them in the window to catch some rays, but there’s a better way that hardly receives any attention. That’s why today I’m sharing how to sanitize paper rolls for crafts without chemicals. You don’t need any sprays and there’s no sunlight involved, plus it’s sure to kill off any lingering nasties!

how to sanitize paper rolls for crafts

People frequently recommend spraying the rolls down with Lysol or a homemade solution including vinegar, bleach, or essential oils. Yes, bleach does kill viruses and bacteria, however it works best on hard, non-porous surfaces. Does that sound like a toilet paper roll to you? You may successfully kill some surface nasties, but if you’re concerned enough to want to sanitize the roll, wouldn’t you prefer to know everything has been killed off?

By the same token, the UV in sunlight absolutely can kill bacteria, but it can only kill surface bacteria that’s exposed to sunlight. Although many glasses do allow a significant amount of UVA radiation in, special coatings and films can reduce the amount of UVA coming through the glass. This is a pretty good thing for your skin! We put removable UV blocking film on our living room picture window to help protect ourselves and our furniture and that’s great, but it can reduce the sun’s sanitizing power.

So if spraying and sunlight may not really sanitize paper rolls, what can?

Your oven.

The idea occurred to me while I was baking some polymer clay on a piece of paper. Sculpey Premo, the clay I use most often, bakes at 275ºF and the paper comes out fine. E. coli and salmonella die at 160ºF (source). Staph and MRSA are killed by slightly lower temperatures. All you need to do to sanitize paper rolls for crafts is bake them. Most ovens have a minimum temperature between 170º and 200º. Simply pre-heat your oven to its lowest setting (as long it’s above 160ºF!), position an oven rack to half way down the oven or lower, and pop the rolls in! To be extra safe, bake them for 20 minutes to ensure the cardboard has the opportunity to heat all the way though. You can also use this technique to sanitize cardboard egg cartons for crafts. I’m kind of a freak out about poultry products and egg shells can be contaminated with salmonella! {{As a side note to show I’m not just being crazy: Although the USDA issued tougher limits on permissible quantities of salmonella on poultry products in 2016 (source), a few years ago Consumer Reports showed that 71% of chicken in grocery stores was contaminated with at least one harmful bacteria (source). Eek!}}

how to sanitize toilet paper rolls for crafts - chemical free!

I have never had a piece of paper or cardboard catch on fire in the oven, but to be safe please keep all paper tubes away from the heating element and don’t leave your oven unattended.

Now that you know how to sanitize paper rolls for crafts, you can make projects like these driftwood napkin rings without worrying about bathroom or kitchen bacteria!

Or this super cute hula girl and mermaid on MollyMoo.

Or possibly even this phone holder:

What will you make with recycled paper rolls now that you can confidently kill off the most common bathroom and kitchen bacteria?

Related posts:

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Carol May 9, 2017, 07:19

    Wow, thanks for the great tip, never thought of germs on paper rolls, makes senses,
    Also love the new direction of your website.

    • Natashalh May 9, 2017, 09:19

      Thank you so much! Doing new things can be scary, so I really appreciate it. =)

  • Splendid Little Stars May 9, 2017, 16:48

    Believe it or not, I use those paper rolls to start seeds. Generally, I cut them in half and fill with damp soil and place them on a tray. Seeds can then be poked into the soil. To keep the seeds moist, I spay the soil with a sprayer. The cardboard will break down when placed into the ground or a pot, or can be easily peeled away.
    Thanks for the sanitizing process idea!

    • Natashalh May 9, 2017, 16:59

      They are really great for starting seeds! I look forward to when we’re able to have a garden again. My mom keeps emailing me with progress reports for her plants!

  • PrettyPotato May 10, 2017, 10:36

    Thanks for the great tip! I never think about bacteria on cardboard but it’s great to find such an easy tip to sanitise it!

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: